As the weather cools off and fall peeks around the corner, many people are taking advantage of the milder weather and spending more time outside. Unfortunately, many pests and wildlife, including snakes, are also enjoying the milder weather, preparing for the impending winter. Although most snakes encountered in Georgia are nonvenomous, there are a few species of venomous snakes to keep an eye out for. These include the copperhead, the timber rattlesnake, the cottonmouth, the eastern diamondback rattlesnake, the eastern coral snake, and the pigmy rattlesnake.
When spending time outdoors, keep an eye out for snakes in backyards, parks, and areas near the woods. They also like to frequent areas that border streams, lakes, swamps, and ponds. Snake season begins in the spring, usually March to April. Snake season doesn’t end until late fall or even winter, depending on weather patterns and where you’re located. Snakes in the southern states will stay active much longer than up north where the cold sets in sooner.
If you run into a snake, keep these tips in mind:
- Familiarize yourself with the venomous snake species common in your area and how to recognize them.
- Try to identify the snake without getting too close to it.
- Give the snake space.
- If spending time outdoors, wear closed-toed shoes and long pants.
- Remove any brush, log piles and other attractants for rodents from around your home.
- Seal up any cracks, gaps, and holes that snakes can use to get into.
- Remember that non-venomous snakes are protected by law in Georgia.
Because snake season hasn’t quite ended yet, it’s still important to take precautions when spending time outdoors. It’s best to leave snake removal to the professionals, especially if you aren’t sure what type of snake you’re dealing with. If you have a problem with snakes or any other pests, contact your local pest control company for proper identification and safe elimination of the offending creature.
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Although many people don’t welcome the sight of a snake in their yard, they are actually quite beneficial to have around. Snakes eat mice, grubs, slugs, and other insects around your home and are also a source of food for birds of prey like hawks. While most species of snakes are non-venomous, there are a few types of snakes that are venomous in our area. For this reason, you should never handle a snake unless you are 100% sure you know what species it is. Most snakes will bite when harassed whether they are venomous or not.
There are many natural snake repellent methods out there today with one of the most common being mothballs. But are they really effective? According to experts at the Blue Ridge Poison Center the answer is a resounding NO. Mothballs are made of either naphthalene or paradicholorbenzene. Both of these chemicals are hazardous to both humans and animals if exposed to or ingested. The chemical makeup of each of these substances allow them to turn into gas when they are exposed to the air – resulting in the strong smell we usually associate with mothballs. These fumes can cause dizziness and irritation to the eyes and the lungs. If ingested, mothballs can cause a condition called hemolytic anemia which is very dangerous. Mothballs also resemble candy to young children, making them more likely to pick them up and handle or eat them.
So if mothballs aren’t the answer, how can you get rid of snakes? Here are a few snake prevention tips you can use safely around your home.
- Make your home and yard less attractive to snakes who are looking for food and shelter.
- Remove any food sources such as rodents or other pests.
- Keep pet food sealed in containers.
- Don’t leave pet food out overnight.
- Clean up spilled pet food and birdseed from the ground.
- Don’t overwater your lawn as this can attract worms, frogs, and slugs – another food source for snakes.
- Have your home inspected for rodents and other pests and maintain routine pest control treatments.
- Seal any entries into your crawlspace or basement that are larger than 1/4″.
- Make sure doorsweeps and window screens fit tightly.
- Cover vents and drains that come into the house.
- Keep grass mowed – tall grass and weeds provide more coverage for snakes from predators.
- Clean up any debris snakes can hide under (scarp metal, wood piles, trash, logs, etc.).
- Check the roof for overhanging vegetation – snakes are good climbers and can access your home from the roof.
If you have a problem with snakes or other wildlife, contact your local pest control company who can help identify pest attractants, points of entry, and provide you with safe and humane snake removal services.
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As the weather heats up, snakes will be on the move, emerging from hibernation in search of food. Snake season peaks in the summertime, making your chances of an encounter with these reptiles increase. Here are 7 common snakes you may encounter this summer, along with snake prevention tips to help you avoid these pests while outdoors.
Eastern King Snakes
Eastern kingsnakes are large snakes, usually 3-4 feet long, shiny black in color with white or yellow bands. They have a short, blunt snout, rectangular looking head, and small beady eyes. They’re usually found in protected areas such as woods, overgrown vegetation, cluttered areas, etc. and most active during summer months in the morning hours. If you encounter a kingsnake, use caution; they are non-venomous but strong constrictors and may bite if handled. Keep eastern kingsnakes away from your home by limiting their food sources – other snakes, lizards, rodents, and birds, removing clutter and debris, storing wood away from your home’s exterior, use a snake repellent product, or contact a pest control company specializing in snake control.
Rat snakes are large, 3-6+ feet long, and black and yellow with stripes, or gray with darker patches. You can expect to find them in wooded areas, overgrown vegetation, swamps, abandoned or vacant buildings. Though they’re non-venomous, they may bite if handled or threatened and will climb for food. Prevent rat snakes around your home by reducing potential food sources – rats, mice, squirrels, birds, and bird eggs – using a snake repellent product, or professional snake control by a pest or wildlife removal company.
Garter snakes are small, usually 1/5-4 feet long, with three yellow stripes running vertically down a dark colored body. They’re active during day or night hours and often found in suburban areas under debris or boards – anywhere that provides cover for them – and around water, grassy areas, woods, and marshes. Garter snakes are common throughout the Southeast and most of the U.S. Like other non-venomous snakes, they pose no real threat unless bothered. Keep garter snakes away from you home by limiting preferred food sources – worms, slugs, frogs, toads, salamanders, fish and tadpoles – removing items that can be used as cover (wood, debris, etc.), and using a snake repellent product.
Black Racer Snakes
Black racers are large snakes, 5 feet long or larger, with slender black bodies and sometimes a white chin. Juvenile black racers are grayish in color with darker blotches. Black racers are common through the eastern U.S. and most often seen near forest edges, fields, or wetland outskirts during the day in warmer months. They’re non-venomous and usually timid, fleeing when threatened. To keep them away from your home, reduce food sources – insects, lizards, snakes, birds, rodents, and amphibians – and apply snake repellent products.
Brown snakes are small, 6-13 inches long, and usually brown but may be yellowish, reddish, or grayish-brown with darker spots on the back. You’ll find them in residential areas, wooded areas, near wetlands, and in urban areas under wood, leaves, and debris, or any other area with adequate ground cover. Brown snakes are the most common snake found in urban areas. They’re most active during evening or night hours, occasionally seen crossing roads. Brown snakes are non-venomous and pose no serious threat although may bite if threatened. While they’re not dangerous, you may not want to find one hiding out around your home. Prevent this by removing clutter and debris from your yard and consider using a product that brown snakes find repellent.
Copperheads are large snakes, usually 2-4 feet long, with a heavy body and a triangular shaped head. They are tan to brown in color with hourglass shaped darker bands running across the body; juvenile copperheads have a distinct yellow tail tip. You may encounter a copperhead snake in suburban areas or in semi-protected areas like woods or swamps. They’re common throughout central and eastern U.S. with the exception of some areas in south Georgia and all of Florida. Copperheads are venomous and dangerous and may bite if threatened. Use caution when outside in the summer, especially at night. Deter copperhead snakes from hanging out around your house by reducing potential food sources – mice, small birds, lizards, small snakes, amphibians and insects. If you see a copperhead, contact a wildlife control company to safely remove it.
Cottonmouth Snakes (Water Moccasins)
Cottonmouths, also called water moccasins, are large snakes – 2-4 feet in length – with a very heavy body and a distinctly triangular head. Their color varies from solid brown or brown or yellow with dark crossbands with a white mouse (inside); juveniles have a yellow tail tip. When threatened, cottonmouths display with the head in the middle of their coiled body and mouth wide open. As the name “water moccasin” suggests, cottonmouth snakes prefer to inhabit freshwater, swamps, river floodplains, and heavily vegetated wetlands. While they’re most common throughout coastal regions, cottonmouths are prevalent across the southeast U.S. They are active day and night but more likely to be seen when foraging for food at night in warmer months. Avoid cottonmouths if you come in contact with one, they are venomous and may bite if threatened. Use caution around fresh water habitats in the summer.
- Clean Up Your Yard. This includes leaf litter, fallen logs, piles of bricks, rocks, or any other hiding spots. Keep grass mowed short and shrubs, hedges, and trees trimmed back. Discard mulch and clippings away from your property. Elevate firewood and store it away from your home.
- Inspect Your House. Snakes can get inside your home through holes in the exterior. Thoroughly inspect the outside of your house, especially under roofs, in skirting, under the house, in garages, etc. Repair or block any openings you find.
- Eliminate Food Sources. Snakes feed on frogs, rodents, and insects. Keeping these pests away from your home will also help keep snakes away. Clean up spilled birdseed from under feeders. Seal outdoor trashcans and feed your pets indoors if possible. Seal pet food and birdseed in plastic or metal containers with tight lids.
- Dry It Out. Moisture attracts frogs, rodents and insects that snakes love to feed on. Drying out this excess moisture on your property will make it less attractive to snakes. Get rid of standing water. Fix leaky pipes and spigots. Set sprinklers on timers to avoid overwatering. Consider enclosing your crawlspace and installing gutter guards.
- Use The Professionals. Establishing routine pest control can help prevent pest problems before they become an infestation. Contact your local pest control company for a free analysis and a scheduled service plan.
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It’s true – many wildlife creatures invade and infest homes during the colder months of the year. However, there are still plenty of pests that are active and looking for a place to inhabit. Knowing which types are prevalent this season and how to prevent them can help you protect your home and family.
As coldblooded animals, snakes get their energy from the sun. Because of this, snakes are more active during the warmer months as they require more energy to mate. You’ll typically see snakes out in the early morning and late evenings to avoid the high heat of midday. When they aren’t out, snakes like to hide out in cool, dark places such as underneath rocks and decks. You could also find them hiding out in your basement if they’ve gained access.
To keep nuisance pests from infesting your property it’s important to keep your lawn neat and clean. Clean up any yard clutter, such as piles of leaves and wood. Keep your grass mowed to eliminate coverage and trim bushes and hedges regularly. Always check your garage, garage doors, windows, and exterior doors for gaps and seal any openings.
During the spring and summer, opossum females care for their young, meaning they are more active in searching for food to nourish them with. These animals are nocturnal and search for food at night. During the day, possums will hide in trees where they will stay until the evening. While they eat unwanted pests such as snails, cockroaches, spiders, and rats, they also eat garbage, fruit, grass, and roadkill.
To prevent opossums, keeping food from being left out outside your house is crucial. Make sure you bring in pet food and water from outside. Pick up any fruit that might have fallen from trees, including tossing out the rotten ones. It’s equally important to keep your garage doors, pet doors, or unscreened windows closed during the night.
Rats are active year-round, but the warmer weather provides them with more sources of food. These rodents can reproduce very quickly and controlling them can become difficult once they’ve infested. Rats will typically make burrows before wintertime, building these under buildings, concrete slabs, around lakes and ponds, and even near the garbage. These wildlife creatures can be a risk to humans as they can contaminate food, chew wires causing fire hazards, and their urine and feces can cause health concerns.
Taking necessary precautions before you start seeing rats is the key to preventing them. Check around the exterior of your home and seal up any cracks, crevices, and holes found in the foundation or siding. Remove clutter throughout your garages and storage areas, along with using plastic storage instead of cardboard. Keep your kitchen clean from any crumbs and spills and take your trash out regularly.
If you’ve taken the necessary steps to prevent these common wildlife but are still seeing them, it might be time to call your local pest control company. They’ll be able to assess the wildlife issue and provide you with the best wildlife control and wildlife exclusion options.
Snake season in Georgia starts in spring and runs through late fall. As the temperatures start to warm up, snake activity in our area will increase. As snakes emerge from hibernation, they will go in search of one thing: FOOD! This quest will often lead them into our backyards, gardens, and even local parks. With snake season just around the corner, now is the time to take action. Here are some snake prevention tips to help you prepare for snake season.
Clean Up Your Yard
Snakes will use anything they can find for cover. Take the time now to clean up leaf litter, fallen logs, piles of bricks and rocks or anything else snakes can use as a hiding spot. If you can’t remove them, try to elevate them off the ground. Keep your lawn and any other surrounding areas with grass mowed short. Snakes will use tall grass as cover. Low hanging growth from trees, shrubs, hedges, etc. provide natural places for snakes to climb and hide. Keep them trimmed back from your home and off the ground. Discard any mulch or grass clippings away from your property as snakes will burrow into these for a sheltered hiding space.
Inspect Your Home
Snakes will use holes in the exterior of your home to gain access inside. Carefully inspect the outside of your house for holes, making sure to check under roofs, under the house, in skirting, on garages, etc. Repair or block any openings that you find.
Snakes will often go after hatchlings and bird eggs. If you have chickens, ducks or any other birds, make sure their pens or aviaries are kept tidy and in good repair.
Eliminate Food Sources
Snakes will feed on rodents, frogs, and other insects. Keeping these pests away from your home will help keep snakes away, as well. Clean up spilled or uneaten birdseed from underneath feeders; keep outdoor trashcans sealed with tight lids; feed your pets indoors when possible; if you must feed outdoors, feed once or twice per day and bring food and water bowls indoors in between feedings; seal pet food and bird seed in plastic or metal containers with tight lids.
Moisture also attracts rodents, frogs, and other insects that snakes feed on. Eliminating moisture will help make your property less attractive to snakes. Eliminate any areas of standing water; fix leaky pipes and spigots; try to avoid overwatering your lawn; consider enclosing your crawlspace.
Get Routine Pest Control
Establishing a routine pest control service helps prevent nuisance pest problems before they get out of hand. By keeping these pest populations under control, you decrease the risk of snakes by eliminating potential food sources.
Most snakes that are encountered are non-venomous; there are some venomous snakes in our area that you should be careful to avoid, however. If you must be outdoors during snake season, wear long pants, long sleeves, gloves, and closed toed shoes. If you go outside at night, take a flashlight, lantern, or torch. If you do encounter a snake, don’t go near it and don’t try to kill it. Stay calm, keep your pets and children away, and allow the snake to move away on its own. Back away slowly. If you choose to, contact your local wildlife control company who can come and properly identify the snake and safely relocate or eliminate it.
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