The Snake Safety Quiz


By: Ryan Choate

7 Min Quiz

Image: Pixabay

About This Quiz

People like to spend time outdoors, whether it be hiking, camping or just lounging around in the backyard. If you have spent time outside, you know there is a good chance that you have had an encounter with a snake. Not all snakes are harmful, so you shouldn't sound the alarm bells if you see one, but there are some dangerous snakes and one should learn how to identify and deal with venomous snakes should you encounter one.  

There are over 2,900 different types of snake species known, and more are being discovered by scientists all the time. About 75% of species are non-venomous and pose no real threat to humans. On the other hand, the snakes that are venomous can be quite dangerous should you happen to be the unlucky victim of a bite. Many of the deadliest snakes in the world make their home in Australia, India and Asia. Here in the United States, the majority of venomous snakes are rattlesnakes. While rattlesnakes are cold-blooded reptiles, they live in all climates of the lower 48 states. 

Snakes in general are docile in nature and would prefer to be left alone when encountered. Most snake bite victims happen upon them by accident while crossing logs, reaching into dark, rocky areas or even stepping on a camouflaged snake in the grass. Luckily for bite victims, quick response to a bite with treatment at a hospital has greatly reduced the fatalities by snakes. Take the quiz and learn how you can be safe while out in snake country!

You are on a hike, you encounter a coiled rattlesnake but its tail is not rattling. What is your best action in this scenario?

Even if you don't hear the warning rattle from a rattlesnake, you shouldn't assume it is safe. A coiled snake does not always mean it's going to strike. Snakes are individuals with different reactions. You should always assume a rattlesnake is dangerous and avoid it by walking safely around or going back slowly the way you came.


Which of these will help you avoid a potentially dangerous situation with a snake while out hiking?

It's always best to stay on the trail and away from bushy, rocky areas where snakes might be relaxing. If you need to cross a log, it's best to stand on top of the log, look for any sign of a snake, and listen for the rattle warning that sometimes announces the presence of a rattlesnake.


What is the most common disease spread from your pet snake to humans?

Most pet snakes are not of the venomous variety, but they can still spread disease, the most common being salmonella. This can be spread by failing to wash hands after handling a pet snake.


What should you do if you see a snake out in the woods?

You should never assume a snake is not dangerous or venomous unless you are 100% sure. Even then, it's always best to not get too close to a snake and just leave it alone. There is no reason to try and agitate a snake or kill it.


Which of these snakes is commonly found as a pet?

The python is a popular pet snake for its docile nature and aesthetic color. While it may be a bit more challenging come feeding time, as they usually feed on mice and rats, this non-venomous snake can be quite easygoing, making for a nice pet.


What should you do if you are bitten by a snake that you believe is not venomous?

If you can positively identify the nonvenomous species of snake that bit you, there is no need to call 911 or go to a hospital. Just clean the wound and bandage it, monitoring for possible infection.


What should you do if you suspect your pet has been bitten by a venomous snake?

Just as with humans, pets should be seen by veterinary services to determine proper treatment. You can keep your pet calm and look for any signs of a bite, dead tissue, swelling in a possible bite area, but seeking professional veterinary service is your first priority.


Which of these symptoms might you experience after a venomous snake bite?

There are several physical symptoms you may experience after a snake bite. These include: throbbing and pain at the bite site, blurred vision, numbness in your limbs and face, and even nausea and vomiting.


Which of these preventative measures around your house will help keep snakes from shacking up in your yard?

The best way to prevent snakes from hanging around your yard is to remove anything that may be used as a preferred shelter for a snake. This may include rock piles, wood and log piles, openings around ground level of your house, large grass piles and dark, damp access to any outbuildings.


Which of these might alert you that a snake is living around your house?

A sign that you may have a snake around your yard or house would be finding the shed skin of a snake. This does not always mean you have a snake living in your backyard, snakes often move around in search of food and maintain a territory of several acres or more.


What should you do if you find a snake in your backyard swimming pool?

While you may be able to scoop it out of your pool with a variety of tools, you are then left with the task of relocating the snake away from your house. The safest way to do this is using a professional hands-free snake trap. For those that are a bit more reluctant to handle the slithery creatures, you could always call a professional.


You are bitten by a rattlesnake while on a hike and you're out of cellphone service. What do you do?

If bitten by a rattlesnake and you have no cell service, splint the limb if possible and make your way to your car or cell service. It is extremely important to administer antivenom as soon as possible to limit tissue damage or worse. Antivenom does not repair damage already done, but it can prevent further damage from occurring.


Which of these should you do to help keep your dog safe from snakes while out hiking?

Making sure your dog stays on the trail is a good idea in snake country, but the safest way to prevent a snake bite to your dog is to use a leash to keep your pup close and safe.


Which of these should you not do if you have been bitten by a venomous snake?

If you happen to have one of those old-school snake bite kits that instruct you to make an incision with a blade and use the provided suction cap to suck out the poison, you may want to upgrade to a splint, cellphone and call for help. It is not recommended by doctors to make any incisions that can increase the chance of infection. Call for help and get to a hospital to receive the antivenom treatment.


Venomous snakes can control the amount of venom injected into prey. When they bite prey and don't inject venom, it is called what?

According to statistics, only in about half of venomous snake bites does the snake actually inject venom into its prey or victim. If a snake deems it necessary to bite in defense, it can control the amount of venom injected - sometimes injecting no venom at all. This is called a dry bite.


After a snake bite and arrival at a hospital, how long might you need to be monitored after receiving antivenom treatment?

After a venomous snake bite, a person will need to spend at least 24 hours in a hospital under supervision. Your blood pressure should be monitored closely, and if a large amount of blood loss has occurred a blood transfusion may be required.


When are rattlesnakes most active?

Snakes are cold-blooded reptiles and need to warm themselves to gain energy. On the flip side, they don't like to overheat in the hot midday sun. Most activity usually takes place in the morning, evening and night.


What is the very first thing you should do if bitten by a rattlesnake?

In the case of a rattlesnake bite, antivenom needs to be administered as soon as possible. Calling 911 should be the first thing you do.


What color pattern indicates the deadly coral snake?

The venomous coral snake, with its brightly colored pattern, often is mistaken for more harmless snakes with a similar pattern - most notably the king snake. The pattern denotes that when red touches yellow, this indicates a coral snake. A common rhyme used to distinguish the two can be: red touches yellow, kill a fellow.


What should you do if you are bitten by what you think is a rattlesnake but you aren't sure what kind it is?

While there are different types of rattlesnakes found here in the United States, all the rattlesnake antivenom is the same regardless of the type of rattler that bites you. On top of that, it's illegal to kill rattlesnakes in some states. Leave it alone and get to the hospital!


Which of these venomous snakes can be found living in the ocean?

Many of the known venomous snakes in the world live in the ocean - more than 60 known so far - and all are highly venomous. While all snakes are able to swim, these 60 live exclusively in the ocean with only about 5 coming ashore to lay their eggs. Sea snakes dive to the ocean floor to find food around coral reefs. Sea snakes can remain submerged for many hours at a time.


How does a constrictor snake kill its prey?

A constrictor has long been thought to squeeze the air from its prey, causing it to suffocate. Scientists have actually found that the cause of death is from the constriction of blood flow from the heart, causing organs to shut down.


Which of these physical features on a snake can be used to identify if it's venomous or not?

Some venomous snakes have a distinguished color pattern, but this is not a reliable way to tell the difference between a venomous snake and non-venomous. A sure way to tell - if you can see without getting too close - is an elliptical shape to the pupil like a cat.


How many vials of antivenom on average does it take to treat a rattlesnake bite victim?

On average, a rattlesnake bite victim can be treated with 16-20 vials of antivenom over a 24-hour period through intravenous therapy. Each vial can cost around $600 to $800 each! That is one expensive snake.


Which of these snakes, with venom powerful enough to kill an Asian elephant, should be handled with extreme caution?

The venom of the King Cobra is so powerful it can be fatal to a 12,000-pound Asian elephant. Making its home in India, Southern China and Southeast Asia, the King Cobra is one of the deadliest snakes in the world.


How many human fatalities occur per year in the United States due to venomous snake bites?

There are somewhere between 7,000 and 8,000 reported snake bites by venomous snakes in the United States. Fortunately only about 5-10 of those are fatal. With effective antivenom treatment and a quick response to seek medical help after a bite, most people will survive a venomous snake bite.


Which U.S. state allows the sale of venomous snakes at reptile shows?

People from all across the U.S. with a penchant for venomous snakes flock to South Carolina for the purchase of these deadly serpents. The Palmetto state has virtually no laws against owning a venomous snake as a pet. Several other states allow it with special permits.


How far can the spitting cobra launch its venom toward prey?

Within about 6-8 feet, the spitting cobra can hit its prey in the eyes with 90 percent accuracy. They prey soon becomes blinded, allowing the spitting cobra to escape in what amounts to a very effective defense mechanism.


Which of these snake species gives live birth to baby snakes?

All rattlesnakes are considered "ovoviviparous," which means females develop eggs inside their body for incubation. The eggs hatch inside the female snake and the baby snakes are fully active upon emergence or birth.


Which of these countries are safe to hike around in because snakes are not found there?

While there are many islands in the world that contain snakes, Ireland has no fossil record of the reptile in the country. The ice age may have proved too chilly for the cold-blooded reptiles, and with retreating glacials forming the island of Ireland, snakes made their way further south.


Which type of snake is known to squeeze rather than bite?

Constrictor snakes are classified as those that squeeze their prey until death. While not as nightmarish as a venomous pit viper with giant fangs, constrictors such as the python and boa can be just as deadly.


Which of the types of toxins are commonly found in snake venom?

There are several different types of toxins found in snake venom including mytotoxins which break down muscles, and cytotoxins which cause swelling and tissue damage to the area of the bite. The most common type is neurotoxin, which attacks the nervous system causing paralysis and other damage to the system.


Which species of venomous snake is responsible for the most fatalities per year around the world?

While not the most venomous snake around, the saw scaled viper is responsible for the highest percentage of fatal bites in the world. This can be attributed to its habitat being close to densely populated regions of India and the Middle East.


How quickly can a bite from a black mamba kill a human?

The venomous neurotoxin from a black mamba works quickly to paralyze the victim. For an unlucky human, this can result in an agonizing death in 30 minutes or less.


With around 2,900 different species of snakes, about how many of those are venomous?

Approximately 25% of snakes are known to be venomous, or about 600 species. Australia can hold the title of most venomous snake species at over 120. The down under country also has the dubious distinction of being home to 21 of the 25 most deadly snakes in the world. Don't forget to check your boots before putting them on, mate!


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