Wow, has it only been three months since we addressed the issues with the wintertime & everyone’s beloved Raccoons, Squirrels, and Mice? Well as the temperatures start rising, we are going to introduce our next two unwanted guests that will be making a comeback, namely snakes & scorpions.
- If possible, avoid areas where they may be hiding, such as under rocks and logs, and if you have to be there watch where you place your feet or hands.
- Do not play with or provoke them as this is when most serious bites or stings occur – generally they will try to leave the area & only bite when surprised or provoked.
- When walking in an area known to have snakes, scorpions, etc… you should wear long pants and boots if possible. Tap ahead of you with a walking stick, or walk heavily – the vibrations caused by this gives them a fair chance of knowing you are coming, which as we mentioned above they will try to avoid you.
- Wear gloves at minimum when moving items
- Flip items up first with a stick to make sure nothing nasty is waiting for you or use a rake instead of your hands when cleaning up mulch or leaves around the property – i.e. don’t put your hands into or where you can’t see first
Around your house / farm:
- If you have followed the information in our prior article on rodent protection, the Monthly Maintenance Checklists, Air Sealing Articles, or have had your house you should be in great shape keeping them outside your home
- On the outside, remove any trash, logs, boards, stones, bricks and other objects / junk that would make a good hiding place from around your house, barns, ditches, and ponds.
- Keep the grass closely mowed, and prune bushes and overhanging tree branches away from the house. This will not only helps prevent damage to your house, but not allow them another means to access it.
- Store garbage cans in a frame that allows them to rest above ground level and gives you enough room to see under them.
- Just like mice, snakes and scorpions can fit into the smallest of holes, so make sure you caulk any small cracks, holes, make sure torn screens are replaced / repaired, and your weather-stripping is in good condition.
- Avoid storing firewood inside your house, or right beside your house. Once winter is over, it needs to come out of the house, off the deck, and away from the structure. Just like the trashcans above, it should also be stored on a raised platform.
- Snakes & scorpions follow their food source, so do not tempt mice, insects, or other unwanted food sources of theirs into or around your home. Keep it clean, don’t leave food out over night (this includes pet food) & if you have a wife like mine that likes raining chickens – keep them away from the house (nothing can ruin your day like jumping off the deck & nearly getting bitten by a rattler trying to figure out how to get to the chickens)
Removal from the area:
If in doubt about what type of snake it is, call in a professional removal company (In Arizona, we simply could call the Fire Department – out here in many areas you either shoot it or you have to call in a removal company to have it caught). If you know it is a harmless snake, simply guide him back outside or away from the area you are in, with a broomstick. Oh and for those that do have a possible poisonous snake slithering about, you had better inform anyone that comes over, especially those working on the outside of the house, in your crawlspace, or unused basement. As for a scorpion, a rolled up newspaper, magazine, book or shoe works for me.
In case you are bitten or stung:
It truly is amazing how much bad advice one can find on the internet, especially in the top search results. If you come across a site advocating one sucks the poison out, applies a tourniquet, cuts the area, chase after the snake, etc… please move on to a more reliable source. I have included three reliable sites on first aid for snakebites in the additional websites area below. For snakebites, the most important steps are to first get away from the snake, stay calm, keep it immobilized below the heart, and call 911.
As for scorpions, most people just experience a quick stinging & really do not have a clue what caused it & blame it on a bee that hurts like he11. In most cases, the normal items used for bee stings work well with scorpions like applying Benadryl cream, taking a Tylenol, and even applying cold compress (interestingly, using a cold compress is no longer listed for snake bites as the evidence shows it makes it worse). Just like a snakebite, try to stay calm, do not try sucking on it, and keep still with the affected area below your heart. If you start experiencing dizziness, muscle spasms, it starts getting harder to drink or breathe, call 911. The same should also be said in case a younger child, elderly parent, etc… are stung.
Ahhh, the picture comes to us courtesy of Thailand Unique– now, while I have heard of cobra’s poison sacks being in bottles of rum (sounds better than worms in tequila) this company actually sells a cobra & scorpion whiskey witha hint of ginseng. Yes, that really is a baby cobra, with a scorpion in its mouth. Of course, if you wish to try this “delicacy” I hope your passport is up to date, as for me, well…
Additional Info & Websites:
- Tool Box Talk: OSHA’s Rodents, Snakes and Insects Quick Card
- Alabama Dept. of Conservation & National Resources – &
- Snake Bite First Aid: North Carolina Coop Ext., NIH – National Institutes of Health, Mayo Clinic
- HTRC Article: Rodent Prevention