As an avid traveler, if I find myself worrying about something it’s usually something like missing a flight, losing my passport, a hotel not having my reservation, etc. But one thing I’ve never really worried about while travelling is encountering a snake.
Yes, I never travel without the sweet lolly variety you’d find at the grocery store. But despite the odd nightmare of snakes on my plane (thanks Samuel L. Jackson), I never really thought about the types of snakes I might encounter while travelling.
Being Australian, I was of course well aware of the sheer number of venomous snakes present throughout my own country. After all, half of the world’s top 10 most venomous snakes are found here. But as a nature enthusiast and avid hiker, my travels have seen me run into snakes in almost every country I’ve been to.
For the traveler who spends time in the outdoors, trying to avoid snakes completely is nearly impossible and in doing so, you would miss out on some truly remarkable places. By protecting yourself against snakebite vs. avoiding snakes, you can enjoy exploring anywhere your wanderlust cares to take you. All photos in this post are our own.
Dear Nature Enthusiasts & Outdoor Travelers: How to Protect Yourself From Snakebite Overseas
Snakes Around the World
You can find snakes just about anywhere you decide to travel. Over 3,000 snake species exist with around 600 of those considered poisonous.
Unless you’re headed to New Zealand, Ireland, or to see penguins on the ice, you have the potential to come in contact with a snake. They’re present on every continent except for Antarctica.
Though don’t fret yet! Not all snakes are dangerous; non-venomous varieties also exist on every continent where snakes are present. Also, very few people actually ever die from bites.
Most snakes would rather to slither away than have a confrontation, and don’t aggressively bite things out of malice. Snake venom is used to subdue prey which would otherwise be impossible to eat, so they don’t generally like to waste their venom.
That being said if their only escape route is past a human with a shovel they are likely to react aggressively!
Copperhead, Tasmania. Those are my legs.
Familiarize Yourself With Snake Hazards
If you’re planning on hiking or spending time outdoors on your next trip, we recommended that you familiarize yourself with potential snake hazards, and know what species you may come in contact with.
If you plan on heading outdoors in your chosen destination which most of us will, there are certain safety measures which should be taken in regards to snakes. Even if you’re planning to hang around the city or will be lounging on the beach, poisonous snakes can still be present.
If you’re lazy and wish not to practice snake safety or find yourself extremely Ophidiophobic (person afraid of snakes), then you best head to Ireland, New Zealand, Greenland, or Iceland as you won’t find any wild snakes in any of these destinations.
Despite popular belief, Saint Patrick did not banish all the snakes from Ireland, they were in fact never there to begin with.
Although venomous snakes can be found everywhere, the following tips will help you avoid snake bites or aid you should you be bitten.
Snake Safety Tips
➡ Wear closed toe shoes when walking around grassy areas or bushland.
➡ Familiarize yourself with snake species so as to identify what bit you to aid in antivenom treatment.
➡ Never handle wild snakes. Snakes are unpredictable and even trained professionals get bitten from time to time.
➡ Learn First Aid treatment for snake bites.
➡ Protect yourself with travel insurance as snake bite treatment in countries like the U.S. can be extremely expensive.
➡ Wear protective snake gaitors when hiking through regions known for a high presence of snakes.
By far one of the best preventative measures you can take to avoid snake bite is by purchasing protective snake gaiters. These are garments worn over the shoe and pants of your lower leg.
This is the area you are most likely to be bitten and by protecting that area, you will greatly diminish your chances of a venomous snake bite (unless you stupidly decide to handle one). But it’s important to note that not all gaiters are designed for snakes.
Most hiking gaitors simply protect you from thorns and branches or aid in keeping dirt and water out of your boots/shoes. So you’ll need to look for a product which has actually been tested against snake bite.
You also get what you pay for when it comes to gaiters. Those colourful cheap eBay specials will do very little if anything to protect you from even small twigs let alone the powerful fangs of a venomous snake. So buy something legit.
We Use Snakeprotex
Snakeprotex Snake Gaiters are by far the highest quality, most rigorously tested gaiters that are specially designed to protect you from the most dangerous snakes.
Conceived in Australia, these babies have been put up against some of the world’s most venomous snakes including the Taipan, Tiger Snake, Eastern Brown, and Death Adder.
Tests were carried out where the snakes were encouraged to bite the gaiters including chew tests which are long duration bites. In all bite cases, venom failed to penetrate into the garment proving just how effective the product is.
What Makes Snakeprotex so Effective?
➡ Outer Fabric: Hard-wearing 600 denier Polyester with PU Coating.
➡ Padding: 4 layers of special Snakeprotex puncture resistant nylon fabric.
➡ Waterproof Membrane: Polyester PU Coated waterproof layers prevents venom soaking through to lining.
➡ Lining: Comfrtable soft Polyester Cotton fabric.
➡ Attachment: Well designed easy zip system along with quality rubber shoe/boot strap.
➡ Reusable: Ability to be used even after a venomous bite by removing any traces of venom with methylated spirits. Avoid all skin contact with venom wet or dry when cleaning gaiters.
It’s very important to wear the gaiters correctly, fully zipping them up and securing them over appropriate footwear that extends well above your ankle.
Our Experiences with Snakes
Growing up I would often go camping in the bush and hike from time to time but never really remember running into snakes all that often. Flash forward and now it’s a different story.
After having met a handsome photojournalist specializing in wildlife, I can now say I have seen my fair share of venomous serpents and can identify a great deal of them.
Our time together has seen us living throughout Australia (land of poisonous snakes), Florida (home to venomous cottonmouths, copperheads, and Eastern Diamondbacks), and Arizona (rattlesnake capital of the world).
Our latest round the world journey had us in South America (home to the Fer-de-lance and bushmaster), Africa (home to the black mamba and Gaboon Viper), and Asia ( home to the King Cobra and numerous kraits).
We now find ourselves settled in Tasmania, where every snake found here is poisonous. I saw one on a bush-walk today!
Our Experience with Snakeprotex
After trying several brands of gaiters, we found most of them to be ineffective, ugly and/or annoying to wear, or just plain cheap looking. But we finally heard about Snakeprotex, and they’re now the only brand we recommend.
Snakeprotex Snake Gaiters look and feel like the quality product they are. They’re fast and easy to put on when you need them, and light enough to throw in your backpack if you don’t need them for half of your hike. And, call me vain, they look great!
Knowing the technology and testing that went into them gives me the confidence to keep hiking, and the peace of mind that I’ll be fine even if I accidentally step on or near a venomous snake.
When it comes to snake protection there’s no-one better to trust than an Australian company. These Snake protective gaiters were conceived in Australia, developed and manufactured in New Zealand (where there are no deadly snakes!), then tested in Australia, on Australian snakes, to give snake bite protection to the wearer.
For the nature enthusiast and outdoor lover, we highly recommend a healthy respect for these ever-present reptiles, and wearing your Snakeprotex! You don’t want to be hanging on for dear life … like this guy!
Taken in the Florida Everglades.
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