Banner Health
Making healthcare easier

Poison Safety When Hiking & Camping

When hiking or camping, prepare an emergency plan in advance and always let someone know where you'll be. You'll also want to add the poison and drug information center number to your cell phone, (800) 222-1222.

If a problem happens, use your cell phone to call for help. If you're not within cell phone range, walk until you can find service or go to the nearest emergency facility.


  • A long walking stick can be a good hiking companion. It can be used in an emergency to move a snake out of bite range. Bite range is between 1/4 to 1/2 the snake's body length.
  • Don't handle, touch or play with snakes or Gila monsters. Walk around them if you can.
  • Don't place your hands where you can't see or blindly reach under rocks or logs.
  • Don't wear scents of any kind, perfume, after shave or hair spray, etc.
  • Remain alert for snakes. Be extra cautious when temperatures remain above 82 degrees Fahrenheit in the daytime. South-facing slopes and rocky areas are places where snake encounters are more likely.
  • Step on top of rocks or logs to get a clear view of what's on the other side before stepping down.
  • Watch for bee hives, colonies or swarms when outdoors - leave alone if found. If the bees start going for your head, leave the area immediately and as fast as you can. It is best to consider all wild bees in Arizona as Africanized and aggressive.
  • Wear long pants and lace-up leather shoes or boots that cover the ankles.


  • Be aware that during the hot summer months, rattlesnakes are more active and hunt at night.
  • Check and shake bedding and clothes before use.
  • Close and zip all tent closures at night.
  • Keep a good first aid kit with you. A snake bite kit is not necessary.