With snake season upon us some advice from Sea to Summit for Australian snake bite prevention and treatment, also a guide to their suitable gaiters.
“It’s September which means that snakes are coming out in search of some sun so we thought we’d do an letter about the prevention and treatment of snake bites in Australia. This letter can help you understand snake behaviour and avoid dangerous situations.
The following information has been offered by Bob Cooper, an Australian expert in reptiles and outback survival. NB: These guidelines are relevant for Australian snakes species and are intended as guidelines only.
Prevention better than cure:
• Do not approach a snake: it doesn’t know what your intention is, and that you are just observing or trying to help.
• You can make a snake very scared by pointing and waving your arms in the air above the snake, so instead, keep your movements calm and slow. Also, dont raise your feet up in front of the snake – that will provoke a strike.
• Wear closed-in footwear at all times when bushwalking and preferably wear long trousers and/or gaiters.
• Use a dead stick or trekking pole to probe long grass as you walk through, as this will encourage the snake to move out of your path.
• Do not cast a shadow onto a snake as that will make it nervous
There are 30 species of snakes in Australia that are considered to have life-threatening venom.
Fortunately these belong to one group of snakes known as elapids, meaning they have fixed front fangs. The average length would be 4-6mm on a metre long snake and up to 12mm on a very large snake. These relatively small fangs means that by wearing gaiters you can greatly decrease the chance of a snake successfully piercing you skin.
Sea to Summit offer a large range of gaiters which will help prevent a bite, but can never offer 100% protection against snake bites. The most densely woven, puncture resistant gaiter currently made by Sea to Summit is the Quagmire Canvas Gaiter. The Quagmire provides at least 39cm coverage up your leg delivering peace of mind no matter where you are bushwalking,
“I believe the pressure and immobilisation technique (PIT) is the most effective first-aid treatment for all venomous land and sea snake bites in Australia and other elapid snakes worldwide. To my knowledge there have been no reported deaths once this bandaging has been applied. The short fangs of the elapid snake deliver the venom into our lymphatic system and not directly into our blood stream. The bandaging slows the venom movement and absorption rate down to as much as one twentieth, buying the victim much more time to get to hospital.”
Written by Bob Cooper
This Bob Cooper Snake Bite and Venomous Creatures Kit has 3 x 10 cm compression bandages that can maintain the correct pressure and will remain tight. The included first aid booklet can equip you with the know-how to handle bites and stings from the following deadly Australian creatures: land, sea and burrowing snakes, funnel web spiders, blue ringed octopus, and cone shells.” We stock the Sea to Summit Gaiters and the Bob Cooper Snake bit kit in our store.