Our country has some of the most beautiful countryside on the planet, and hiking is a great way to see it. Unfortunately, there are some real dangers lurking in among that stunning scenery. Australia is home to more than 100 different varieties of venomous snake. Around a dozen of these (including the Mulga and Western Brown Snake), can deliver a fatal bite. With several thousand snakebite accidents every year, becoming a snake’s victim is a real possibility. If you’re planning a walking trip, particularly if the route includes less-frequented terrain, these five tips will help you avoid snake peril.

  1. Invest in trekking poles These handy walking poles can be used to part longer grass or thicker foliage, giving hikers the chance to spot venomous snakes in good time to take action. Trekking poles can also make walking easier, allowing walkers to cover greater distances with ease.
  2. Invest in snake-proof gaiters No matter how careful you are, there’s still the chance you may unexpectedly disturb a snake, causing it to bite defensively. Snake proof gaiters provide an effective shield, minimising the risk of a bite penetrating the skin in the vulnerable foot and lower leg region.
  3. Avoid the wilderness If possible, stick to clear trails, which are clear of bushes and long grass. Snakes tend to avoid open space, preferring a more secluded location.
  4. Make a noise Snakes don’t like sound vibrations. Thumping feet and walking poles, along with conversation, may be all that’s necessary for them to slither out of your path to somewhere quieter.
  5. Wear snake repelling essential oils You may also consider wearing clove oil or cinnamon oil, both of which have been shown to repel snakes. Don’t just count on essential oils to keep you safe! If you see a snake, the best way to stay safe is to keep as far away from it as possible.

In general, snakes will only attack if they feel threatened. If you see a snake, giving it a wide berth is usually all that’s needed to keep you safe. Avoid the temptation to poke it, step nearer for a close look, or otherwise annoy it. Stay safe, and enjoy your hike!

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