As the weather warms up, snakes will begin to emerge from brumation (a state of deep sleep that reptiles and amphibians enter during periods of cold weather). Although it can be scary encountering a snake in your yard or in your home, the majority of them mean you no harm. In fact, most don’t want anything to do with humans at all! Most North American snakes are harmless and, in fact, there are only 5 venomous snakes in the state of Georgia.
The first step in preventing snakes is to figure out what is attracting them to your yard and home in the first place. Snakes will typically come around in search of either food or shelter. By eliminating these attractants, snakes will be less likely to hang around your personal space.
Snakes will often come around in search of a place to hide out from predators or to lie in wait for their own prey. Try to avoid debris and rock piles in your yard. Don’t pile rocks up in your landscaping or let other debris accumulate in your yard. Snakes will also use tall grass to hide in so keep grass mowed short and mow it frequently. Mulch attracts both snakes and their food sources. Try to use less mulch or use another type of ground cover if possible. Store firewood away from your home and elevate it if possible as snakes will hide in the cracks and crevices.
Snakes will primarily come around looking for or chasing food. Snakes are known to feed on rodents, birds, insects, and amphibians so eliminating these pests from your home and yard will also help keep snakes away. Excessive moisture attracts all of these food sources so try to avoid overwatering your lawn and getting rid of any standing water. Pick up fallen fruit as rodents and other pests love to eat them. The same goes for spilled birdseed from birdfeeders. Feed pets indoors if possible and, if not, don’t leave pet food out overnight. Keep trashcans clean and seal them tightly. Keep garages clean and clutter free. Inside, keep kitchens and other food areas clean.
Snakes will use a variety of methods to get into your home, garage, attic, or basement. Routinely inspect the exterior of your home and try to identify any potential entry points. Seal any cracks around your foundations, walkways, and porches. Consider installing fencing made of rigid mesh that is at least 2 feet tall and buried 4″ to 6″ into the ground. You can also attach aluminum flashing to the outside bottom portion of the fencing. Make sure the screens on your doors and windows are tightly sealed and in good repair. Use galvanized screens to cover your vents and drains. Close up cellar doors, broken gutters, pet doors, unsealed basement windows, open crawlspaces, and holes in your roof or siding. Keep tree branches trimmed back away from your home. Use gravel or other uneven ground cover as snakes cannot move or hide as easily on these.
When snakes are spotted around your home your first instinct is usually to either run away or get rid of it. While they can be disturbing, most snakes are actually beneficial to have around – eating other pests and keeping their populations under control. If you have an issue with snakes, contact your local pest control company who can help identify what type of snake you are dealing with and help catch and relocate it safely and humanely.
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As the weather continues to warm up, snakes start to become more active and on the move in search of food. Most homeowners can agree that they fear finding snakes in the yard. But while most of us don’t want snakes hanging out on our property, it’s important to note that these wildlife creatures are beneficial to have around as they can get rid of other pests infesting your property. Instead of eliminating these creatures, every homeowner can take simple preventative measures to encourage them to find a different location to habitat.
Clean the Yard!
Ensuring that your yard is well-kept up is one of the easiest and simple ways to deter snakes from your property. Debris and leaf piles are a huge attractant to rodents which will then attract snakes. The leaf piles are additionally a great place for snakes to hide out in. Make sure you are cleaning up any debris piles, including sticks, brush, and tree limbs from your yard.
Overgrown trees and shrubs provide cover and shelter for snakes. Make sure that you are trimming your overgrown trees and shrubs, so they are not touching the house or garage. Don’t forget to trim the branches off the ground so there is at least 24” to 36” space underneath. This helps eliminate a place for snakes to take cover, but also makes them easier to spot.
Remove Attractant Items!
You might not be aware, but certain items are placed in your yard that could be attracting snakes. While many love to have decorative birdhouses and bird feeders in the yard, they can attract snakes. Some snakes are great climbers and will climb up to feast on the birds feeding on the feeders or living in the birdhouse. Consider placing the birdhouse or feeder on a metal pole or wood post, with the post wrapped in metal sheeting.
A perch pole is a great alternative to help keep snakes away from the property. Owls or hawks are natural predators to snakes and will use the installed perch pole. Make sure that the pole is in an open area in your yard, so the birds can have a good view of the entire area.
Though, sometimes it’s just best to install fencing to help keep snakes out. If you decide to install fencing, make sure that it’s buried a few inches into the ground and should be made up of ¼” or smaller rigid mesh. At the top of the fence, make sure that it bends to keep snakes from climbing over it.
If you’ve tried all the prevention tips you can to deter snakes away from your yard but it’s not working, it might be time to call your local wildlife control company. These professionals can help establish a regularly scheduled service and treatment plan to help with your snake problem.
If you live in an area where snakes are common, chances are you may stumble across one at some point. Snakes, like any other pest, are usually in search of three things: food, water, and shelter. Oftentimes the area around our homes provide all of these things that attract snakes. The likelihood of a snake on your property depends on several factors including location (north vs south), landscape (urban vs rural), a nearby water source (pond, lake, river), how well your lawn is landscaped and maintained, and how readily a food supply is available. When dealing with snakes it is important to identify the type of snake you are dealing with: venomous snakes should be left to a professional to eliminate while non-venomous snakes can often be deterred with natural snake repellent techniques. Here are 4 ways to keep snakes out of your yard:
1. Scare Them Off
One of the easiest ways to scare off a snake from your yard is to use your garden hose. Spray with snake with a steady stream from the hose until he slithers off. Consider installing a perch pole for hawks, owls, and other natural snake predators to alight on. Be sure to place it in an open area so the birds have a good view of your yard and the surrounding area.
2. Repel Them Away
There are some natural products and at home techniques you can use for snake prevention. Ammonia is a common snake repellent. Snakes hate the smell of ammonia and won’t come near it. Soak rags in ammonia and place them in unsealed plastic bags. Leave the bags where you usually see snakes to keep them away. You can also use vinegar to keep snakes and other pests out of your swimming pool. Pour white vinegar around the perimeter of the pool. Snakes can absorb the vinegar through their skin so they will avoid slithering over it once it’s poured on the ground. Snakes also try to avoid humans at all costs. Save hair from your hairbrush and scatter it around the perimeter of your property to help keep snakes away.
3. Don’t Invite Them In
Snakes will come into your yard in search of food, water, and shelter. Eliminating these three basic necessities will make them much less likely to pay you a visit. Mow your grass often and keep it cut short. Shorter grass means more exposure to predators like hawks and coyotes and also makes them much easier for you to spot. Avoid overwatering your lawn as this can attract snake food sources like frogs, worms, and slugs. Keep trees, shrubs, and branches trimmed away from the sides of your house, the roof, and the ground. Try to keep a 24 to 36 inch space cleared under trees and shrubs as this reduces the chance of snakes using them for cover and makes them easier to spot. Move bird feeders away from the house or get rid of them altogether. Birds often leave seed scattered underneath which attracts rodents that, in turn, attract snakes. Keep bird seed and pet food stored in metal cans with tight fitting lids. Make sure your woodpile is kept away from the home and elevated if possible. When designing your landscaping, try not to use mulch or large rocks as these create breeding grounds and overwintering habitats for snakes. Instead, try to use smaller, tight-fitting rock like gravel or river rock. Also try to avoid using water features and Koi ponds as the water can also attract snakes.
4. Lock Them Out
Snakes can be very persistent pests and keeping them out can be difficult. Carefully inspect the outside of your home and seal any cracks or crevices you find on the house, sidewalk, and foundations. Consider installing fencing around your yard, garden, or pool. Fencing should be buried a few inches into the ground and constructed using 1/4″ rigid mesh or solid sheeting. Fencing should also include a bend at the top to prevent snakes from climbing up and over. There are some companies who even make wildlife-specific fencing.
The best way to prevent snakes is to take steps to keep them out in the first place. Dealing with snakes can be dangerous depending on the type of snake you have. If you have a snake problem, contact animal control or a professional wildlife control company who can help safely trap, relocate, or remove the nuisance snake from your home.
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Snakes – scaly, legless creatures that slither into your yard and sometimes even your home. While your first instinct may be to run the other way, there are several benefits to keeping them around. Snakes keep rodent populations under control, with a single snake able to eat 3 to 4 mice at one time. They also eat moles, voles, insects, and even fish.
When Do Snakes Come Out?
Snakes are more commonly encountered when temperatures average between 80 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit; usually during the spring and throughout the summer. They are most active in early morning and late afternoon, as summer temperatures are often too hot for them to be out in during the hottest times of day. Snake activity will pick back up again in late summer and early fall before they go into hibernation or brumation. Brumation is more common in southern states where the climate is warmer and snow is less likely. Snakes don’t actually sleep in brumation but rather their bodies adjust to the lower temperatures, slowing down their metabolism, and making them less active. On warm winter days, brumating snakes will sometimes come out to bask in the sunshine, often surprising unsuspecting people with their presence.
While calling a professional pest control company is a guaranteed and safe way to tackle a snake problem, there are also some home remedies you can try to repel snakes. Home remedies to keep snakes away offer several benefits including:
- Availability: Most home remedies to keep snakes away contain ingredients or methods that are readily available and easy to obtain. The guidelines for their use are also easily found on the internet.
- Affordability: Most home remedies to keep snakes away are significantly cheaper compared to the cost of professional products and services on the market.
- Ease of Use: Most home remedies to keep snakes away are easy to make or implement.
- Safety: Most home remedies to keep snakes away are non-toxic to humans and pets compared to professional products on the market.
Home Remedies to Keep Snakes Away:
Eliminate Food Supplies
Snakes are often found in areas where rodents are present as this is one of their primary food sources. Snakes are also known to eat frogs, birds, moles, voles, insects, and even fish. If you have a problem with any of these animals, consider getting rid of that pest issue first. Once the source of food has been eliminated, snakes will move on in search of another source of food.
Eliminate Hiding Places
Snakes prefer dark, damp places and are known to live and hide in cracks, crevices, and holes. Eliminating these hiding places can help deter snakes from taking up residence on your property. Carefully inspect the exterior of your home and your property and repair any cracks or holes you find. Repair any damaged gutters, piping, and ventilation ducts. Repair or replace any damaged screens on windows and doors. Snakes will also hide in wood piles and compost heaps. If possible, store firewood in sealed, lockable wood boxes. Try to get rid of any piles of wood chip mulch, straw mulch, leaves, etc. that may be collecting on your property.
Change Up Your Landscaping
If your yard or garden is prone to snakes, consider making changes that will deter these pests from coming in. Garden regularly to remove any snake attractants like debris, holes, and overgrowth. Keep the grass cut short to eliminate hiding places for snakes. Consider installing snake-proof fencing made of steel mesh, plastic sheeting, or catch net. If you do install fencing, make sure it is flush with the ground and angled outward and that it is at least 3 feet high and 4 feet deep. You can also use materials that make it difficult for snakes to slither over like holly leaves, pine cones, egg shells, and gravel. You can also consider planting snake repellent plants that provide a natural deterrent. Some common examples include marigolds, lemongrass, and wormwood.
Use Natural Predators
Foxes and raccoons are common predators of snakes. Guinea hens, turkeys, pigs, and cats will also help keep snakes away. If foxes are indigenous to your area, fox urine is a very good natural repellent for snakes when spread around your property.
Smoke Them Out
Snakes have an elevated sense of smell and are ultra-sensitive to odors and fumes. One smell they particularly dislike is smoke. One remedy is to dig a fire pit and let it smoke for several days – covering the embers with moss and leaves can give you the best effect.
Utilize Natural Products
There are several natural products that work well as snake repellents. Some of the more common ones include:
- Napthalene: Napthalene is a common ingredient found in many commercial snake repellent products. It is one of the most common snake repellents. If you don’t want to spend money on a commercial product, napthalene is also the main ingredient found in moth balls. The smell of napthalene irritates snakes without harming them. Place mothballs in holes, cracks, crevices, or any other areas around your property where snakes may be a problem. One caveat to using moth balls is they can be toxic and fatal to children or pets if they are ingested so use caution or avoid using them if you have pets or children in your home.
- Sulfur: Powdered sulfur is a great option to repel snakes. Place powdered sulfur around your home and property and once snakes slither across it, it irritates their skin so they won’t return. Sulfur does give off a strong odor so consider wearing a mask that covers your nose and mouth when applying it.
- Clove & Cinnamon Oil: Clove and cinnamon oil are effective snake repellents. These should be mixed together in a spray bottle and sprayed directly on snakes for maximum effect. Use caution as snakes will often run in the opposite direction of the spray. This mixture can also be used in a diffuser indoors as a fumigant, as well
- Garlic & Onions: The sulfonic acid in garlic and onions (the same chemical that makes us cry when we chop onions) repels snakes. Mix these with rock salt and sprinkle them around your home and yard for effectiveness. You can also infuse garlic into any essential oil and use to fumigate rafters, basements, and other hard to reach places.
- Ammonia: Snakes dislike the odor of ammonia so one option is to spray it around any affected areas. Another option is to soak a rug in ammonia and place it in an unsealed bag near any areas inhabited by snakes to deter them away.
- Vinegar: Vinegar is effective at repelling snakes near bodies of water including swimming pools. Pour white vinegar around the perimeter of any body of water for a natural snake repellent.
- Lime: Create a mixture of snake repellent lime and hot pepper or peppermint and pour it around the perimeter of your home or property. Snakes don’t like the smell of the mixture and the fumes are also itchy on their skin.
If home remedies to keep snakes away aren’t working, consider calling a wildlife control company for snake removal, snake prevention recommendations, and possibly other exterminating services like rodent control that could be contributing to the issue.
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