How to Get Rid of Snakes
Snakes are common in many parts of the world, and if you have a big yard that’s home to a variety of plants and insects, chances are you encounter them from time to time. The presence of snakes indicates an ecosystem is healthy, but having them in your yard can be unsettling and even dangerous, in the case of venomous snakes. For non-venomous snakes inside of your house, you can generally leave the snake alone and it will find its own way out. If you’d like a more hands-on approach to snake removal, use a push broom to shoo the snake towards an open external door.
EditRemoving Snakes Indoors
- Call animal control if you fear the snake may be venomous. If you’re uncomfortable handling a snake, even if you don’t believe it to be venomous, there’s no reason you should deal with it yourself. Call animal control to trap it and take it away. Snakes with venomous bites should always be handled by professionals, such as animal control employees or a wildlife trapper.
- Try to enclose the snake in one room. If you see it in the laundry room, for example, shut the door and wedge a towel underneath it to prevent the snake from escaping.
- Keep children and pets away from the area until animal control has come to capture the snake.
- Leave the snake alone and let it find a way outside. Most snakes will leave your house on their own if given time and opportunity. If you find a snake in your garage or in a room leading to the outside, shut the inside doors and open the door leading outside so the snake can crawl out.
- The snake should leave fairly quickly. This is a simpler and more reliable method than a more aggressive hands-on approach, which may frighten the snake and cause it to hide in a hard-to-reach location in your home.
- Brush a nonvenomous snake into a large trashcan. If you feel comfortable taking care of the snake on your own, try this common removal method: first, set a large trashcan on its side in the same room as the snake. Then use a push-broom to shoo the snake into the trash can. Once the snake is tin the trash can, tip the can upright and place a lid firmly on top.
- Once the snake is securely inside of the trashcan, take the snake to the woods or another area away from your house. Set the can on its side, gently remove the lid, and give the snake time to slither out.
- Catch the snake with an indoor trap. If you suspect there may be a snake in your attic, garage, basement or elsewhere in your house, lay out traps along the walls in these areas. Snakes will crawl over or into the traps and get stuck. You—or animal control—can then safely remove the trapped snake and place it outside.
- If you catch a nonvenomous snake, place the trap in a bucket and take it outside or to an area where you’d like to release it. Pour vegetable oil over the snake to loosen it from the trap and allow it to crawl away.
- Check the traps every day to see if you’ve caught a snake. If you wait too long, the snake will die of starvation.
EditRemoving Snakes Outdoors
- Let the snake leave on its own. If you’re dealing with a non-venomous snake, the simplest removal method is to let the snake leave your property on its own. Outdoor snakes pose no serious problem and will wander off on their own time. However, if you have children or pets, keep them away from the snake. Even non-venomous snakes can have painful bites.
- If you frequently notice snakes near your house, your concern should be preventative maintenance rather than individual snake removal.
- Spray the snake with water from a hose. If you see a nonvenomous snake hanging out near your house and you’d like it to go somewhere else, sometimes all it needs is a little nudge to be on its way. Use a garden hose to lightly spray the snake until it moves away from your house and out of your yard.
- Garter snakes and other snakes that you know not to be dangerous are fine candidates for this removal method.
- Remove a snake from water with a pool skimmer. If you find a snake in your pool, you can safely lift it out using a pool skimmer or other kind of meshed net. Small, nonvenomous snakes can also be plucked from the patio or grass with a pool skimmer. Try not to grip them too tightly, so you don’t damage their ribs.
- Take the snake to the back of your yard or to a nearby wooded area and set them free.
- Set outdoor snake traps. Outdoor snake traps are usually plastic boxes baited with a substance or aroma that lures snakes inside. Once snakes enter the trap, the shape of the box prevents them from getting out. Set them around your property in areas where you’ve seen snakes spending time.
- When you trap a snake, drive it to a wooded area and set it free.
- Trim backyard vegetation. Snakes’ typical habitats contain tall grass and bushes, so regularly cutting your grass and trimming bushes and shrubs will make your yard less enticing for snakes. Mow your lawn and remove any downed tree trunks, hollow stumps, or other places where snakes could live.Take these measures to make sure your yard isn’t full of potential snake dens:
- Store lumber and woodpiles at least off the ground, and keep compost and mulch piles away from your house.
- Consider removing bushes and other tall vegetation that seems to be a regular habitat for snakes.
- Remove snakes’ food sources. Snakes eat mice, crickets, and other insects. If you take measures to keep the populations of these creatures low, snakes will look elsewhere for food. Use soil and rocks to block up any rodent holes in your backyard. Keep your yard free of birdseed, berries, and nuts that have fallen from trees, and stray bits of waste from the compost pile. These are all food sources for mice and insects.
- Seal your house. Prevent snakes from entering your home by checking its foundation for cracks and holes. Seal any that you find with caulk or expanding foam. Make sure that your doors and windows are sealed, too. Place screens on your chimney, vents, and other places where snakes might be able to get in.
- The grid of the screens should not have openings larger than ¼ inch (0.6 cm), in order to effectively block all snakes.
- Apply snake repellent around your house and yard. Snake repellents are typically sold as either a liquid, which you can spray on the external walls of your house or a powder, which you can sprinkle throughout your yard. These repellents are environmentally friendly and will not harm your pets or lawn.
- Various types of commercial snake repellents should be sold at your local hardware store or garden center. You can also find snake repellents online through major retailers.
- The vast majority of snakes encountered by people in their homes and yards are nonvenomous. They rarely bite, and if they do, the bite won’t inject poison into your body.
- If you find a nonvenomous snake in your yard, consider letting it be. Most snakes are harmless, and they contribute to your yard’s environment by controlling other pest populations, such as crickets and rodents.
- Many gardeners are happy to have a snake or two patrolling the premises and protecting flowers and vegetables from other creatures.
- Never handle a snake unless you are sure it is not dangerous.
- Non-venomous snake bites will bleed far more than venomous snake bites because their saliva contains a substance which stops their blood from clotting and they often bite multiple times.
- If you are bitten by a venomous snake, make sure someone knows what snake it is. This will greatly help your treatment, as doctors will be able to provide the correct anti-venom for the bite.
- Do not leave any animal in a glue trap. Check them frequently to make sure the animal does not suffer. Animals may get their faces stuck in the glue & suffocate, or tear their skin off trying to escape.
- Be aware: in many countries outside of the United States, animal control only handles domestic animals and will not assist you with snakes. You may have to hire a wildlife trapper or pest control and pay for snake removal in these cases.
EditSources and Citations
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