There’s nothing quite as upsetting as finding snakes on your property. Although these creatures are often very beneficial to the habitat they find themselves in, most everyone has a natural aversion to serpents.
Understandably so, too, as poisonous snakes have slithered their way into popular culture as dangerous beasts that can kill a fully grown human being with a single bite.
However, as with many things we see in movies and on television, the danger from snakes is largely overblown. The benefits they provide often outweigh the downsides of having them around.
That said, it’s often a situation where a snake is in the garden or even in the house. In which case removing the snake is always going to be the best option available to you!
Now, there are several methods to snake removal that you can consider. There are a few that you probably won’t get much mileage out of.
You may be tempted to try killing the snake. But unless it’s definitely a poisonous viper you have no reason to try killing it. In fact even a poisonous snake will prefer to run rather than fight.
It’s an important statistic that most bites occur when people are trying to attack or kill the snake, instead of letting it go it’s own way and then sealing up their house and property behind it.
For this reason that if for no other, it is best to avoid trying to kill snakes by yourself. You dramatically increase your exposure and bite potential when you do so.
Also, leaving your snake viable means that he will continue to hunt around your property, even if you close him out of yours, and catch much nastier pests like mice, rats and other rodents that can cause serious damage.
Table of Contents
- How To Identify a Snake?
- What Are the Common Non-Venomous and Venomous Snakes?
- Getting Rid of Snakes
- Do Mothballs Keep Snakes Away?
- Professional Snake Removal
- Final Thoughts on How To Get Rid Of Snakes
How To Identify a Snake?
Snake experts use a methodical system to identify types of snakes. Many snake experts can tell a snake by visual alone. But for the rest of us, the step-by-step identification process will be useful.
Body Length, Head Shape, Eye Characteristics
The first characteristic to look for is body length. Snakes are divided into three sizes: small, medium, and large. Actual dimensions should be gathered or at least estimated once spotted. The shape of the head can also tell a lot about a snake. Many non-venomous snakes have a triangular and not as broad shaped head. Venomous snakes, on the other hand, have a very broad and skinny neck.
Knowing if the snake has an oval, round or long head will help in identifying the snake type. But it cannot be proof of venom or lack thereof. Non-venomous snakes usually have a rounded snout and round pupils while venomous snakes have pointed snouts and posses, elliptical pupil. Venomous snakes also have heat-sensing pits between the eyes and nose. Rattlesnakes and pit vipers have these heat-sensing organs. Eye color, pupil shape, location on the face, and eye size should all be noted. These three identifiers: body length and width, head shape, and eye characteristics will narrow down the possibilities for species identification
Color is another helpful thing in determining the type of snake you have located. Many snakes have distinctive patterns and noting these patterns, and the colors are essential. Blotches usually refer to patterns with no symmetry. If you notice a diamond pattern, take note of the color and color pattern. Check for specks or spots on the pattern Garter snakes and garden snakes are good examples. There may be a ring or stripe patterns. Also, take note of the color contrasts. Some snakes are one color on the dorsal side and a different color on the belly. Or some may have one solid color. Check for any distinctive markings on the head and neck.
Tail characteristics are another guide to identifying snake species. Tails can end with a rattle just like a rattlesnake, or the tails can be pointed or rounded.
What Are the Common Non-Venomous and Venomous Snakes?
Common non-venomous snakes include:
- Garter snake
- Yellow rat snake
- Black racer
- Gopher snake
Common venomous snakes include:
- Cottonmouth/water moccasin
- Coral snake
Getting Rid of Snakes
There are a wide variety of snake removal applicators, from powders to packets to sprays. Each one guarantees to chase snakes away and keep them away. Unfortunately, experienced experts do not find them very useful at all. The main ingredients in snake repellent are merely poisonous to them, and also to everything else pretty much.
Snakes are smart enough to simply avoid such repellents, but find a way into your property that takes them around them. They may even decide to completely ignore them, as snakes don’t respond to repellents in any way that will make them avoid an area.
You are better off saving your money for tried and true methods, such as glue traps, snake traps or hiring an expert to come out and do the dirty work for you! This is another common misconception that people often hear about from a friend or an in-law, and decide to try out for themselves.
These products don’t provide any real protection against snakes invading your property. And they won’t even chase them out if they’re already living there.
DIY Snake Removal
So that leaves you trying to decide to get rid of your snake problem by trying to do it yourself or leaving it to the professionals to handle.
If you’re a very do it yourself kind of person you will want to invest in some snake traps. Consider glue traps that can safely and humanely trap snakes inside. They don’t leave a snake corpse to clean up.
A dead snake can attract other types of pest creatures that will feed on the carcass. And it’s a more humane option as well. You can buy them in most places where pest control devices and garden supplies are offered, and they aren’t extremely expensive.
It’s important to remember to check them fairly regularly, as the snake can either die and attract other pests or escape when the glue weakens and in either case results in wasted effort and money on your part!
It’s recommended that you try this option if you’re comfortable handling a box containing a live snake, and you have a place in the wild that you can release them into. You may hear people advising you to try mouse traps or other types of spring-loaded traps. Unfortunately, these aren’t usually strong enough to disable or kill a snake, and they don’t hold anything that snakes would want to consider striking for, making them nearly useless.
Snakes only hunt live prey, and that prey doesn’t sit comfortably on the end of a trigger switch waiting to get eaten, unfortunately!
DIY Snake Prevention: How to Keep Snakes Away
If you want to try your hand at DIY snake prevention, consider building snake fences around your property. This is really any kind of fence that won’t allow a snake through, or under it and considered one of the best ways to get rid of snakes.
For best results, you should bury your snake-proof fence a few inches into the dirt. This is to avoid any potential soil shifts that can open up a new entrance.
A few popular materials are solid wood (which also keeps out pretty much everything else) and wire mesh that is fine enough to prevent smaller critters from squeezing through.
If you choose a wire mesh fence, consider tilting it out at an angle so that no creatures can climb up it. Even snakes have the ability to sometimes scale a wire fence since it provides more surface for them to apply themselves to. Tilting it out away from your property or area assures that they can’t make it up and over the barrier. Make sure to check your fence regularly for holes and damage to maintain it’s efficiency.
Another good tip for home remedies to get rid of snakes is to keep your yard neat. No long grass, no piles of logs, leaves and other debris, and no standing water mean that snakes (and other pest animals) have no places to hide, feed or sleep. This makes your property look much nicer, and also prevents pest animals from wanting to move in and set up residence with you!
Keeping your grass cut short is another good tip. It makes your home look neater, and prevents snakes from getting cover from predatory bird species in your yard. This naturally discourages them from living and hunting on your property, as they expose themselves to too much risk.
Do Mothballs Keep Snakes Away?
Mothballs do not repel or get rid of snake species. It’s a myth. It will not work at all, and it’s just a waste of money and time.
Professional Snake Removal
If you want to go the professional route, consider looking up pest control and pest removal experts that specialize in wildlife removal specifically. Calling an exterminator often results in your and their time being wasted, as they mostly handle nuisance insects and arachnids. However, a professional wildlife removal service will often listen to your particular issue and offer suggestions. They usually come out for a service quote or to simply find and remove the snake.
What Will a Professional Do?
So what does a professional do, and why are they worth the fee?
A wildlife removal expert will come to your residence, survey the grounds and look for several things. They have the experience and training to know what signs to look for to confirm snakes (scat, prey remains, etc), the most likely entrances, exits and hiding places on your property, and several ways to help you reduce the attractiveness of your home to snakes.
These experts may be willing to install preventative measures, such as screens over holes in your basement. They can often help you find and plug other holes, such as cracks in the concrete or siding that can allow snakes inside.
What Will a Professional Cost?
You may be wondering how much you can expect to shell out for the services of a professional wildlife re locator and/or trapper.
The answer is that it depends on the severity of your issue, the size of your property and the individual needs your situation requires. That said, most wildlife removal experts will charge you in the neighborhood of 100 to 200 dollars for their services. While additional factors can add other costs, you should expect to spend about this much for a quality wildlife removal job.
Remember to get a final cost before you order any services, as you don’t want a surprise down the road. Also, make sure you understand each factor that went into determining that cost. If they can’t explain your bill to you, you probably need to find a new removal expert!
Reasons to Hire a Professional
There are a few really good reasons to consider hiring an expert to come to handle your snake issue. If you have snakes living on your property, it can be difficult to correctly identify them from a distance without prior experience. Unfortunately, you don’t want to get too close to try to identify them either! While most snakes are harmless to humans, it is still highly advised to avoid approaching snakes as they may still bite you when cornered.
All snakes that have poison choose whether or not to release any of their venom in a bite. In about 50% of bites from poisonous species, they do not even release toxins. The vast majority of snakes aren’t even venomous to humans. But it doesn’t mean that being bitten, either by a non-toxic species or a dry-bite by a poisonous species, is a fun time. Snake bites can easily become infected at the puncture site, and it’s also a very jarring, and frightening experience!
Besides worrying about potential bite wounds from snakes, you want to consider that where snakes live is usually not very friendly to larger species that could prey on them, and that includes humans. Piles of old logs or sticks, rubble, debris or tall grass can hide snake dens. And each place has its own additional dangers for humans. Whether it’s poisonous insects that might dwell there, such as spiders or wasp hives, or rusty jumbles of old trash that could carry a host of diseases, it is in your best interest to avoid them if at all possible.
Hiring a professional assures you that you are not taking on the personal risk of an expedition to go hunting a snake den. You’ll be leaving the work in the skilled and capable hands of a professional who does this every day.
Finally, removal experts can provide you with excellent tips on how to fortify your home and belongings from further snake intrusions, often as part of their original service call. Be sure to ask about whether or not they can suggest specific types or brands of products that effectively seal snakes out, and what they have seen work in the past. There is nothing like experience to teach you how to do something, and these professionals usually have a wealth of really useful information that can help you keep your property secured from wandering serpents.
Video: Professional Snake Capture
Final Thoughts on How To Get Rid Of Snakes
Ultimately, most snakes you see in your garden, lawn or property are passing through. They’re simply trying to find a more comfortable place to settle down. If you only have a single sighting in a week or so, you can safely assume that you don’t have a snake problem.
Generally speaking, snakes prefer to avoid humans, as we are much more dangerous to them than they are to us. They will try to seek shelters and hunting grounds away from us.
However, if you do keep having snake sightings, try some of these suggestions here. Remember to avoid getting too close, or trying to kill the snake yourself. Most times it is going to be a harmless species that provides a net positive effect on your local ecology. So it’s double in your best interest to let them go their separate way!
Hopefully, now you have a little bit more knowledge to approach any snake sightings you have in the future or have recently had.
Snakes are no reason to panic, even though we have a very natural aversion to them. Try to remember that snakes are one of our best partners in keeping the pest rodent population controlled. While they may not be as adorable as a cat, they are very useful and helpful creatures in their own way.
If all else fails, call a professional to come in and take a look, and help you relocate a wayward serpent to a better-suited area for it. Keep these tips in mind and you can avoid wasting your money on bogus repellents, avoid getting bitten on accident, and you also have a really excellent reason for keeping up on your homes’ maintenance! Remember to stay safe. When in doubt, keep your safe distance from any snakes you see!