Snakes are one of the biggest threats to unaware travelers. One Snake Bite will cause death unless cured, and snakes will lunge out to bite you if you get anywhere near them. Other creatures will be bitten by snakes if they get too close, with Rabbits instantly dying upon being bitten. The snake will usually retreat to an unseen area after attacking anything, except for Rabbits, in which case the snake will simply curl back down on the ground, ready to strike again.
Shooting a snake with a bow or luring it into a trap will not render any items for harvest, and will just waste the arrow/trap. Snakes will however bite any animal nearby as well as you, and after it has bitten it will scurry away. They're are also attracted to heat, so if you hold a torch they will start slithering towards you.