Search  Inquiry Net

Back ] Home ] Up ] Next ]

Axe, Boy Scout
Axe, Saw, Forestry
Axe, Saw,  Knife
Axe Use: Beard
Axe Use: Seton
Axe Use: Traditional
Axe Throwing
Beds, Woodcraft
Bedding Materials
Bicycle Maintenance
Birch-Bark Torch
Bird Houses
Blocks Tackles Purchase
Blood Red Cross
Broom: Camp or Witch's
Camp Hygiene
Camp Planning
Campfire Programs
Chuck Box Riddance!
Compass Bear Song
Compass, Home-Made
Cotton Kills Bear Song
Deduction in Tracking
Deduction & Detective
Edible Plants
Equipment, Leader
Equipment, Personal
Equipment Maintenance
Equipment, Lightweight
Equip, Pickle Bucket Camp
Field Signals
Fire Building
Fire Laying
Fire Lighting
Fire Starters
Fire: Rubbing-Stick
Fire Types, Wood Types
Fire Council Ring
Fires: Woodcraft
First Aid
First Class Journey
Flint & Steel
Gesture Signals
Ground to Air Signals
Handicraft Stunts
High Adventure
Hike Planning
Indian Sundial Clock
Insect Collecting
Insect Preserve
Indian Well
Knife & Hatchet
Knots, Bends, Hitches
Knots: Diamond Hitch
Knots: Lashings
Knots: Rope Work
Knots: Seton
Knots: Traditional
Knots & Whipping
Lashing Practice Box
Lace or Thong
Learn by Doing
Leave No Trace
Leave No Trace
Local Knowledge
Log Ladders, Notched
Logs: Cut Notch
Logs Split with Axe
Loom and Grass Mats
Lost in the Woods
Map & Compass
Maps: Without Compass
Measurement Estimation
Menu Worksheet
Menu (Adult IOLS)
Night Tracking
Old Trails
Pioneering, Basic
Pioneering Models
Plaster Casts
Rope Care
Rope Making
Rope Spinning
Scout Reports
Signal & Sign
Sign Language
Silent Scout Signals
Smoke Prints
Spanish Windlass
Staff/Stave Making
Stalking Skills
Stalking & Observation
Story Telling
Stoves & Lanterns
Summoning Help
Sun Dial: Scientific
Survival Kit
Tarp Poles
Teepee (4 Pole)
Tent Care
Tent Pitching
Tomahawk Throwing
Tomahawk Targets
Totem Making
Totem Animals
Totem Poles
Training in Tracking
Tracks, Ground, Weather
Tracking & Trailing
Trail Following
Trail Signs & Blazes
Trail Signs of Direction
Trail Signs: Traditional
Trail Signs for Help
Trees of the NE
Wall Hangings
Watch Compass
Weather Wisdom
Wild Things

Scout Books

Site Contents

by Ernest Thompson Seton 

bbrg321.gif (27704 bytes)

Snakes are to the animal world what toadstools are to the vegetable world--wonderful things, beautiful things, but fearsome things, because some of them are deadly poison.

Taking Mr. Raymond L. Ditmars (This article is chiefly a condensation of his pamphlet on "Poisonous Snakes of the United States," and is made with his permission and approval), as our authority, we learn that out of one hundred and eleven species of snakes found in the United States, seventeen are poisonous. They are found in every state, but are most abundant in the Southwest.

These may be divided into Coral Snakes, Moccasins, and Rattlers.

The Coral Snakes are found in the Southern States. They are very much like harmless snakes in shape, but are easily distinguished by their remarkable colors, "broad alternating rings of red and black, the latter bordered with very narrow rings of yellow."

The Rattlesnakes are readily told at once by the rattle.

But the Moccasins are not so easy. There are two kinds ; the Water Moccasin, or Cotton-mouth, found in South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, --Alabama, and Louisiana, and the Copperhead, which is the Highland, or Northern Moccasin or Pilot Snake, found from Massachusetts to Florida and west to Illinois and Texas.

Here are distinguishing marks: The Moccasins, as well as the Rattlers, have on each side of the head, between the eye and nostril, a deep pit.

The pupil of the eye is an upright line, as in a cat; the harmless snakes have a round pupil.

The Moccasins have a single row of plates under the tail, while the harmless snakes have a double row.

The Water Moccasin is dull olive with wide black transverse bands.

The Copperhead is dull hazel brown, marked across the back with dumb-bells of reddish brown; the top of the head more or less coppery.

Both Moccasins and Rattlers have a flat triangular head, which is much wider than the thin neck; while most harmless snakes have a narrow head that shades off into the neck.

Rattlesnakes are found generally distributed over the United States, southern Ontario, southern Alberta, and Saskatchewan.

How Does a Snake Bite?

Remember, the tongue is a feeler, not a sting. The "stinging" is done by two long hollow teeth, or fangs, through which the poison is squirted into the wound.

The striking distance of a snake is about one third the creature's length, and the stroke is so swift that no creature can dodge it.

The snake can strike farthest and surest when it is ready coiled, but can strike a little way when traveling.

You cannot disarm a poisonous snake without killing it. If the fangs are removed others come quickly to take their place. In fact, a number of small, half-grown fangs are always waiting ready to be developed.

In Case of Snake Bite

First, keep cool, and remember that the bite of American snakes is seldom fatal if the proper measures are followed.

[The following first aid information has been outdated]

You must act at once. Try to keep the poison from getting into the system by a tight bandage on the arm or leg (it is sure to be one or the other) just above the wound. Next, get it out of the wound by slashing the wound two or more ways with a sharp knife or razor at least as deep as the puncture. Squeeze it--wash it out with permanganate of potash dissolved in water to the color of wine. Suck it out with the lips (if you have no wounds in the mouth it will do you no harm there). Work, massage, suck, and wash to get all the poison out. After thorough treatment to remove the venom the ligature may be removed.

"Pack small bits of gauze into the wounds to keep them open and draining, then dress over them with gauze saturated with any good antiseptic solution. Keep the dressing saturated and the wounds open for at least a week, no matter how favorable may be the symptoms."

Some people consider whiskey or brandy a cure for snake bite. There is plenty of evidence that many have been killed by such remedies, and little that they have ever saved any one, except perhaps when the victim was losing courage or becoming sleepy.

In any case, send as fast as you can for a doctor. He should come equipped with hypodermic syringe, tubes of anti-venomous serum, and strychnine tablets.

Harmless Snakes

Far the greatest number of our snakes are harmless, beautiful, and beneficent. They are friendly to the farmer, because, although some destroy a few birds, chickens, ducklings, and game, the largest part of their food is mice and insects. The Blacksnake, the Milk Snake, and one or two others, will bite in self-defense, but they have no poison fangs, and the bite is much like the prick of a bramble.

bbr346b.gif (7851 bytes)

Books Recommended

THE REPTILE BOOK, Raymond L. Ditmars. Doubleday, Page & Co., 1907; 465 pages, many ills.
POISONOUS SNAKES OF NORTH AMERICA, Leonhard Stejneger. Government Printing Office.
THE CROCODILIANS, LIZARDS, AND SNAKES OF NORTH AMERICA, Edward Drinker Cope. U. S. National Museum, June 1898
REPTILES OF THE WORLD (with readable histories of their habits) about 300 illustrations, Raymond L. Ditmars. The Sturgis & Walton Co. 

The Birch Bark Roll 






Additional Information:

Peer- Level Topic Links:
Activities ] Archery ] Axe, Boy Scout ] Axe, Saw, Forestry ] Axe, Saw,  Knife ] Axe Use: Beard ] Axe Use: Seton ] Axe Use: Traditional ] Axe Throwing ] Beds, Woodcraft ] Bedding Materials ] Bicycle Maintenance ] Birch-Bark Torch ] Birds ] Bird Houses ] Blocks Tackles Purchase ] Blood Red Cross ] Broom: Camp or Witch's ] Buttons ] Campcraft ] Camp Hygiene ] Camp Planning ] Campfire Programs ] Catapult ] Chainsaws ] Checklists ] Chuck Box Riddance! ] City-Craft ] Compass Bear Song ] Compass, Home-Made ] Cooking ] Cotton Kills Bear Song ] Deduction in Tracking ] Deduction & Detective ] Drum ] Dyes ] Edible Plants ] Equipment, Leader ] Equipment, Personal ] Equipment Maintenance ] Equipment, Lightweight ] Equip, Pickle Bucket Camp ] Estimation ] Field Signals ] Fire-Building ] Fire Building ] Fire Laying ] Fire Lighting ] Fire Starters ] Fire: Rubbing-Stick ] Fire Types, Wood Types ] Fire Council Ring ] Fires: Woodcraft ] First Aid ] First Class Journey ] Flint & Steel ] Flowers ] Forest ] Gesture Signals ] Ground to Air Signals ] Handicraft Stunts ] High Adventure ] Hiking ] Hike Planning ] Indian Sundial Clock ] Insect Collecting ] Insect Preserve ] Indian Well ] Knife & Hatchet ] Knots, Bends, Hitches ] Knots: Diamond Hitch ] Knots: Lashings ] Knots: Rope Work ] Knots: Seton ] Knots: Traditional ] Knots & Whipping ] Lashings ] Lashing Practice Box ] Lace or Thong ] Learn by Doing ] Leave No Trace ] Leave No Trace ] Lights ] Local Knowledge ] Log Ladders, Notched ] Log-Rolling ] Logs: Cut Notch ] Logs Split with Axe ] Loom and Grass Mats ] Lost in the Woods ] Manners ] Maps ] Map & Compass ] Maps: Without Compass ] Measurement ] Measurement Estimation ] Menu Worksheet ] Menu (Adult IOLS) ] Mosquitoes ] Mushrooms ] Night Tracking ] Observation ] Old Trails ] Paints ] Pioneering, Basic ] Pioneering Models ] Plaster Casts ] Preparations ] Proverbs ] Rake ] Rope Care ] Rope Making ] Rope Spinning ] Scout Reports ] Signal & Sign ] Sign Language ] Silent Scout Signals ] Smoke Prints ] [ Snakes ] Spanish Windlass ] Spoons ] Staff/Stave Making ] Stalking Skills ] Stalking & Observation ] Stars ] Stools ] Story Telling ] Stoves & Lanterns ] Summoning Help ] Sun Dial: Scientific ] Survival Kit ] Tarp Poles ] Teepee (4 Pole) ] Tent Care ] Tent Pitching ] Tom-Tom ] Tomahawk Throwing ] Tomahawk Targets ] Totem Making ] Totem Animals ] Totem Poles ] Training in Tracking ] Tracks, Ground, Weather ] Tracking & Trailing ] Trail Following ] Trail Signs & Blazes ] Trail Signs of Direction ] Trail Signs: Traditional ] Trail Signs for Help ] Trees of the NE ] Wall Hangings ] Watch Compass ] Weather Wisdom ] Wild Things ]

Parent- Level Topic Links:
Scuba ] Skills ] Games ] Shelter ] Fire ] Night ] B-P's Camping ] Hikes ] Indian ] Spring ] Summer ] Autumn ] Winter ]

The Inquiry Net Main Topic Links:
 [Outdoor Skills]  [Patrol Method [Old-School]  [Adults [Advancement]  [Ideals]  [Leadership]  [Uniforms]

Search This Site:

Search Amazon.Com:

When you place an order with Amazon.Com using the search box below, a small referral fee is returned to The Inquiry Net to help defer the expense of keeping us online.  Thank you for your consideration!



Amazon Logo



Scout Books Trading Post

Dead Bugs, Blow Guns, Sharp Knives, & Snakes:
What More Could A Boy Want?

Old School Scouting:
What to Do, and How to Do It!

To Email me, replace "(at)" below with "@"

If you have questions about one of my 2,000 pages here, you must send me the "URL" of the page!
This "URL" is sometimes called the "Address" and it is usually found in a little box near the top of your screen.  Most URLs start with the letters "http://"

The Kudu Net is a backup "mirror" of The Inquiry Net.  

2003, 2011 The Inquiry Net,  In addition to any Copyright still held by the original authors, the Scans, Optical Character Recognition, extensive Editing,  and HTML Coding on this Website are the property of the Webmaster.   My work may be used by individuals for non-commercial, non-web-based activities, such as Scouting, research, teaching, and personal use so long as this copyright statement and a URL to my material is included in the text
The purpose of this Website is to provide access  to hard to find, out-of-print documents.  Much of the content has been edited to be of practical use in today's world and is not intended as historical preservation.   I will be happy to provide scans of specific short passages in the original documents for people involved in academic research.  


Last modified: October 15, 2016.