How to Survive a Snake Attack

While the thought of a hike up to the Living Room, or a quick trail run along the Bonneville Shoreline is amazing, the warmer temps are waking up otherwise inactive and hibernating serpents of the Wasatch. Snakes are a part of our landscape, and the fact that they include a warning rattle is an evolutionary benefit for everyone involved. The Great Basin Rattlesnake is the most common.

Did you know that it is illegal to kill any of the 31 snakes native to Utah? If you find one—on a trail or in your yard—contacting a snake removing professional, is probably a good move. There are only five documented Utah deaths connected with a snake attack, let’s not add your name to the list in 2019.

Prevention of Snake Attack

What to Wear: When hiking on the trails, always wear good shoes, it’s a no for “flip flops” or sandals. We know it’s hot but wear full-length trousers or pants. Bare legs and shorts are stylish, but keeping venomous fangs from reaching your skin has a functional appeal that surpasses fashion.

Stay on the trail or walkway. Walking off the trail damages vegetation and may also put you in an area where a resting rattler might strike. When climbing on rocks, make sure you can see where you’re putting your hand or foot. Snakes being cool-blooded, enjoy resting on warm rocks, and for gosh sakes, take those earbuds out, keep your ears on high alert for a rattler’s warning sound.

What to do (and not to):

  • Call 911.
  • DON’T cut an X into the skin and suck and spit out the venom with your mouth.
  • STAY CALM, lay down and stay horizontal (movement pumps the venom around the body).
  • REMOVE any tight-fitting clothing or jewelry, swelling may occur.
  • DON’T wash it, snake venom on the surface of the skin may help the doctor determine the kind of anti-venom to use.
  • You’re not gonna die (99.9 percent sure). Snakebite anti-venom is very effective in preventing permanent damage.

To read about a local snake charmer, David Jensen and how he removes snakes with a hook and tongs, go here.


Jen Hill
Jen Hill
Former Salt Lake Magazine Associate Editor Jen Hill is a SLC transplant from Bloomington, Ind. As a blogger and feature writer, Jen follows the pulse of the community with interests in urban agriculture, business, fitness & beauty and anything that allows her to get out of the office and into the mountains.

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