Can A Snake Get Into A Kayak? [What To Do If Bitten?]

If you’re a kayaker, then you know that snakes can pose the greatest threat to your safety. It’s essential to be prepared for snake encounters and know what to do if one gets into your kayak. This blog post will answer all of your questions about snakes and kayaking.

It is unlikely a snake will voluntarily get into a kayak. However, you might accidentally scoop up a snake while rowing or a snake may fall from a tree into the kayak. If bitten, it is critical to remain calm and apply first aid for snake bites. You need medical help as soon as you can.

Most people will never experience a snake in their kayak. However, you should know what to do if you ever encounter one. In This article, we’ll answer your questions about snakes and kayaks and what to do if you do get bit.  

Can A Snake Get Into A Kayak?

A snake could probably get into your kayak if it wanted. The truth is, though, that the snake probably does not want to be in your kayak any more than you want it there. 

Snakes are generally shy creatures that prefer to move away rather than have contact with people. They will usually only attack if they feel threatened or cornered. So, the odds of a snake getting into your kayak are slim, but it is possible.

The only reason a snake may voluntarily get into your kayak is if it mistook the kayak for a log or place to rest out of the water. This is a rare scenario and highly unlikely to happen. 

Even large constrictors which may be found in warmer tropical waters are unlikely to attempt to get into a kayak. Their prey will usually be in or around the water’s edges or shoreline. It would not regard a kayak as prey. 

How a Snake Can End Up in a Kayak?

A snake may inadvertently end up in your kayak if you scoop it up as you are rowing.

Another accidental way a snake may end up in your kayak is if you are paddling close to the shore and a snake drops from a tree branch into the kayak. This has happened to some kayakers. 

The more likely scenario is that the snake took refuge in your kayak while it was on land, and you did not notice it until you were on the water.  

What Should I Do If There Is A Snake In My Kayak?

If there is a snake in your kayak, it is crucial that you do not panic. Stay calm and still so that you can assess the situation.

While sitting there, try to identify the snake and memorize its markings. This will be important if you need to report the snake to authorities.

If the snake is coiled and ready to strike, do not make any sudden moves. Back away slowly and quietly until you are out of striking distance.

With any luck, if you keep still, the snake will decide of its own accord to leave the kayak. 

Often people automatically bail out of the kayak if there is a snake in it. This approach may work but may also result in someone being bitten in the scuffle, or you may be in a worse situation if you bail out into crocodile or alligator-infested water. There are some alternatives to the ‘bailout in terror’ approach.

Sudden movements, scuffling, and noise will cause the snake to feel threatened, and it will defend itself by striking. If the snake is calm, you could carefully and slowly use your paddle to loop up the snake and return it to the water. This would have to be done in a manner that does not make the snake feel scared or trapped.

If the snake cannot be moved calmly, try to carefully and slowly put an item of clothing or something similar on top of the snake. Snakes like to hide and feel safer when hidden. If the snake is calm under the cloth, paddle quickly to the nearest shore and get out the kayak. 

Tip the kayak up to encourage the snake to leave. Ensure the kayak is between you and the snake. If someone is with you, ask them to stand at a safe distance and tell you when the snake is out and which direction it is moving. 

What To Do If Bitten By A Snake While Kayaking?

The essential reaction is to stay calm. Try to secure the situation so that you are not bitten again using one of the aforementioned techniques. Once the danger from the snake is under control, you must address the snake bite. 

  • If possible, phone for help. Send a GPS location and any information you can on where you are and where you may land your kayak.
  • Do not continue rowing. Exercise will help to pump the venom around your body faster. If you are with someone, ask them to row for the nearest store or area where help may be found. 
  • Keep your breathing even and slow. Accelerated breathing and heart rate will worsen the situation by transporting the venom quickly around the body.
  • Most people are bitten on the hand, arm, foot, or leg. Try to keep the bitten limb hanging down below the level of your heart.
  • Wash the wound or disinfect it thoroughly if you have first aid equipment. Do not cut the bite site or try to suck the venom out. This causes more harm and does not achieve anything.  
  • If you have an emergency kit, use a pressure bandage to bandage firmly over the bite and on either side of it. Do not tourniquet the limb, as this usually ends up causing more damage and may even result in losing a limb unnecessarily.
  • You may be in shock, so be aware of possibly fainting. Secure yourself in the kayak so that you do not fall out if you faint.
  • Report everything you have done to paramedics and, if possible, describe or identify the snake.

Final Word

A snake entering a kayak from the water is unlikely and a rare scenario. If you encounter a snake in a kayak, handle the situation calmly and quietly.

If bitten, seek medical attention for the victim and transport them to the nearest hospital for assistance.

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