What to do when a snake bites you on a remote trail?

From Floris (Flo) Gierman,
Flotography, July 22nd, 2014

A few years ago I was hiking in Sequoia National Park with my family. Right when we started our hike we saw 2 snakes which made me extra alert to the fact that they were around. I was walking in front with my wife and parents behind me on a single track trail. The trail made a pretty steep left turn against a rock wall that was head high and out of no-where from the left a rattlesnake striked at me from about 2 feet away.


Photo by Floris Gierman

I FREAKED OUT and within a split second I jumped to the right, the snake moved quickly from the rock onto the trail. I thought he was going after me, so I got up and fell again, this time almost down the steep side of the trail. Luckily I came out with no injuries but it definitely scared me.

In the past few years of hiking and running trails, I’ve encountered about 10 snakes, including a few poisonous rattlesnakes. I run a lot of trails solo in the middle of nowhere, so I wanted to figure out exactly what to do if a snake bites me on a remote trail?

Below is a summary of things I've learned about first aid for snake bites after talking to the Snake Bite Poison Line (1-800-222-1222 available 24/7), after doing my own online research and after posting my snake questions on Reddit Running. The best info came from Jordan Benjamin, a herpetologist specialized in venomous snakes. I’m just sharing this info because it might help you one day:

• No first aid is much better than performing bad first aid. Don’t cut at or around the site of the bite, don’t compress the bitten limb with a cord or tight bandage, don’t attempting to extract or neutralize venom using electricity, fire, permanganate, salt, black stones, mouths, mud, leaves, etc.

Click here for the rest of the article. If ever there is a person you'd want to take with you camping, running, skateboarding, storm-chasing, etc... Flo Gierman is probably your man.

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