Snakes are one of the spookiest creatures in the wild, always keeping an eye out for unsuspecting prey. While we can’t say for sure that any snakes are lurking in your kayak, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared!
This post is all about how to keep these sly creatures at bay and make sure they don’t slither their way into your boats. We also have a few tips on what to do if you end up with a snake on board.
Snakes are stealthy predators that can sense the presence of a nearby animal within seconds. If the chance comes up, snakes will pursue an easy meal over other less appealing options. Snakes are known to use bright colors of their prey to track them down, so if you have any bright red, orange, or yellow colors on board, you could be making your kayak more attractive to them.
It’s not just the color of your boat that snakes are attracted to, though. Snakes are also drawn towards any small prey hiding in the boat that it can consume quickly. Small fish, frogs, especially birds! You can get anything from a seagull to a squirrel on board. It doesn’t take much for snakes to take notice.
You could also have something like a hydration pack or water bottle that has been left out on deck. It may not sound like much, but tiny creatures can easily get into it.
When the boat is upside down, and the hatch is opened, snakes can climb up into the boat and wait for unsuspecting prey to pass by. Once they’ve managed to get inside, they’ll take up positions in different areas of the boat to ambush their next meal.
The Best Way to Keep Snakes Away from Your Kayak
There are a few ways you can think about keeping snakes out of your kayak.
Use good common sense when boating.
If you see something that looks like it could be a snake, don’t touch it! You may think that you’re just cautious, but once the creature realizes you’re there, it will lash out at you in defence.
The same goes for your kayak. If you know that it’s in the vicinity of a snake, do not startle it. Part of keeping snakes out of your kayak is knowing their behaviour, so you can avoid it when the time comes.
Don’t leave food items outside your boat.
Snakes are attracted to food, that is what any snake hunter will tell you. As long as the food is outside the boat, they won’t have a chance to get inside, but once it gets inside their den, no one will be safe!
That includes any bait you may be using. If you’re fishing with dead bait like worms or minnows, bring it in and store it somewhere safe.
Keep food and other items on deck in a dry bag.
As we mentioned before, snakes can smell food when it’s in dried form. That means any bait you use needs to be kept in a dry bag that is sealed. If you place the bait inside the kayak after filling it with water, keep it away from anything that could be a potential meal for snakes (like your head). There are also dry bags made specifically for holding food while boating. You can get these in most outdoor stores.
Place your kayak in a shady area.
Snakes tend to avoid the hot sun and the bright lights that come from a boat. Instead, they like to hide away from it all, so it’s often best to keep them away by putting them where there is some shade, preferably with a little bit of water nearby.
Keep items inside your vehicle till you’re ready to leave them in your boat.
We’ve all done this, but we also all know that you shouldn’t. If you plan on leaving your kayak out overnight, keep anything that could attract a snake inside your vehicle until the next day.
Keep anything that could make noise out of your kayak when it’s not in use.
Snakes are attracted to vibration and will come towards any abnormal sounds in the area. If you know you won’t be using your kayak for a while, like in the fall or winter, keep anything that could keep noise away from it. That means no speakers, radios, or anything else.
How to Get Rid of Snakes in Your Kayak
So what do you do if a snake has already managed to get inside your kayak? Here are some steps to take when your encounter with a snake doesn’t go as planned.
Keeping your boat upright is the first thing to do.
It might sound like this would be a given, but you’d be surprised at how many people don’t do this. If you have your kayak upside down, it can make it almost impossible for you to leave the boat without getting bitten. That means if a snake is inside, you need to straighten it out before trying to get out.
Do not try to handle the snake yourself!
Even if you’ve never been bitten before, it’s always a possibility. If you’re sure what snake type it is, ask someone for advice.
And if you are bitten, get to an emergency room as soon as possible and prepare for the worst.
Try to frighten the snake out of your boat.
It might sound like an odd thing to do, but the last thing you want is an angry snake stuck in your boat. That means if you see a venomous snake near your kayak, scream and wave your arms around. We’re not saying it’s going to work, but it doesn’t hurt to try.
Find a chum bag or other container and fill it with water.
If you have a container to keep your food in, this is the time to use it. Even if you never plan on finishing the bag of food inside your kayak, fill it up with water because that’s what snakes love. Then throw the container out (and don’t forget to remove all the bait).
If you don’t have a chum bag, throw the snake over the side of your boat.
It sounds drastic, and it can be, but do they need to die? Although getting rid of a snake might seem like a big ordeal, it’s better than letting it loose in your kayak while you’re still inside. If you have something to use as bait and a container to put it in, tip them overboard!
Last resort: Kill the snake.
It is the element that makes all the difference. You might be tempted to kill it with your hand but, remember that snakes can still bite without opening their mouths. Since you’re in a boat, it might be best to use something else to do the job for you. A good idea is to remove your helmet and whip it to kill the snake. But if you have a bow and arrow or other weapons, you’re good to go!
Tips for River Kayaking Safety
Stay on course when paddling upriver.
There is a temptation to paddle upriver in a straight line, but this makes it easier for a snake to slither up and bite you. It’s always better to move around the river so that the snake cannot move in the direction of your boat.
Stop if you hear something moving along the river bottom.
It is best to stop paddling and wait for a few minutes before resuming. Once you get the hang of river kayaking, snakes don’t seem as scary, but it’s better to avoid them in the first place.
Don’t let the sunset while in a river.
On sunny days, snakes come out to bask in the sun. During this time, they are more likely to be seen by humans.
Don’t paddle during monsoon season.
Snakes are most active and dangerous during this time of year. It is also the worst time to go on a lake trip because of the stormy weather. These storms can quickly turn into a hazardous situation if one isn’t careful.
It would be best if you properly outfitted your kayak.
Before you enter the water, you should make sure your boat is up to par. Ensure that all paddles are working properly, and that all kayaking gear and safety equipment are in good working order. Having the proper equipment can mean the difference between life and death.
Do not underestimate the power of this animal.
Even if you’re a confident kayaker, you should always have someone on the ground check your boat if you don’t know the snake’s species. If you find yourself in a dangerous situation, keep calm and don’t panic. Another tip is never to paddle alone.
Always bring a snake bite kit with you.
If the situation is out of control during an emergency, you can use the kit to save your life. Some kayaking companies also provide these kits; in case they fall into a dangerous situation while on the water. They often provide other safety kits in emergencies such as shark attacks and gator bites.
If you see a snake, leave the water.
If you see a snake on the bank or in the water, head back to shore. It will help to avoid any dangerous situations that might occur. Do not panic; instead, try to keep your wits about you.
If a snake attacks your boat, do not be afraid to fend them off with your paddle.
Suppose one of these creatures attacks you while in the kayak; you should try and hit them with a paddle. You can also use it as a barrier until help arrives.
Practice makes perfect.
It’s important in every field when dealing with danger. As long as you practice, you will become an expert on how to stay safe while kayaking. In the end, it’s all about prevention and knowing what to do if something unexpected ever happens.
Make sure your kayak is safe from snakes. You can buy a snake guard for the front of your boat to prevent hoodoos from entering the cockpit. If you’re in an area with dangerous snakes, you’ll need to spend time navigating around them. If you encounter a snake, make sure the boat is dry and don’t turn over. Another way to guard against snakes is to put a small flag or brightly colored tape on your rail or cockpit so that rescuers know where the boat is if they find you floating in the water.
Damage is still possible even when your kayak is properly protected. If you have a snake in your boat, be sure to get the snake out as quickly as possible. The best way to do this is by pulling the boat upright and removing any obstacles that may be in the way. If snakes invade your cockpit, you can injure yourself if you fall in trying to get away from it. Spots, where snakes have entered are usually dangerous to paddle in, and you may damage your boat if you don’t find a way to remove the snake quickly. If you know how to handle snake on your boat, you can enjoy kayaking, sculling and rowing or any water activities without any fear as you are confident that you know what to do when this situation come along.