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  1. #1
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    Snakes while wild camping

    I've been planning the great summer tour, which will involve a lot of wild camping, for over a month, but I failed to consider all wildlife native to the area (central and northern Balkans and the plains in the area). While on a training ride 2 weeks ago, on a dirt road along a river, I encountered no less than 5 snakes, more than I've seen in my fleeting 21 years of existence. As far as I could tell, none of them were vipers, or even venomous for that matter, but they still unnerved me, and the fact that I totally forgot about the existence of snakes in the region while planning to sleep in a tent for weeks really annoyed me.

    Have you guys ever dealt with snakes while wild camping? And for those who have toured along the Aegean/northern Mediterranean/Adriatic, how high would snakes rank among other dangerous wildlife?

  2. #2
    Cycle Dallas MMACH 5's Avatar
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    If you're sleeping in a tent, don't give it a second thought. They don't want to be around you any more than you want to be around them.
    That's gonna leave a mark.

  3. #3
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    It is a consideration here in Australia. I've lost count of how many I've seen here ... dead on the road and alive. You've got to watch where you walk and keep your distance if you see any. But mostly they'll slither away.

    And if you do a google search, you should be able to come up with a list of what's dangerous and what's not in your area. There's lots of that info online about the ones here, complete with pictures.

  4. #4
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    Snakes can be encountered whenever outside the city whether wild camping or not. Most bites are on the hands of drunken young men: the best deterrent from being bitten is the realization that rattlesnake bites in the US cost approximately $10k to treat. Give snakes, venomous or not, a wide berth.
    Last edited by Cyclesafe; 05-25-11 at 04:54 PM. Reason: Sp

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    I also a snake on the local MUP. It runs parallel to the river nature preserve. It was about the diameter of my thumb and about a foot and a half long. It slithered away.

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by albertmoreno View Post
    I also a snake on the local MUP. It runs parallel to the river nature preserve. It was about the diameter of my thumb and about a foot and a half long. It slithered away.
    Was it a baby snake or a garter snake?


    There are lots of garter snakes in southern Manitoba ... they're relatively harmless and sort of funny to watch.

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    Dirt Bomb sknhgy's Avatar
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    Wouldn't totally harmless be more accurate?
    more cops have been killed by donuts than guns in chicago it is a medical fact ask any doctor.

  8. #8
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    I used to sleep under the stars (no tent or sleeping bag) while camping in the everglades and other areas of florida. I also would in certain parts of Texas. Never had a problem. In western Texas and US I will use a tent, since the colder climate will make your body attractive to snakes, who seek out warmth. Fortunately, the rattlesnakes in that area are timid and avoid humans. That isn't the case for all snakes. The copperhead, a southern species, is very aggressive. I have been "charged" several times by such snakes when canoeing, or encountering while hiking.

    You best bet is to contact a herpetologist at a local university and ask what the behaviors for such animals are in your area and what their suggested precautions are.

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    Formerly Known as Newbie Juha's Avatar
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    Another thing to check is if there are ticks in the area, and more specifically, if they carry either Lyme disease or TBE. Nasty buggers.

    --J
    To err is human. To moo is bovine.

    Who is this General Failure anyway, and why is he reading my drive?


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  10. #10
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    Check with your local wildlife experts for Balkan information. For those parts of North America I've camped in, it's only occasionally been something I worried about past "Can I set up camp here?" Even in areas where I've seen a number of copperheads on the trail coming in, they've not bothered me in camp. Once the tent is pitched, I only worry about night-time relief walks in high grass.

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    Consult "Snakes of Croatia"
    "Snakes of Slovenia"

    US Army Fract Sheet: "Snakebite prevention in the Balkans and First Aid procedures."

    I dont recall seeing any snakes in Slovenia in September but I did see some salamanders.
    I would second the advice that ticks represent a much greater risk to health than do snakes.


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    Last edited by MichaelW; 05-26-11 at 12:11 PM.

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    Like everyone said, if you're in a tent, you shouldn't really worry.

    I wouldn't camp in the open knowing there were venomous snakes in the region. Humans are a great heat source, and if you toss and turn in your sleep, you may wake up to a nasty, fangy surprise. Hammocks (provided the snakes of the area aren't the climby types) and tents are a sure bet if you know you'll encounter venomous beasties.

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    I hiked into a primitive area of the Grand Canyon many years ago and didn't want to carry my tent. I slept in the open and had no issues with snakes. I did have ants biting me for a long time before they finally had their fill and let me sleep. I was warned about rattlesnakes by the rangers since I was going to a primitive area, but never saw one. I was doing photography and actually wanted to photograph them. They don't want to be seen and generally do a very good job of avoiding humans.

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    Look into hammock camping if there will be sufficient trees in the area. A hammock with integrated bug net means you're not worried about snakes or any other bugs, not to mention wet, hard, bumpy ground.

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    Re ticks: I might be very wrong, but I don't think they've got Lyme disease in Europe. I'm not sure that it has spread too much further than the Northeast of the USA. If anyone's got solid proof (better than "some guy told me") that my info is old, then let's hear it.

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    Tick-bourne disease including Lyme disease and encephalitis are both prevelant in central Europe.

  17. #17
    commuter and barbarian scroca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelW View Post
    Tick-bourne disease including Lyme disease and encephalitis are both prevelant in central Europe.
    Limey disease is rampant in England.
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  18. #18
    Fredly
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    In Australia and New Zealand, I'd be far more concerned about dropbears than I would snakes. Snakes aren't usually aggressive whereas dropbears... they're a whole different ballgame. :-P


    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    It is a consideration here in Australia. I've lost count of how many I've seen here ... dead on the road and alive. You've got to watch where you walk and keep your distance if you see any. But mostly they'll slither away.

  19. #19
    Formerly Known as Newbie Juha's Avatar
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    Tick-borne TBE and borreliosis are on the increase up here in Northern Europe too. Ticks themselves are spreading into areas where they haven't been found previously, and also it seems that the percentage of ticks carrying diseases is rising.
    To err is human. To moo is bovine.

    Who is this General Failure anyway, and why is he reading my drive?


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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jude View Post
    Look into hammock camping if there will be sufficient trees in the area. A hammock with integrated bug net means you're not worried about snakes or any other bugs, not to mention wet, hard, bumpy ground.
    Hammock users are the recumbent riders of the camping world!!

  21. #21
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    What is a DROPBEAR ???

    DROPBEAR???

  22. #22
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    Dropbear is a marsupial Jagular. They are not related but its covergent evolution, they both occupy the "dropping on people from trees" ecological niche.

  23. #23
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Snakes cannot open Zippers, they have no thumbs.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    Snakes cannot open Zippers, they have no thumbs.
    (Pun intended.)

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
    Hammock users are the recumbent riders of the camping world!!
    So it seems! It's funny, on hammockforums.net I rarely see anybody mention their height and weight as anything other than very tall x very large. Whereas I'm 5 foot 9 and 140 pounds. I can see why so many large/overweight/old people with potential back problems are attracted to it, but I don't get why it hasn't caught on more even with people built like me. The comfort is pretty revolutionary...

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