Anyone have the best info on boots to wear while photographing in the Southwest to prevent snake bites?
Luck NZ folks, I heard that there are no dangerous snakes there. Are there any snakes there at all?
There are no snakes in NZ at all. I believe that they don't even allow dead specimens in their science museums.
As for snake boots, wear something that makes a lot of noise, snakes hear you and generally move out of your way. I have walked through quite snake infested areas I found that by making a lot of noise and not moving too fast, one rarely encounters snakes.
I know this as in the late fifties I lived in an area that had zillions of tiger snakes. There was a CSIRO (Govt science dept.) fella walking around trying to capture tiger snakes to milk their venom for the hopeful manufacture of an anti venom drug. My best friend and I knew where the best areas to look and walked with the scientist showing him these areas. We had to walk quietly otherwise the snakes took off, something I found of enormous benefit for the rest of my life.
A footnote to the above excursions:- about two years after the scientist was walking around with us capturing tiger snakes, there was a lengthy article in a national daily detailing the new anti venom being released by the government.
The scientist went on to publicly thank the two enthusiastic youngsters who led him to the best areas where tiger snakes could be found, adding that we also turned out to be great assistants in helping him to milk the snakes of their venom.
As a result, that national paper came to our homes wishing to take our pictures and write a short story. Our mothers had pink fits, when they found out what we had been doing!
Dense material. Either use good heavy leather, or very dense mesh type material in boots. It is hard for the fangs to penetrate. It's also hard for the fangs to go through a layer of denim, then boots. Just remember the snake could strike anywhere from toes to mid thigh. Most would be below the knee. Generally snakes will only be found out and about in the warm part of the day. They are cold blooded, and when the temps drop at night, they find a warm place to hole up for the night. They will come back out in the mid morning when the temps and sun are heating up. They like to sun themselves.
Most times you won't even see a snake.
No snakes in Hawaii either.
Originally Posted by Mick Fagan
Try a pair of good, old fashioned Nacona boots.
I bought my snake boots from Cabelas About a year ago I was attacked by an Eastern Diamondback rattler while at a nearby state park. I had just been talking to my wife on cell phone & commenting on how beautiful it was there and how the cicadas where sounding pleasantly. After hanging up, I picked up camera & tripod holding it out in front of me & took one step to the right when the rattler attacked. He landed just short of my foot, apparently misjudging the distance due to tripod. Instead of cicadas, the rattler had been warning me the whole time I was on the phone. During this time of year I understand they are in ambush mode, and reluctant to move away.
After that experience I ordered a pair of boots from Cabelas, and been wearing them whenever in the wilds. Did run into a water moccasin, but he didn't test the boots. Of course, here in Florida we also have another reptile to worry about, and snake boots won't help ;-(
van Huyck Photo
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When I saw the first two words of Aggie's contributiion immediately after Mike Fagan's post I thought it was in response to what he had written and my reaction to it was "Spot on Girl, they were dense as hell".
Claire (Ms Anne Thrope is in the darkroom)
I've spent a lot of time in California's high desert. I've encountered a few Mojave Greens along the way and lots of the more comon rattle snakes. I suppose it depends upon the time of day and the season of the year but from what I've seen in the fifteen or so years of visiting the Mojave, you'd nearly have to kick a snake for it to even take much notice. They're few and far between too.
All that said, I wear a heavy pair of lumber jack boots. They are eight or nine inches high, made of thick leather, have specially reinforced sole and even have steel toes. This has more to do with other elements of the terrain than with snalkes though (hot, sharp rocks and cactus).
Firefighter boots work well too but generally cost more. If you cna find 'em at the military surplus store near you, US Navy or Airforce Mechanics boots might be suitable.
I just wear my Saint Patrick medalion. It drives all the snakes away.
That is called grain. It is supposed to be there.
I'm pretty happy with my Carolina brand motorcycle boots (you might find a similar style sold as an "engineer" boot). They're top-calf high, heavy leather (with steel toes and oil-proof soles), and no laces to catch junk. The last pair I bought cost about $120, but they last me many years (and can be resoled and reheeled), especially since my bike died. Not the best hiking boots, but they're unbeatable for the price when it comes to snakebite protection.
Hint: buy them as tight as you can get on and off in the store -- they'll loosen up quite a bit as they break in. Then give them a good waterproofing oil treatment, that will greatly accelerate the break-in process. Do NOT use the old trick of wetting the leather and wearing the boots until they dry -- that will damage the leather and cause the shanks and steel toe caps to rust.
I used to get mine at Bent Bike in Lynnwood, Washington, but it's a nationally distributed brand; most motorcycle accessory vendors that aren't tied to the Harley-Davidson brand will either have them, or know who does locally -- or have another brand that's just as good.
Photography has always fascinated me -- as a child, simply for the magic of capturing an image onto glossy paper with a little box, but as an adult because of the unique juxtaposition of science and art -- the physics of optics, the mechanics of the camera, the chemistry of film and developer, alongside the art in seeing, composing, exposing, processing and printing.