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Snakes and Varmits


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#1 Lane

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 06:16 AM

Snakes and Varmits.

How does one (and one's pets) avoid snakes and varmits while hiking around campgrounds?

I figure I can avoid most snakes and varmits by being cautious and observant, but the Poodle Girls are almost exclusively urban and would probably want to play with a rattler. I keep them on six-foot leashes when they're outside Mi Casita Linda, but that still puts them a good six feet ahead of me or off the trail to the side, sniffing and exploring strange scents and movement.

I like to take them for walks around the campground, but an occasional hike up into the hills is appealng both for exercise and the chance to see what's "over the next hill". The Poodle Girls are both Standard Poodles and picking even one of them up is a bit of a chore, so that's not one of our options.

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#2 Petit Lapin

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 12:56 PM

Hi, Lane,

We, our cat, dog, and daughter, summered for 22 years on an island in massasssauga rattlesnake country. Experts in the Ministry of Natural Resources explained to us that rattlesnakes, unless cornered, will not waste their venom on something they cannot eat. Even if cornered, they may not inject venom with their bite, because it takes them a long-ish time to build up a new supply. We also learned that rattlesnakes prefer to get out of the way of anything they cannot eat and which might injure them. The challenge, then, was giving them enough warning and enough time to move.

You can almost entirely eliminate the potential for harm to the poodles by hiking at a slow-ish pace and either thumping the ground continually with a big, heavy walking stick or stomping heavily in your hiking boots. This, plus the vibrations the poodles make as they romp about, will alert a snake that may be on, or near, the path that something heavy, probably big, and, therefore, inedible is approaching. The snake will get out of the way as quickly as it can --- and the sound it makes as it slithers off will alert the poodles to the danger.

To be absolutely sure that the dogs are not at risk, you might want to consider keeping them on a short lead while you are on ground that is rocky or heavily obscured, letting them run free only when they can see what is ahead of them.

Happy hiking,
Petit Lapin

#3 Lane

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 07:06 PM

Petit Lapin,

Thanks for some good advice.

Lane and the Poodle Girls
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#4 LJB

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 08:57 PM

Lane,

I agree with Petit Lapin that rattlesnakes will keep clear if they know you're coming. I would like to add the following:

  • Snakes are more active at dusk
  • Keep your eye on the trail.
  • Baby snakes can be dangerous to you and your pets as they do not control their venom
  • Do not poke or throw anything at a snake
  • Stay clear of grass, leaves, piles of old wood, and rock rubble
  • Keep your pets on a leash when hiking
  • Snakes tend to sun themselves on rocks in the late morning and throughout the afternoon
  • Carry a cell phone when hiking
I read somewhere that snakes will not cross hemp rope. Circle your trailer with hemp rope, when camping in the desert, perhaps?

Sandy and I hike a lot. Not too long ago I planted my foot right next to a very large rattlesnake as it was crossing the trail. I froze in place and the snake kept moving. Whew!

Larry

Edited by LJB, 18 October 2007 - 08:58 PM.

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#5 Lane

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Posted 19 October 2007 - 09:09 PM

Larry,

Yet more to consider. Thanks.

Lane and the Poodle Girls who muttered, "Snakes, we don wan no stinking snakes!"
Ray Lane Aldrich
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#6 CAA

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Posted 20 October 2007 - 11:31 AM

Our dogs don't travel with us but on our trip to Stonewall/Cucharas/LaVeta, Colorado a few weeks ago we met a lady who was hiking with her dog and she had a bell on it's collar. She didn't have the dog on a leash so the dog would get ahead of her but she could hear the bell and know it was close. She told us that in the spring it had surprised a fawn (didn't proceed with details) and she decided to put the bell on it to protect the wildlife. Maybe a bell would scare the snakes/varmints away too. I didn't look at the bell but it didn't sound like a jingle bell it sounded more like a small cow bell or I've seen windchimes with the same type bell and they were called camel bells. I thought it was a pleasant sound - not distracting or too loud. In fact - we were right at the point of locating a geocache and I heard the bell behind a tree - I thought it was in the tree and was a sign for the geocache - the geocache was under the tree but the bell came on around the trail and that's when we realized it wasn't part of the geocache!
Just a thought...

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#7 crabeyes

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Posted 20 October 2007 - 03:39 PM

Leaping Lizards!!
Here in land of Gila Monsters, snakes, scorpions, and stickers...Our little ratdog tends to investigate anything that moves or seems weird. Our solution was to take him to snake avoidance training. That is "bark but don't get close" training. We seen them all on the trail and in our yard....so far no incidents.

Our biggest varmit worries for the little one (5lbs) have been hungry, unwary coyotes and the big great horned owl that has taken a few cats. Yikes!
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#8 J. B. Williams

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Posted 20 October 2007 - 07:05 PM

What is a geocache and you did not say where the bell noise came from?
Jerre B. Williams

#9 CAA

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Posted 20 October 2007 - 08:52 PM

Sorry - I probably didn't explain it well enough- the bell was on the dog - he was coming up the trail and was behind the tree - we couldn't see him but heard the bell so we thought the bell was IN the tree signaling the hidden geocache. We found the geocache and then the dog came on around the tree - with the bell on his collar.

What is Geocaching? (quote from FAQ on www.geocaching.com)

Geocaching is an entertaining adventure game for gps users. Participating in a cache hunt is a good way to take advantage of the wonderful features and capability of a gps unit. The basic idea is to have individuals and organizations set up caches all over the world and share the locations of these caches on the internet. GPS users can then use the location coordinates to find the caches. Once found, a cache may provide the visitor with a wide variety of rewards. All the visitor is asked to do is if they get something they should try to leave something for the cache.


Log on to www.geocaching.com to find coordinates for caches hidden about anywhere you plan to travel - follow the directions/hints and use your GPS to locate exact coordinates. It's usually a log book and pencil to log your name and where you're from - it's in a moisture proof container - sometimes there's little treasures - you can take one/or leave something. Just a fun game when you're out and about - they are located all over the world.

We have several geocaches hidden in our area. Some are really easy to find and some are well hidden!
There were several in the Cucharas Colorado area but we only searched out the one on Vista Point trail - Trailhead located at Cordova Pass. It was only a .6 mile hike and easy to find. Next time we'll try one that required a longer hike and probably more difficult to find.

Cindy and Allen
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#10 June #1163

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 11:34 AM

Lane,

Here's something else to watch out for.

I let my little rat terrier out one last time before bed a couple of years ago only to have him come whimpering back to the door a minute or so later. I noticed he was not using his right hind leg so I checked it out and discovered two drops of blood side-by-side. I immediately phoned my vet clinic and rushed him there. Sure enough, it was a snake bite! The vet said that the strike must have been quick and without much venom or he would not have made it to the clinic alive. He was still sick enough to have to remain at the clinic for a few days and favored that leg for months.

Our vet said that the snake was probably a copperhead since we had just had a rain. He said that copperheads strike at anything that moves after a rain. I didn't know that. I had several neighbors help me search my fenced in yard to see if the snake was still there. We found the copperhead just outside my fence under a bit of boards left over from a very recent project. Needless to say, I am more studious in the removal of wood and leaves from my property now. Just one more thing to be careful of. -June

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#11 Plainsman

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 12:26 PM

Snakes can be a real problem for the dog owner. I live in what should be prime rattler country, but due to a strange quirk of geo-fauna distribution there are no rattlers in my part of the Sandhills. My Shorthair likes to bite little snakes in half but fortunately seems leery of the big boys. I have a very large bull snake on the place that I hope to keep as they are excellent mousers. Snakes have a definite fishy odor that even people can pick up and is very obvious to dogs. Once a dog associates that smell with "snake" and has been bitten by a large, aggresive bull snake (non-poisonous) they tend to be educated!
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#12 ArizonaEileen

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Posted 10 November 2007 - 02:15 AM

Lane --

When visiting the desert, snakes and varmits aren't the only things you need to keep your dogs away from. Most cacti can be equally unfriendly.

Jumping Cholla is one variety that you don't want to get you or your dog close to. As its name implies, the spines will practically 'jump' out and affix themselves to your skin if you merely (and accidentally) brush up against one.

If this happens to you on the trail, take two rocks and use them together to pull out the spines. They should not be removed by hand since the ends are barbed and can cause painful, very slow-healing wounds when embedded in the skin. A hair comb can also be used for this purpose.

Another technique is applying hot water (bathtub or shower) to the affected area. This will open up pores in the skin, making it easier for the needles to be removed or possibly even removing some needles entirely.

If the barbs pass through clothing before entering the skin, it may be possible to pull the clothing away from the skin, pulling most of the barbs out of the skin.

When a dog encounters a Jumping Cholla that has attached itself to, for instance, a leg, their first instinct is to bite it out. Not good. Make sure you keep a tweezers in your First Aid kit.

My recommendation is to keep your pooches on short leashes anytime you're around cactus, or just don't take them out on the trail with you, if possible.

Eileen

Edited by ArizonaEileen, 10 November 2007 - 02:15 AM.

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#13 crabeyes

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Posted 10 November 2007 - 06:47 AM

Then there are the tiny ants!

When I was training my pup to sit, he became very complient at the command. That is until I was on a walk and stopped to talk to a neighbor. The little guy would just not stay sitting. I thought he was just being fidgity until at home I discovered the many welts on his little posterior. Now, I'm much more considerate as to where I ask him to place his tender parts.
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#14 J. B. Williams

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 04:46 PM

Thanks CAA for geocache explanation. dancinsmilie.gif
Jerre B. Williams

#15 Matt

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Posted 16 April 2008 - 02:06 PM

QUOTE (Lane @ Sep 25 2007, 09:16 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Snakes and Varmits.

How does one (and one's pets) avoid snakes and varmits while hiking around campgrounds?

I figure I can avoid most snakes and varmits by being cautious and observant, but the Poodle Girls are almost exclusively urban and would probably want to play with a rattler. I keep them on six-foot leashes when they're outside Mi Casita Linda, but that still puts them a good six feet ahead of me or off the trail to the side, sniffing and exploring strange scents and movement.

I like to take them for walks around the campground, but an occasional hike up into the hills is appealng both for exercise and the chance to see what's "over the next hill". The Poodle Girls are both Standard Poodles and picking even one of them up is a bit of a chore, so that's not one of our options.

Lane and the Poodle Girls


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