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RATTLESNAKES - 13 USEFUL TIPS TO REMEMBER:

1. Be aware of your surroundings at all times. Don't just blindly wander through woods, weeds, trails, bushes, and the like.

2. Avoid specific snake habitats like brush piles, debris mounds, logjams, root systems, abandoned buildings, watery areas, "cover" in general. Remember, they may be anywhere else also!

3. Wear leather shoes or boots at least ankle high or better when walking in suspected snake country.

4. Never sit or climb (feet and hands), or step over obstacles anywhere without first looking carefully prior to taking the move.

5. Observation is critical to avoidance - learn to check around with a sweeping glance for anything that seems out of place, for this may be your subconscious notice of a camouflaged critter lurking close by.

6. Near water of any kind, be aware that many species "hang out" there and will likely be quite hidden from view while they are sleeping or hunting - just be more alert.

7. Remember that snakes have needs for shelter, water, and food basically in that order just to survive, so be aware of these "needs" and be alert when these are especially present in any combination. Learn to recognize food favorites of the species in your area so that when you know the food animal's habits, you also know those of the snakes!

8. Try not to stalk along quietly as snakes have many sensing devices to warn them of your presence - let these work freely with noise, movements, etc. and thus not make the snake think it may be the target of a predator when it would need to become more aggressive!

9. Take a pet along on outings since these animals have a much more effective set of senses when it comes to snakes - a point guard is often a good confidence builder and may serve as a beneficial warning.

10. When a snake is spotted, leave it alone! So many bite victims have chosen to hit the snake or try to catch it. Remember, where there is one, there are likely others! Be alert!

11. Learn more about snakes in the area where you live or play so that you better understand their capabilities and behaviors.

12. Learn basic snakebite first aid. Prepare yourself and always expect the unexpected. Here is basic snake bite first aid information.

13. Be in tune with your environment - know that most critters, including snakes, try to avoid human contact. Practice skills that make you more aware of what is happening and what critical conditions are present as you move through the fields and streams.

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