Repelling Snakes

Snakes can be scary, especially if they are in your home, but removing them is simple with these tips to get the snake out safely.

| November 2018

  • Most species of snakes, like this garter snake, are harmless and beneficial.
    Photo by Kip Ladage
  • Former wildlife rescue and rehabilitation manager Andrea Dawn Lopez takes her knowledge of how to handle situations involving animals and compiles them in this practical handbook on how to deal with wildlife-related problems and concerns.
    Photo courtesy of University of North Texas Press

If you’re having a problem with rodents or insects, one of the best things you can do is allow these snakes to live in your yard.

If this isn’t something you can do, it may be easier than you thought to humanely repel the snakes. If you’re noticing several snakes around your home, it could be that you have a rodent problem or an insect problem. That may be a result of leaving food scraps lying around, or too many nooks and crannies in and around your home that need to be sealed up. If you have a rodent problem you’ll need to fix that first. Otherwise, you’ll have snakes on a regular basis. As long as the food source is there, they’ll keep coming around.

Next, take a look around your home to see what type of environment you might be offering these snakes. They like warm, dark places to hide. If your yard is full of rock piles, wood piles, or trash piles, you may be providing excellent homes for snakes. Tall weeds and low brush may also provide good homes for snakes. The first step to discourage snakes is to clean up all of these piles, taking away their places to hide. Keep any tall weeds or grasses cut low. This will also eliminate hiding places and discourage them from loitering in your yard.

Take a look at the foundation of your home. Loose boards that have rotted and fallen to the side will also provide places for snakes to hide. Be sure to carefully inspect the foundation of your home and seal up any nooks and crannies that could be good homes for snakes.

If you already have snakes living under your home, garage, shed, or porch, you can repel them the same way you would any other   wild animal. Try to place a light in the dark area to make it unpleasant for the snake. You can also toss ammonia-soaked rags back into the area. Sprinkle cayenne pepper or naphthalene flakes in there as well. These smells should make it too uncomfortable for the snake, causing him and others to leave. Don’t dump any of these products directly on the snake because this will just cause agony. There are also commercial snake repellents available. However, there are mixed reports on how effective these really are.

Use these repellents for about a week. Sprinkle baby powder in front of the entrance to the hiding place. This will give you a way to see if the snake is coming and going. If you don’t see any tracks after a few days, the snake is most likely gone. At that point, seal up any holes and replace any loose boards, permanently sealing off the area. While you’re doing this, you may want to put some metal flashing around the foundation of your home, extending it several inches below the ground. This will discourage any tunneling.



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