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Here's What You Need To Do If You Encounter A Real Snake In The Grass
The contestants on "Snake In The Grass" have to watch out for snakes both literal and metaphorical.
The contestants on “Snake In The Grass” must deal with a metaphorical snake among them who is trying to sabotage their 36 hours in the jungle in an effort to win the full $100,000 grand prize. However, these survivalists are trying to suss out the metaphorical snake while living in the wild with actual snakes, prompting the question: What should you do in a real-life snake encounter?
We’ve all had that fear creep across our brains. One moment you’re enjoying the outdoors and the next moment you’re face-to-face with a slithery, fang-ridden serpent and you’re not sure if you’re more scared of it or it’s more scared of you. Like the contestants on “Snake In The Grass,” it’s important to be prepared for anything, particularly when dealing with a creature that prides itself on stealth and striking quickly.
To help you prepare for the (hopefully unlikely) day you find yourself crossing paths with a snake, here are some helpful tips to remember during such an encounter.
First Thing’s First
If you’re traveling or live in an area where snakes can be a threat to people, you need to educate yourself on the breeds common to the area. A cursory online search will tell you how to identify the snakes you’re likely to cross paths with as well as whether or not they’re venomous.
In the event the worst happens and you’re attacked, you need to be able to tell a medical expert as quickly as possible either what kind of snake it was or give a general description of what it looked like and how big it was. Being observant could very well save your life in a situation where time matters immensely.
Avoiding A Snake Bite
It hopefully goes without saying the best way to avoid having anything dangerous happen to you if you spot a snake is to simply avoid it entirely.
If you’re out in the wild and you spot a snake, just keep your distance. Experts at the University of Florida note most snakes do not want to deal with humans. That’s why their go-to move is to hide, retreat, or threaten with rattling sounds and hissing to say “stay back.”
So, if you spot a snake, just go the other way. If that’s impossible, simply wait for the snake to go on its way by positioning yourself somewhere safe. Distance is key but keep in mind snakes want to retreat to cover, so avoid positioning yourself between a snake and bushes or a tree line it will likely rush to.
While hiking or playing around outside where you know snakes are populous, it’s a good idea to avoid dark areas and not risk disturbing things like rocks or large logs where they’d tend to hide. Think about it: You’d be grumpy too if someone ripped the ceiling off your bedroom.
If You Can’t Avoid It
If you truly can’t avoid a snake or, worse yet, it’s managed to make its way indoors, now you’ve got a real problem on your hands. According to the Humane Society, the best advice is to not be a hero. Call an expert as quickly as possible because they know how to deal with the snake in a way that’s safe for you, them, and the snake.
Snakes that make their way into homes, yards, or campsites aren’t doing it maliciously. Most of the time they’re simply looking to keep warm or find food. So, there’s no need to react with hostility if it’s not being hostile. Although it might be scary, it’s best to simply get eyes on the critter, keep your distance, confine it to one area, or trap it if you can do so safely. Then just wait for an expert to come and remove it.
Your local animal or wildlife control will be able to assist you in such a situation. If you’re concerned about ever dealing with something like this, it’s a good idea to program their number in your phone now. The time to do an online search for the contact information is not when you’re staring a potentially venomous snake in the eye.
So it’s happened. You encountered a snake and it attacked you. It sounds counter-intuitive but it’s important to remain as calm as possible for two reasons. First, the snake may not be venomous, meaning a little bite mark is all you’re dealing with. Second, if it is venomous, increasing your heart rate is only going to make your problem worse faster as it courses through your system.
In either case, the next thing to do is seek medical attention immediately. Call 9-1-1 or have someone transport you to an emergency room as quickly as possible. Do not try to drive yourself as a loss of consciousness is possible with some snake bites.
As mentioned, it’s very important to be able to identify or describe the snake that bit you to a doctor so they can provide the necessary treatment or antivenom. While you’re waiting for help to arrive or to reach assistance yourself, there are a few key things you can be doing to mitigate any risk of permanent injury or death.
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, mark the time of the bite so you and a doctor can monitor the symptoms and their speed. You can wash the bite site gently with soap and water and then cover it with a clean, cool compress or a moist dressing to ease swelling and discomfort. However, do not submerge the bite in water or ice it. That will make venom spread through the blood faster. In the event even minor swelling happens, remove all rings, watches, and constrictive clothing because it’s not a good time for that stuff to get in the way or restrict blood flow. Then just keep the bitten area still and below the heart as best you can until experts can take over.
Many may have seen someone apply a tourniquet or suck the venom out with their mouth in TV or movies. Don’t do that!
This is real life, and medical professionals say those are two big no-nos. Using a tourniquet may result in the loss of a limb and sucking the venom out may make things worse and cause an infection if you don’t know what you’re doing. Either gently clean the bite site or leave it the heck alone and seek medical attention.
“Snake In The Grass” premieres on USA Network on Monday, August 1 at 11 p.m. ET/PT.