Camping trips can be peaceful getaways from the busy lives that we normally lead, but the change of scenery comes with its unique set of challenges. Because campers no longer have the protection of their sturdy four walls, extra caution must be exercised around the various animals that call the wilderness their home, including snakes.
One concern that many campers have is the possibility of a snake getting into their tents and the danger this poses.
In this article, we are going to talk about how likely it is that you may find a snake in your tent and what you can do to keep them away from your campsite altogether. Stick around and learn safety tips for a snake-free camping trip!
Snakes in Your Tent: Possible?
It is technically possible for a snake to make its way into your tent if there are any holes in the walls or floor. If you leave a door or window unzipped, snakes can also enter through them.
Though some people may be concerned that a snake will bite through the tent walls, it is highly unlikely that they will. A snake’s fangs are not meant for gnawing through material like the teeth of mice and rats. Therefore, if your tent is entirely sealed, it will be nearly impossible for one of these slithering creatures to invite themselves in.
If you do find a snake while out camping, check out this handy guide that we wrote on identifying poisonous snakes while camping.
Snakes in Your Tent: Likely?
We know that it’s possible for a snake to get into a tent depending on how many openings you leave, but is it likely? Well, the answer depends on the climate of the area you’re camping in.
Sometimes on hot days, snakes will look for a shady place to hide. Because they are cold-blooded, their temperature is regulated by the time they spend in the sun and heat. When they begin to get too hot, they will naturally look for a place to cool down a bit. If your tent is open, they may find it to be a refuge.
If a snake is looking to hide from a predator or other humans in the area and your tent is empty, they may also take that chance to escape.
Otherwise, it’s not very likely that a snake will try to curl up in your sleeping bag. Why?
For one thing, snakes do not prey on humans. They only attack when provoked. If you are in the area, it’s more likely to take evasive action than to try and share your space. Snakes are typically more afraid of you than you are of them.
Snakes also do not tend to make a point to stay in man-made shelters. Wild animals prefer being in their natural habitat, and will usually only resort to something unfamiliar in desperate circumstances.
So, to sum it up, it’s not highly likely that a snake will seek out your tent as a shelter.
How to Keep Snakes Away from Your Tent
However low the chances are of finding a snake in your home away from home, it’s always better to be proactive about keeping them away from it, just in case. Doing this is simple and will potentially save your life if you’re camping in an area near venomous snakes.
Camp Away from Known Snake Habitats
Snakes have certain areas that they make their homes or temporary hiding spots. These areas are usually in the shade where they can stay hidden and protected. Let’s talk about where you would expect to find these creatures so you can avoid these areas as much as possible.
- Fallen Trees
Fallen trees provide plenty of shelter and protection from the sun and predators, especially if the trunk is hollow. In fact, fallen trees are a haven for all sorts of insects and wild animals. The best option is to leave these creatures in peace and give them a wide berth.
- High Grass
High grassy areas are like a minefield for humans; snakes and other animals hide in this grass where they can still bask in the sun if they want but stay hidden from potential predators. While they typically leave humans alone, a snake could see you pitching your tent in their spot as an invasion and will attack if you get too close.
- Under Rocks
Rocky areas are sometimes ideal for snakes because they provide shelter and darkness, but the rocks give snakes a place to bask when they need to warm up. If you see many boulders with gaps in between, set up base camp further away from the area. Do not try to check underneath these rocks; just assume that dangerous animals could be using them, and exercise caution.
Check for Openings in Your Tent
Before you even think about leaving for your trip, make sure that there are no holes, rips, or frayed areas in the tent walls, windows, floor, and doors. Snakes do not need very much room to slither in; repair all of these weak spots or get yourself a new, sturdy tent before you hit the road.
Once you have set up your tent, do another inspection to ensure that your tent did not sustain damage on your journey.
Always check the tent before leaving camp; zip all of the windows and doors shut. While it may not provide as much ventilation while you are gone, it’ll protect your space from all sorts of creatures.
Check the Tent Before Getting In
Upon your arrival back at the tent, you need to think before you blindly hop in and take measures to keep yourself safe.
The first thing you should do is check underneath the tent. Sometimes, snakes curl up underneath the floor for safety and shade. It is not technically inside of your tent, but it can cause a mess if you accidentally step on it through the floor. It may try to bite through the floor; if the floor is flimsy, it might succeed, though biting through a tent is no easy feat, as we discussed. If nothing else, it will try to take off and may end up attacking someone at the site.
Once you’ve ensured that the underside of the tent is snake-free, cautiously inspect the inside of the tent. Shake out your sleeping bag, take a flashlight, and do a visual check, and be sure to take a good look at all corners before climbing in.
No matter how well you zipped your tent shut, there is still a small possibility that a snake has found its way in. Being thorough is the best way to stay safe.
Keep Food Out of the Tent
It’s never a good idea to bring food into your tent that may attract other animals. Snakes are not interested in human food, but they do make a tasty meal out of animals that are interested like mice, rats, birds, and various small mammals. When they come looking for food at your tent, so do the snakes.
In fact, try to keep this food away from the campsite altogether. The scraps of whatever you eat need to be properly disposed of where it can’t be smelled or seen by wildlife.
Food that may attract these animals include:
- junk food (i.e. crackers, chips)
- nuts and seeds
While some of these are not natural food sources for these animals, human traffic in camping areas have changed their diet over time. Please try to keep any food out of sight, smell, and reach of them for your own safety and theirs.
As a last-ditch effort, there are repellents available for purchase that will keep the snakes away. Always ask campsite managers before using it if you are staying at an established campground; in some areas, this is heavily frowned upon, as it may hurt the environment and other animals in the area. Upsetting the ecosystem is the last thing that you should do as a camper. You are there to enjoy nature, not destroy it.
If you insist on using this method, please use the repellant sparingly and away from other campers and animals like dogs. Reduce the amount of harm that you may do.
To sum it up, snakes can get into a tent, but they will not do so unless they feel that they have to. The chances aren’t too high that you will encounter a snake in your tent multiple times if you take steps to keep them away from your campsite.
These methods are tried and tested by experienced campers; all you need is a proper sense of caution and some problem-solving skills! Avoid areas that you know snakes may be hiding, patch up any holes in your tent, and look before you climb into your sleeping bag.
Try to do as little harm to yourself, other people, and animals in the process. Remember: snakes will not usually attack unless provoked. Be gentle with all wildlife; you are their guest.
With that being said, you are finally ready to pack your bags, hit the road, and pitch your tent to enjoy a nature retreat that we all need once in a while. Happy trails!
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