Snake Question

Let me start by reminding you all that I'm in upstate NY, where we don't have as many snakes as you desert rats do.

I saw the report on the recent Death Valley trip where a rattlesnake was found under someone's chair while you all were sitting around the campfire discussing deep philosophical thoughts.

I've seen "snake gaiters" in various outdoor catalogs. Was wondering if you guys routinely wear them in snake country? Should I be looking to add a set to my packing list when I head down that way, hopefully for next winter?
Nope. I've only had one encounter with Mr. Rattlesnake and he gave me enough warning to back away from the bush he was resting under as I was boulder hoping up to the upper falls in Coyote Canyon.


Founding Member
Seeing a snake is a relatively rare occurrence. I wouldn't worry about it. Just be careful and aware.

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Come to South Jersey and into the Pine Barrens. Plenty of snakes to hear and see.

The biggest problem we've had with Timber Rattlers is keeping my buddies dog away.
No snake gaiters here and I'm often in the forest and wilderness in central AZ. on my search and rescue and pleasure hikes. I've seen a few snakes, ate a couple too. More people in the US die from Black Widow bites than snake bites....
Snaky garters, I will state here I've seen them and pray I never see them again. Lot's of sleepless nights due to the politicians wearing them. A word of advice, never vote for a politician wearing snaky garters, unless they promise you something, anything!


Founding Member
I'm more worried about my dog trying to play with a rattler. Seen many of them hiking but never aggressive. The only aggressive snake I've seen was a Mohave green that decided to take up residence under one of my Marine's helmets.
I agree that actually getting bit is unusual, though I wouldn't mind having some snake gaiters for some places I've hiked in Az and up north. I've stepped off rocks and had them under the rock on the far side, had them appear out of thin air in brushy stuff, and had a few around my house (one IN the house) after I moved north, including two different ones under the first porch step that I discovered when I came home after dark and heard them rattle when I stepped on the step. Stepped over another one going into the garage and didn't see it until going back out. Had one dog bit in the face, others come very close, including a snake that came out of a small bush behind my dogs, they were utterly unaware of it. I grabbed at their collars and tried pulling them away, their first instinct was to resist and pull away back towards the snake. Had one come between me and my vehicle after I stepped out of it for a couple minutes, had one under my vehicle when I got back from hiking. Had one pair of ignorant dogs pull a rather large prairie rattler out from under a bush (fortunately they didn't get bit). Had one sitting on top of a small sagebrush about dark as I walked by it, noticing it when I was about 3' away.

No, its probably a bit overboard to have snake gaiters, but I wouldnt mind having some for some places.

BTW, I kill all I see anywhere near home or where I hike or camp. No shame. Whatsoever. Zero.


Senior Staff
I used to be a snake killer but as I've learned more I've come to realize that they're important to the balance of nature and worthy of my pardon. I have a live and let live policy now unless there is a problem and then it's people first.
Funny, I used to leave them alone. After more experience, I changed my perspective. After seeing how hard it was on my dog to get bit, I have no remorse whatsoever in killing rattlesnakes.

I encourage bull snakes and other innocuous ones. Once in a while a bull snake will come hang around the yard, keeping the dog scared. I use my garden claw and carry them off a ways. Rattlesnakes, not much sympathy. I'll let the bull snakes take over their mouse killing niche.
We have water moccasins here, they attack lures when fishing and are very aggressive sobs. I take Danny with me a lot, and I have no problem killing them if they get close enough. I don't seek them out, but I'm not taking any chance.

Jonathan Hanson

Founding Member
Our border collie got bitten by a blacktailed rattlesnake and survived with a stylish scar on his nose. Most dogs (and even cats) survive rattlesnake bites. At our desert place we see them frequently, and generally don't see them again. If they seem to have adopted the cottage as a frequent hunting ground, I'll move them off a few hundred yards and that generally takes care of it. Only once did Roseann take a shotgun to one, when it kept returning and hanging around the house despite several relocations, when our dog was 16 years old and a bite would have been really bad. I was in Africa at the time.

Rattlesnakes invariably just want to be left alone. Once you've spotted one, they're completely harmless, and pathetically easy to kill. All the guys who carry "snake loads" for "protection" are simply ignorant.

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