Wednesday, September 27, 2023


Rattlesnake Safety: 10 tips to avoid them; how to survive a bite

By Cheri Sicard
Rattlesnake season is upon us once again, but the team from Trip Astute is here to help. In the video below they assembled 10 tips for rattlesnake safety and to help you avoid rattlesnakes altogether, along with what to do and how to survive should the worst ever happen and you get bit.

Before they get into rattlesnake safety tips, the video begins with things you should know about rattlesnakes.

These include:

  • Rattlesnakes are pit vipers, meaning they hunt by sensing heat and use their tongues for a sense of smell.
  • As they are cold-blooded animals, they are most often found in April through October.
  • Rattlesnakes can be found throughout most of the U.S.
  • Rattlesnake trivia: According to the video, the only states where rattlesnakes are NOT found are Alaska, Hawaii, Delaware, and Maine.
  • Rattlesnakes rattle when they feel threatened. This is a warning for you to stay away. However, rattlesnakes are not naturally aggressive.
  • While you should always get treated with anti-venom if you are bit in order to be safe, know that not all rattlesnake bites are venomous.
  • Rattlesnakes do NOT always rattle their tails, which is why it is always important to stay visually vigilant when hiking in rattlesnake territory.

About rattlesnake bites

According to the video, about 1/3 of all rattlesnake bites are “dry bites,” meaning they don’t contain any venom. This usually happens when a rattlesnake is startled and bites out of instinct. However, know that baby rattlesnakes can be more dangerous as they don’t have as much control over their venom.

What should you do if a rattlesnake bites you?

According to the video, as difficult as it might be, try to relax while someone gets in touch with emergency services. This is not just lip service. Relaxing will slow your heart rate so that not as much venom is pumped throughout your body. Likewise, also avoid hiking or other physical activities.

What else?

  • Do not elevate the bite wound or use a tourniquet as both of these techniques can actually cause more harm when dealing with a venomous snakebite.
  • In most cases, some sort of anti-venom treatment will be needed. You might even need to be airlifted for help. Not all hospitals will have anti-venom on hand, so do call for emergency help immediately so anti-venom can be located as soon as possible.
  • Do not try to suck out the venom; this is old, outdated advice.

All that said, depending on the amount of venom, where the bite occurred, and your overall state of health and strength of immunity, many people can survive several days before getting treatment.

How to avoid encountering a rattlesnake and maximize rattlesnake safety:

  • Stay on the trail when hiking. Rattlesnakes not only will be more visible on a wide trail, they will be less likely to be hanging out in trafficked areas.
  • Don’t listen to music while hiking. If a rattlesnake rattles, you need to be able to hear it. Even without snakes, this is a good idea in order to always maximize situational awareness.
  • Hike with others. Should the worst happen, one person can get help while the other stays immobile.
  • Keep kids close by when on the trail and warn them about the danger of encountering rattlesnakes.
  • Do not approach, provoke or attempt to catch rattlesnakes.
  • Do check your campsite, as rattlesnakes will often seek heat during the night.

Lastly, the video advises to not let rattlesnakes ruin your love of the outdoors. Rattlesnakes are not looking to bite you and even should that happen, your odds of survival are very high.



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Terrence Griffin
3 months ago

Baby rattlesnakes do not inject more venom than adults. An old wives tale. Just Google it.

Neal Davis
3 months ago

Thank you, Cheri! Excellent choice and extremely welcomed! Thanks again!

Rose Kanoldt
3 months ago

A good first aid kit is great for many purposes. Snake or spider bites can be easily dealt with a kit from kit works on brown recluse spiders and says it’s good for snake and scorpion bites as well. I know it works well. Son got bit by brown recluse, volcano like red inflamed area. He used kit and within 24 hours way better, another day the bite was almost gone. Thousands of these kits have been sold. Read the reviews. I keep one in rv and son lives in Wyoming so he has one.

3 months ago

Both positions in the baby rattlesnake versus adult rattlesnake conversation below are accurate.

Because a baby rattlesnake releases venom almost evertime it bites makes it more dangerous than adult which has control over the release of venom which is only occasionally on an as needed bases. Bite for bite WITH RELEASE OF venom, the adult is more dangerous.

We had rattlesnakes killed and removed from 2 jobsites last week. Unfortunately, only after someone was bit. On top of the advice offered in Cheri’s well sourced article, the following was also issued from the CDC and Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
Do not lance or slash the bite.
Do not try and cut away the bite area.
Do not ice it.
Do not take aspirin or ibuprofen.
Do not have a shot of whiskey.
Do not handle even if decapitated.

If medical care is more than 30 minutes away, apply a pressure (ACE) bandage.

Last edited 3 months ago by Cancelproof
Ann Walla
3 months ago

What about rattlesnake bites and your pets?

Cheri Sicard
3 months ago
Reply to  Ann Walla

Actually, I have another post written about just that topic. I am not sure when it will be published, but it’s coming. The #1 thing is to get to the nearest vet for anti venom ASAP. If you can carry them from where the bite occurred so much the better as less venom will circulate in their body that way. Most times a bite is survivable. Not all vets have anti venom so if you can phone ahead that’s also a good idea.

Last edited 3 months ago by Cheri Sicard
Jim Johnson
3 months ago

Michigan does have one species of rattlesnake, but they are very rare and non-existent in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. In fact, the only two other poisonous critters in Michigan are the Black Widow and Brown Recluse spiders – which are also pretty rare.

But don’t confuse ‘poisonous’ with ‘disease carrying’ critters. All animal bites that break the skin should be seen by a doctor.

3 months ago

The article says NOT to suck out the venom, then you show a link to a device to do just that.

Tommy Molnar
3 months ago
Reply to  Bob

I looked at that ‘kit’ and wonder about the quality of it for $18. Just sayin’.

Cheri Sicard
3 months ago
Reply to  Bob

I have no idea where that ad came from BUT the advice is true that you should NOT suck out the venom.

Last edited 3 months ago by Cheri Sicard
3 months ago
Reply to  Bob

If you suck out the venom with your mouth you could be ingesting the venom. I think that a suction device would be 👍

3 months ago

Don’t suck out the venom, but there’s a link to Amazon for a suction device to keep in your first aid kit? Can you elaborate on this?!

Cheri Sicard
3 months ago
Reply to  Ran

I have no idea where that ad came from, but from consulting multiple sources the advice of NOT sucking out the venom is sound.

Last edited 3 months ago by Cheri Sicard
Bob Thompson
3 months ago

Unfortunately there is some misinformation here.
For example, the myth that juvenile snakes are more dangerous and the link for snakebite equipment from Amazon is potentially dangerous.
A good source of information is
Star safe everyone.

The Lazy Q
3 months ago

The baby rattlesnake bite being more dangerous is a MYTH!!!
How did you put that in your article? AI writing?

David Stansbury
3 months ago
Reply to  The Lazy Q

I don’t know where you got your information, but it’s wrong. Period. NOT A MYTH! I got bit by a baby pygmy rattler. Only one fang got me for a split second on my big toe. Baby venomous snakes cannot control their venom output. And it was pure hell for 3 weeks after that. It was dark when it happened; I thought it was a baby copperhead. Called my friend the ER doctor where I worked, and he said no anti-venom needed for a copperhead. Well, by morning my leg was swollen clear up to my knee. Went outside to look at the snake I had killed in the dark, and it was a rattler. Called the ER back, and they said too late for anti-venom. So I suffered, like I said, for 3 miserable weeks. On crutches or in bed. So I kind of laugh when people talk about being snake-bitten when they really have no idea.

Cheri Sicard
3 months ago

Wow. How scary. Thank you for sharing. And you are correct it is NOT a myth for the reasons you stated, babies can’t control their venom.

Cheri Sicard
3 months ago
Reply to  The Lazy Q

Not a myth, I watched a number of rattlesnake videos and read articles and that advice is consistent. I NEVER use AI writing. 🙁

Last edited 3 months ago by Cheri Sicard

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