Most snakes are not venomous, but there is always the off chance that the snake that just sunk it's fangs into your leg is pumping you full of a concentrated toxin.
If you aren't sure what species of snake it is, then the best course of action will be to treat the bite as if it is venomous. To learn what that means, check out the do's and don'ts below.
1. Wash the bite with soap and water as soon as possible.
2. Keep the bitten area below the heart.
3. Take off any rings or watches. The venom is going to make you swell.
4. Tightly wrap a bandage two to four inches above the bite. If you can’t reach medical care within 30 minutes, wrap a bandage around the bitten appendage. You want to make it tight, but not too tight as to completely cut off the appendage’s circulation.
5. If you have a snake bite kit, place the suction device over the bite to help draw the venom out of the wound. Leave on for a maximum of ten minutes to reduce up to 30% of the venom.
1. Cut the wound. This isn’t a smart move because you increase the chances of causing an infection in the area.
2. Suck the venom with your mouth. You don’t want the venom in your mouth where it can get back into your bloodstream.
3. Apply ice to the wound. Ice can cause tissue and skin damage.
4. Panic. The more you move and the faster your heart beats, the quicker the venom is going to be circulated throughout your body.
If you aren't familiar with the venomous snakes in your area, and don't know what species of snake just cropped up in your path on the trail, then the best thing you can do is follow the gun safety mantra: “Treat every gun as if it is loaded.” This means that if you aren't 100% sure whether or not a snake is venomous, you should give it as wide a berth as possible, just in case.
If you have already been bitten, then treat the wound as if it is full of venom and get to the hospital as soon as possible. It's better to be embarrassed at the hospital than to be dead on the trail.
For more, check out the tips explained in further depth on what to do about a snake bite on Art of Manliness.