Snakes will seek shelter by instinct wherever they find it, and a nice warm house is an ideal option. Keeping snakes away from your home is not as difficult a task as you may think. Take a survey of your land and your home itself, pay attention to a few key factors and eliminate your snake issues naturally.
Remove all items from around your house, which can serve as a hiding place or living space for snakes. Woodpiles, large rocks or rock piles, trash, old appliances, building materials, even abandoned cars, disused tools, grass or brush cuttings can provide enough cover for snakes to work their way closer to your home. Do a thorough cleanup of the yard on all sides of the home, and cut back any bushes, shrubs, tall grasses, weeds or plants. Keep your grass cut to a height at which snakes are visible and unable to hide. Snakes may use the cover provided by your plants to get closer to your house and eventually make their way in when the opportunity arises.
Eliminate the food supply, and you will eliminate the risk of snakes staying on your property instead of just passing through. Snakes eat small rodents and reptiles. If you ensure that these animals are not inhabiting the areas around your house, the snakes will be forced to move elsewhere to find another suitable food source. The elimination of snake prey does not always equate to the immediate elimination of snakes. Snakes can go long periods without food and may not be affected by the lack of prey animals for some time.
Inspect the perimeter of your home for cracks, holes and entry points of any kind. Burrows and tunnels dug by other animals ranging from rats to moles can be used by snakes as shelter and to gain access to your house from below. Snakes do not dig their own tunnels but will use anything they can find, including cracks in the foundation, open pipes, unsealed windows or loose-fitting siding to get in. Simply seal up the gaps, and you can prevent a snake from ever entering the home.
Some domestic animals are natural deterrents to snakes. Fowl, like chickens, ducks and geese, hunt and eliminate small snakes if they stray into the area. Dogs may or may not hunt snakes, pigs are known to seek out and kill them and cats will hunt pretty much anything they come upon. Keeping domestic pets outside for extended periods can also be an issue as they tend to attract rodents. Snakes also have natural nondomestic enemies like skunks, weasels, roadrunners and hawks whose presence on or near your property can be supported so that you might benefit from the results.
If you do find a snake on your property or in your home, there is no more natural method of prevention than a trap and release into the wild. Simple traps can be fashioned of a large wooden box with one open end and a cloth flap to cover it. Locate the snake or its den, and close all means of entrance and exit but one. Place the trap directly in front of this opening. Check the trap at the end of the day to see if you have caught anything; if so, take the snake to a wooded area a safe distance from your home and release it. If you trap or locate a venomous snake, do not approach or attempt to move it. Contact the local wildlife authorities to have it removed safely.
- Pet Snakes: How to Keep Snakes Away from Your Home
- America's Wetland: Keeping Snakes in Their Place
- Star Tribune: Home & Garden; Fixit: Clean Up Outside to Keep Snakes Away; Karen Youso; 2008
- University of Florida: Removing Snakes from Dwellings; Chapter 4
- Commonwealth of Pennsylvania: Snakes in Basements & Buildings; Shiels & Bryan
- Wildlife Damage Control: Snake Control