Snakes, the mere mention of the word can ignite terror in any homeowner’s heart. The fearsome reptiles seem to have an uncanny ability to slither their way into homes and go unnoticed for days on end. They can hide in your lawns, vents, and even walls. Some people manage to live their whole lives without an encounter. However, since not everyone can be as lucky, you’ve got to be smart. Here are some steps you can take to keep a snake-free home.
How to Keep Snakes Away
You don’t need to call on professionals to snake-proof your home. Preventing snakes from entering your territory can be easy if you take the right steps. While a few may cost you more than just your time, most of these ways only require hard work on your part. So, without further ado, here are six methods you can employ to keep snakes away from your house.
Method 1: Keep Your Lawn Clean
Lawn maintenance is of utmost importance. Snakes can easily camouflage themselves among tall, uncut grass. Thick shrubbery and unnecessary yard clutter also provide snakes with good hiding spots.
If you want to keep snakes away, make sure to mow your lawn regularly. It’s also a good idea to get rid of any low-growing plants, especially if you live in an area prone to snakes. Trim any excess vegetation and pull out all the weeds. Remove any debris cluttering your yard. Woodpiles should be stored at least 2 feet off the ground. This way, the ambush predators won’t have any place to seek shelter in.
After working all week, you may feel too tired or lazy to spruce up your lawn. However, an afternoon of cleaning may be your first line of defense against snakes and other pests. An unkempt lawn is practically a hotel for the slippery reptiles.
Method 2: Cover Up the Crevices
Have you been putting off covering that gap in your wall? Is there a hole in your roof that’s been there since you moved in? Do you even know if your house’s foundation is fully sealed? When it comes to snakes, crevices are synonymous with hiding spots. Snakes can easily squeeze through even the smallest of holes.
Inspect your foundation to see if there are any breaches. If you find any, make sure to quickly seal them to prevent snakes from entering your house. Ruptured screen doors are also an open invitation for these slithering creatures, so don’t limit your inspection to your house’s foundation. If you have a garage, see to it that there aren’t any holes there, too.
Snakes can also get into your home through pipes and vents. Make sure to install screens over open vents and cover up any openings in your plumbing.
Once the sneaky reptiles find their way into your home, it can be hard to locate and trap them. Prevention is the key to a snake-free house, so do your part to make sure they don’t get inside.
Method 3: Cut Off Their Food Supply
Snakes primarily have one goal in mind: to feed. So, if you don’t want snakes in your home, it’s a good idea to eliminate their food supply by tracing the root source. To snakes, mice and other pests are food. If you’ve got a lot of these pests in your house or around the lawn, then you’re practically hosting a buffet for snakes.
As stated above, maintaining a clean and orderly lawn can drive away insects and rodents. Use repellents or traps for extra efficacy. Compost piles must be kept in closed containers. Your lawn must also be free of any fallen fruits or nuts, which mice love to snack on. If you have bird seeds in your yard, consider removing them. Much like fruits and nuts, these seeds attract all sorts of pests, which, in turn attract snakes.
While lush, green grass can be appealing, watering your lawn or garden too frequently can lure in the wrong crowd. A wet lawn can draw in frogs, slugs, and worms—otherwise known as snake prey.
Method 4: Install Snake-Proof Fencing
While not the cheapest of methods, putting up fencing can seriously reduce the chances of snakes entering your property. There are three general types of snake-proof fencing to choose from: catch net, plastic sheeting, or steel mesh. The type you must ultimately go with depends on the kind of snake that frequents your area and how big they are.
No matter which type of fencing you go with, there are three all-encompassing rules they must follow. First of all, your fence must be buried at least a few inches into the ground. This ensures that the creepy crawlers won’t manage to slide under the fence. Secondly, the holes in your fence must be small, about a quarter-inch, to prevent snakes from passing through. Finally, you must install your fence in an angled manner or include a bend at the top. This way, snakes won’t be able to climb over the fence and into your lawn.
Of course, you may not be able to put up snake-proof fencing all around your yard and home. It may not be practical. If this is the case, consider installing the fence in important or problem areas. Places where children or pets typically play are good starting points.
Method 5: Consider a Pet
While cats and dogs must be protected, there are other kinds of pets that can effectively deter snakes. Ducks, chickens, and geese are good examples of domestic fowl that naturally scare away the slippery creatures. They can even hunt down the snakes on your property.
If you don’t like fowls, pigs have also been known to chase down snakes and eliminate them. Cats are great at hunting and killing rodents, which are common prey for snakes. If you do keep pets, though, remember not to feed them outside to avoid attracting snakes with pet food. However, if you must feed them outside, make sure to clean up immediately afterward.
Of course, when you have pets around, there’s always a chance that snakes may attack them. If you don’t want to risk it, then it’s best to keep your pets away from problem areas as well.
Method 6: Use a Natural Repellent
While many people like to use snake repellents, they won’t successfully drive off the slippery reptiles unless you clean your yard and remove their food source first. There are a number of snake repellents you can purchase in stores and online with varying effectiveness and safety.
However, if you prefer a natural alternative, you can easily accomplish the same results using a mixture of clove oil and cinnamon. Combine the two ingredients in a spray bottle before sprinkling it over your garden, along the foundation of your house, and other problem areas. Do this as often as you can. The rain can wipe the solution away, so make sure you reapply after it rains.
Method 7: Call The Pros
If you have tried many of the above and are still experiencing unwanted snakes calling a professional exterminator is an option. The best exterminators have years of experience and knowledge of the most effective control methods in your area. Check out our exterminator search tool if you would like to get in touch with a trusted professional.
How to Know If You Have Snakes In Your House
Just because you haven’t come across one doesn’t mean you don’t have a snake problem. Snakes like to conceal themselves in nooks and crannies, hiding in dark places to avoid being discovered. It’s possible you haven’t encountered one because they’re good at lurking. Luckily, there are some telltale signs you can watch out for.
First of all, snakes shed their skin. So, if you find one around the house or out in your lawn, don’t assume it’s there by coincidence. There’s a good chance a snake has already found shelter somewhere on your property.
Secondly, if you keep hearing strange noises coming from small and dark places, there’s a chance those might be snakes. Snakes nest in tiny, damp areas with little to no light. They prefer to lay their eggs in these spots. Check the flooring, attic, cellar, and even hollow walls. You may not know it, but you might already have a snake for a roommate!
Finally, if your house suddenly becomes rodent-free, it’s time to get suspicious. Rats and mice don’t just disappear without any action from you. So, if you’ve seen them around before but not anymore, they probably became snake food.
If you experience any of these signs, it’s best to assume that you have a snake problem and take the proper steps to correct it. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Why Snakes Come to Your House
As previously stated, snakes usually enter your property in search of food. The carnivorous creepers can prey on anything from insects, rodents, birds, frogs, and worms. Depending on the size, some larger snakes have also been known to swallow pigs and dogs. This is why getting rid of their food source is a primary step when it comes to snake prevention.
Of course, food isn’t the only thing driving snakes into your home. The slithering beasts may also be on the prowl for a good nesting site. If they find one in your house, they may stay long-term if food is often available. On some occasions, snakes may even glide their way onto your property completely by accident.
The weather also plays a role in all of this. Snakes are cold-blooded animals, so they can’t withstand extreme heat. If the weather is particularly hot, the reptiles tend to seek out shelter where they can stay cool. This includes water pipes and other damp corners.
What to Do When You Encounter a Snake
As you already know by now, snakes can be dangerous. So, if you do encounter one on your property, you should be prepared. Most people panic at the sight of snakes, but this will only cloud your judgment. Stay calm and keep these steps in mind.
1. Keep Loved Ones Away
When faced with one of these reptiles, the first thing you must do is clear the area. Getting close to the snake may provoke it so make sure to keep your loved ones away. This includes friends, family, and any pets you have. Children are naturally inquisitive, so they may have the urge to take a closer look at the snake. It’s important to keep them in a separate and safe room until the situation is resolved.
2. Don’t Attack
Attacking the snake will only make things worse. You must fight your gut reaction to smack the snake away with a broom. Snakes don’t normally attack people unless it’s for self-defense. So, if you start hitting it, it’s definitely going to fight back. Additionally, attacking means the snake will move from its current location, and you’ll lose track of it. The goal here is to keep a safe distance without losing sight of the snake until professional help arrives.
3. Don’t Use Firearms
When you come across a threat, your first reaction may be to reach for the gun. However, using firearms or other weapons can only do harm than good. Firing a gun at the ground can cause the bullet to ricochet and hurt someone else, even you. The sound of the shot may startle the snake, causing it to either flee or attack in self-defense. In the end, no one wins.
4. Use a Water Hose
If you encounter a snake on your lawn or garden, don’t grab a shovel and attempt to bash it in. Instead, use a hose to spray water and scare it away. This option is non-lethal and effective, driving the snake off and barring it from coming any closer.
5. Identify the Snake
There are over 3,000 species of snakes around the world, so it’s important to know what type you’re dealing with. Most household snakes are harmless, but there are some that can inflict painful and even deadly bites. If you live in an area where you know there are snakes, reading up will do you good. Searching “your state or country name” + “snake identification” can help you find and identify the most common snakes.
At this point, you must have already moved away from the snake while still keeping an eye on it. Take note of its appearance—the size, color, pattern, and markings can provide you with enough information to identify the species. Your location may also help. If you are at all uncertain about the level of danger a snake presents contacting professionals is a must.
6. Call a Professional
When you encounter a snake, it’s best to call a professional to take care of the situation. There are many pest control services that can travel to your home with just a phone call. Snakes can be dangerous, so enlisting the help of someone who has more knowledge and experience than you is a good idea.
7. Lay a Snake Trap
Sometimes, snakes get spooked and run away as soon as you encounter them. It can retreat back to its hiding spot, which usually can’t be detected in plain sight. You may have to wait for it to come back out again. In this case, you can catch the snake yourself by setting a trap.
There are several kinds of snake traps you can use. Some are mechanical, while others are made of glue. You can lay these traps in your garage, basement, or wherever you think the snake is hiding. If you intend to use glue traps, don’t place them outside to avoid catching wildlife other than snakes.
Make sure you contact your local wildlife agency before setting snake traps. This is to ensure the traps are legal and the procedure is done safely. Here you can find many types of traps for sale with explanations of how they work.
8. Carefully Remove the Snake
If you feel confident enough to remove the snake from the premises yourself, you must keep a few things in mind. First, put on protective gear and gloves. Then, you can use a pair of snake tongs (have one at home for emergencies like this!) to place the snake in a bag to take out of your house. Of course, this alternative puts you at risk of getting bitten, so consider your options wisely. It’s usually better to call a professional for help.
9. Re-Examine Your House
After encountering a snake and taking care of the situation, see to it that you re-examine your house. Thoroughly check for any gaps or holes along your home’s foundation, in the garage, walls, and doors. Search for the place where the snake could have gained access to your house. Once you find it or any other holes, seal them immediately. Refer back to the methods listed above to ward off potential slithering intruders. Mow your lawn, clear your yard, cut off their food supply, and spray a natural repellent.
Why Snakes Are Dangerous
It doesn’t take a scientist to know that snakes can pose a threat to you and your loved ones. Some classifications of snakes are poisonous, with their venomous bites often being painful and sometimes, lethal. Other than that, snakes can also carry diseases that can be transmitted to the people living in the house. Salmonella and botulism are only two of the diseases you can get from them.
When left unaddressed, the problem of snakes in your home can quickly get out of hand. One snake can easily turn into two, and, before you know it, you’ll have a full-on infestation right under your nose.
As with sickness, prevention is better than a cure. Therefore, it’s important to take the proper steps to keep snakes away from your property before it becomes a problem. While these tips are functional, they aren’t foolproof. If you do encounter a snake, it’s always a good idea to call a professional for assistance.