While attempting to locate a specific climbing wall, our group hiked off-trail through several different areas that had large piles of leaves. In attempt to scare off the snakes, we poked the ground with a hiking stick/pole, but I later questioned whether that would even scare them off.

What is the proper way to hike through a heavily-leaved area or trail to avoid or scare off snakes?


The sound of your walking will usually alert them to your presence. Usually, the only time a snake will attack you is if you step on it, frighten it or do something to provoke it. Most snake bites are on the hands and arms.

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You don't need to try and avoid snakes, they're already trying their best to avoid you, but if you want to give them ample opportunity to get out of your way, walk with a heavy foot fall. Snakes feel vibrations in the ground, so if you come stomping through the woods they'll do their best to slither out of your path before you get too close.

Something that would work better than just poking or bashing the leaves, would be to clear them out of the way. Snakes like to hide in leaves and grass, and are often deterred from crossing open areas, so if you clear the leaves away the snakes will typically slither away with them to find a new hiding spot. Also, snakes only strike animals larger than themselves in self defence, if they think you're attacking them with sticks they may be more likely to act defensively.

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Snakes are usually harmless. This is their habitat, and you shouldn't be intentionally trying to scare them off. Just don't worry about it.

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