Watch For Snakes While Hiking With Dogs
Kevin Felts 05.01.18
As long as the snake does not move, chances are the dog is not going to pay attention to it. However, as soon as the snake moves, it may spark the dogs interest. The result could be an emergency trip to the Vets office.
On two recent occasions I had the opportunity to observe how my dogs act around snakes. Both times the dogs did not see the snake, nor did they pay attention to it. Then again, the snake did not move.
Another time, my dogs were roaming the property (on their own) and one dog came back with a swollen paw. The Vet looked at it and said it was probably a copperhead or cottonmouth bite. Ellis, the dog which had been bitten, was given a shot of antibiotics. The Vet told me to give him over the counter antihistamine until the swelling went down.
A few weeks ago my dogs and I were walking near a low area which is near a creek. Breau walked right next to a snake, but thankfully did not step on it. I got the dogs away from the snake, and was able to get some pictures.
The chance crossing today was a little different. Buster and I were out for a walk; Buster was in the creek playing while I was up on the creek bank. There is probably an eight foot drop from the top of the bank to the creek.
While walking along I walked up on what looked like a cottonmouth. Sometimes water snakes (family Colubridae) and cottonmouths can look a lot alike. The head looked like a water snake, but the body looked like a cottonmouth. The cottonmouth typically has a larger head than the water snake, while the water snake has a slimmer body than the water snake.
The snake was on the edge of the bank, with Buster on one side, and I was on the other side. If I had called Buster, he would had walked up the bank and over the top of the snake.
Walk Away From Snakes
What was probably the best option?
Walk away and continue on our path down the creek as soon as possible and get away from the snake. Buster had been running up and down the creek bank. So it was just a matter of time before he came running up the bank to see what I was looking at.
If need be, the walking stick could have been used to steer the snake away from Buster.
Copperheads – Logs are a favorite place for copperheads to hang around. Bugs live in the logs, and copperheads eat bugs.
Cottonmouth – Low areas, mud flats, creeks, bogs, bayous, anywhere frogs live will be a place to find the cottonmouth.
Coral Snake – I have only seen a few coral snakes, and they were typically on a road, or in a field.
Rattlesnakes – I have no experience with rattlesnakes. However, all other snakes hang out wherever food is at, so rattlesnakes should be the same. Someone correct me if I am wrong on that.
One of the mistakes people make when seeing a snake, is they try to kill the snake. A great number of people are bitten every year trying to kill snakes. Just walk away. Leave the snake alone, and chances are, everything is going to be ok.
Keep an eye out for snakes, move slow, and think about where snakes may be hiding.
While around water, I walk slow and scan what is ahead of me. Clumps of leaves, sticks, and logs with holes in them are a favorite place for snakes to hang out.
Stay safe and keep an eye out for those snakes.