Snakes are very shy animals. They will do all they can to get out of your way. Several kinds of American snakes have hollow fangs, through which they can inject venom into a victim or attacker. The rattlesnake may be the best known of these reptiles. Its tail is equipped with dry horny rattles that sound a warning whenever the snake is alarmed. (BSHB, 141-142) They are uncommon at Ockanickon.

Copperheads live in the eastern woodlands and are a bit more common at Ockanickon. You can recognize it by its copper-brown color with an hourglass pattern with a dark shade. It also has a diamond shaped head. (BSHB, 141-142)

Snakes can often be found sunning themselves on rocks. Please leave them alone! Should you or someone you know be bitten, please report to the Health Lodge as soon as possible. Be prepared to describe the snake and the location in the camp where you were bitten.


Raccoons and skunks usually feed on insects, reptiles, eggs, and small rodents. Unfortunately, the availability of food discarded by thoughtless humans attracts them to places like our camp. Please help to prevent this by properly discarding leftovers and not storing food (candy and snacks) in your campsites. The smell alone will attract these animals to your campsite and an encounter with a skunk or raccoon is rarely a pleasant one. For defense, skunks can spray an attacker with a chemical that stings the eyes and leaves a foul, long-lasting odor. Raccoons will fight violently if cornered and their claws and teeth are sharp. Avoid problems by keeping food out of your campsite.


Ticks are a major concern in the eastern woodlands and there are some precautions you can take to avoid getting Lyme Disease from them. Wear high socks or long pants while in the woods to prevent ticks from contacting your skin. Also, check yourself regularly for ticks. Should you find one attached to your skin go to the Health Lodge to have it removed. If a tick bite results in a bullseye pattern developing on your skin, you should go to your physician as soon as possible.

Other insects to be careful of at camp are bees and wasps. Persons who are allergic to stings from these insects should be especially careful to avoid them. Bee stings that result in swelling or difficulty breathing should be reported to the Health Lodge immediately.

The brown recluse spider is rare at Ockanickon. Their bite is poisonous and it should be reported to the Health Lodge as soon as possible.


If it breaks the skin, the bite of a dog, cat, rat, or any warm-blooded wild animal is not an ordinary wound. The animal may suffer from rabies, a deadly disease carried in its saliva. (BSHB, 140-142)

1) Give first aid (scrub the bite with plenty of soapy water to remove the saliva and cover the wound with a sterile bandage).

2) Go to the Health Lodge.

3) Inform the camp administration of where and when the bite took place as soon as possible.