What to Do If Bitten by a Rattlesnake While Hiking

Introduction: Understanding the Dangers of Rattlesnake Bites

Rattlesnakes are venomous creatures that can be found in many hiking trails around the world. While encounters with these snakes are rare, it’s essential to know how to respond if you or someone hiking with you gets bitten. In this blog post, we will guide you through the necessary steps to take in such an emergency situation.

Stay Calm and Assess the Situation

Getting bitten by a rattlesnake can be extremely distressing, but it’s crucial to remain calm and composed. Panicking will only worsen your condition by increasing heart rate and spreading venom more quickly throughout your body. Take a moment to evaluate your surroundings and call for help if possible.

Safety First: Move Away from The Snake

While staying calm, slowly move away from the snake’s striking distance while being cautious not to trip or fall. Remember, rattlesnakes won’t typically pursue humans after biting them unless they feel threatened again.

Treating a Rattlesnake Bite Immediately:

Contact Emergency Services Immediately

Once you’re at a safe distance from the snake, call emergency services right away or ask someone nearby for assistance if available. Inform them about your location and provide any additional information regarding your condition.


If there is no cell reception in remote areas where many hiking trails are located, try moving towards an area with better signal coverage before calling emergency services.

Rattlesnake Bite First Aid:

Immobilize Affected Area as Much as Possible

To slow down the spread of venom through your bloodstream, make sure not to move the bitten limb too much. If possible, immobilize it using a splint or any available materials such as sticks, belts, or clothing.

Elevate the Wound

Keep the affected area positioned below your heart level whenever feasible. This will help reduce blood flow and slow down venom circulation throughout your body.

Remove Constrictive Items

If you’re wearing tight clothing or jewelry near the bite site, remove it immediately. In case of swelling, these items could become constrictive and restrict blood flow further.

Do Not Apply Ice/Heat/Pain Relievers

Contrary to popular belief, applying ice, heat packs, or pain relievers directly on a rattlesnake bite is not recommended. These actions can potentially worsen tissue damage and increase venom absorption into the bloodstream.

Absolutely Do Not:

Suck Out Venom or Use Snakebite Kits

As seen in movies or outdated survival guides, sucking out venom with your mouth is ineffective and can introduce bacteria into the wound. Additionally, commercially available snakebite kits are not endorsed by medical professionals due to their potential for harm rather than help.

Conclusion: Seek Immediate Medical Attention

Remember that time plays an essential role when dealing with rattlesnake bites while hiking. Even if you believe it’s a non-venomous bite or don’t exhibit immediate symptoms after being bitten by a rattlesnake—seeking professional medical care is imperative. The severity of envenomation may vary depending on several factors such as snake species and individual response to venom.

Stay safe while exploring nature’s wonders!