During one camping trip in the beautiful Barrington Tops National Park, I went into my tent and found I had a guest. It couldn’t have been a frog or even a spider. Just my luck - It was a snake.
I was freaked out and had no idea what to do. Not that I wanted to do anything – I sure as sh*t wasn’t going near that tent until a hazmat team had cleared it.
They never came, so I had no choice than to wait him out. I shook the tent occasionally and then hit legs for 500 Metres as quick as I could.
I waited outside and the thing eventually just slithered away.
When I returned home, I did some research and found that there are over 170 species of snakes known to reside in Australia (on the land and the water), but only a dozen are known to be fatal for humans.
That's a lower percentage than I expected, but still dangerous.
Fortunately, they all want to avoid us as much as we want to avoid them. But sometimes we unintentionally "invite" snakes into our tents.
So here are five easy ways avoid that mistake and to keep your tent and campsite snake free. I wish I knew these before my encounter – but you can all learn from my mistakes.
1. Keep the tent away from snake homes.
Snakes like to hang out under fallen trees, so be sure to set up your tent in a relatively clear area, away from good hiding spots for snakes.
My tent backed on to a vegetated area, which was my first mistake.
2. Check your tent before climbing in.
Snakes also like to hide in the shade under tents.
If you leave your tent up during the day, leave it zipped shut. And check under the tent when coming back to the campsite, to make sure you don't have any new friends hanging out underneath it.
I was using a Coleman tent which has a bit of a lip coming up from the base. I thought that this would make it difficult for critters to get in – evidently I was wrong.
It's a good idea to shake out your sleeping bag before getting in, just in case a snake manage to get inside.
3. Check your tent for holes.
On top of keeping your tent zipped shut as much as possible, it is important to check your tent for any holes that a snake might use to sneak in.
You don't want to leave a "back door" open for snakes or anything else to get in.
If you find that your tent does have a hole or holes in it. This is a good guide for fixing it.
Although, after my experience, I would be more inclined to burn it and buy a new one.
4. Keep snake 'food' out of the campsite.
It's always a good idea to keep food (this includes leftover food scraps) in sealed, air-tight containers to discourage unwanted visitors.
This won’t directly stop snakes coming in to your tent as they aren’t interested in our food.
They are, however, interested in the animals that our food may attract. This includes animals like mice and birds.
5. Spray a chemical repellent around the campsite.
If you have an extreme phobia of snakes (or have just had the sh*t scared out of you by a snake before) there are repellents you can buy. These products contain chemicals that snakes avoid.
You can purchase these from some outdoor & camping stores. Although I haven’t tried these (yet!) from what I can see Liquid Fence is a popular brand. There are however a number of alternatives you can find on ebay.
Goodluck all! Stay Safe!