Based on advice from the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office medical team

Rattlers hide out around rocks or downed logs. Bites are rarely fatal, but usually require medical attention.

1. Keep the victim calm. Or as calm as anyone can be after a fanged serpent snaps them. Keep the bite site below heart level—contain flailing limbs. The bite will swell, so remove rings or other constraining items from the affected area.

2. Apply bandages or cloth strips two inches above and below the bite mark, no tighter than you would wrap a sprain. (This restricts the flow of lymphatic fluid, hopefully containing the venom’s toxins.) Wash the bite site with soap and water, or disinfect. Monitor the victim’s temperature, pulse, breathing, and blood pressure.

3. Seek help. If the victim must hike out, make sure they sit for 20–30 minutes before walking, so the venom can settle at the bite site. 

4. If you can safely kill the snake, bring it with you to show medical personnel. But be careful! A snake can still reflexively bite and release venom after death.

DO NOT ...
Cut into the bitten area; apply cold compresses; give the bite victim pain medication; or try to suck out the venom with your mouth. 

Show Comments

More in Oregon's Best State Parks

0813 camp fire icon i9ka93

OREGON CAMPING

How to Start a Fire in the Rain

The founder of Trackers Earth outdoors camps reveals tips for fool-proof flames when the storm clouds strike.

  • By Gino Cerruti
  • Published 08/01/2013
0813 camping coffee mug kfdj8o

OREGON CAMPING

How to Make Camp Coffee, Two Ways

Instructions for satisfying your caffeine cravings campside, whether you're high-brow glamping or roughing it.

  • By Branden Andersen
  • Published 07/12/2013
0813 camping cocktail trmvu5

OREGON CAMPING

How to Make the Ultimate Camping Cocktail

Tender Bar's Lydia Reissmueller shakes up an ice-free cocktail worth toting along with your camping gear.

  • By Sam Coggeshall
  • Published 07/12/2013
0813 camp fire icon r4mbpt

OREGON CAMPING

How to Make a Mind-Blowing Campfire Dinner

Flying Fish Company's Lyf Gildersleeve shares his secrets for a fantastic fireside feast, no dishes (or cleanup) required.

  • By Sam Coggeshall
  • Published 07/12/2013
0813 tumalo nzelcl

OREGON CAMPING

Oregon's Best State Parks: Lite

Natural beauty with a low degree of difficulty, from pet-friendly yurts to deluxe cabins on the coast.

  • By John Shewey and Ketzel Levine
  • Published 08/01/2013
0813 deschutes river h0t0ei

OREGON CAMPING

Oregon's Best State Parks for Adventurers

Seeking the trail less traveled? Whether you’re chasing adrenalin or a bit of solitude, these spots deliver.

  • By John Shewey and Ketzel Levine
  • Published 08/01/2013
0813 milo mciver amvqlv

OREGON CAMPING

Oregon's Best State Parks for Day Trippers

Five lightning-fast outdoor getaways for afternoon escapes, from disc golf to waterfall trail hikes.

  • By Ketzel Levine
  • Published 08/01/2013
0813 goose lake gmj3so

OREGON CAMPING

Oregon's Best State Parks for Families

Nothing bonds the brood like a night (or a weekend) in the great outdoors. (Some “are we there yet?” required.)

  • By John Shewey and Ketzel Levine
  • Published 08/01/2013
0813 outdoor gear guide aoujea

OREGON CAMPING

Gear Up!

The best Portland stuff for your next camping adventure.

  • By Marty Patail
  • Published 08/01/2013