Coexisting With Wild Snakes

Keeping Snakes Away

Wild snakes often appear living around homeowners/business owners property, and sometimes even enter homes. Let’s go over several reasons why this may be.

Food Source : If you are finding snakes frequently on your property that means they are probably finding a food source. In many cases that food source is rodents. Eliminate rodents and you drastically reduce the likelihood of snakes living on your property.

Habitat : Many yards, especially those in wild areas, are attractive to snakes because they provide a suitable home. Piles of firewood, rocks, mulch, tin, plywood, etc. provide great hiding spots for not only snakes, but the food items they seek. Tall grass and brushy areas should also be eliminated.

Overwintering : Snakes often spend the winter in the foundation of houses. Repair cracks in your foundation and/or porches in the summer when snakes are traveling through their home range.

Note About Repellents: Despite what you’ve heard, there is no “snake repellent”. Do not waste your money on worthless products, and please DO NOT use mothballs or other harsh chemicals on your property. They do not keep snakes away and can pose a health hazard for you and your pets.

 Realistically, there is no way to keep snakes 100% away from your home, but following the advice in this article will reduce the number of snakes living on your property.

Safely Observing Snakes

When snakes are seen on your property it is wise to keep a safe distance unless you can positively identify the species as being non-venomous. Wild snakes often seek open areas to bask in the sun and this is when they become highly visible. In most cases the snake will move on by itself.

Children and Snakes : Teach your children to respect snakes (and all wild animals) and to keep their distance. Show them areas on your property where snakes may be found and teach them to stay away from those areas unless accompanied by an adult. Make sure they know not to stick their hands and feet in rock crevices and under logs.

Pets and Snakes : Unfortunately, dogs often cannot resist snakes and many venomous bites occur. Dogs have a certain degree of resistance to venom, but always seek the attention of your vet should a venomous bite occur. A bite from a non-venomous snake will be a lesson, but it is harmless to your dog. There are many organizations that will train your dog to avoid snakes. Please seek one out. Here are some general tips :

Venomous Snakes : When you have positively identified a venomous snake on your property it is pertinent to STAY AWAY. Most venomous bites occur when someone attempts to handle the snake. This means DO NOT try to move or kill the snake with your bare hands. In most cases, the snake will move on by itself. In some cases you may wish to have the snake removed.


Removing Snakes From Your Property or Home

There are many local organizations and individuals around the country that will come and remove snakes from your property. They do so without killing the snake and will relocate the snake a safe distance away. If you wish to locate someone who will come out to your property, please post in the group and explain your situation. We will do our best to help you.

 If you are comfortable enough to remove non-venomous snakes by yourself, please refer to the following image :

(the snake pictured is a venomous cottonmouth. However, I do not recommend this technique for venomous snake unless you are experienced.)


Note About Relocation : Snakes have defined home ranges and several studies have shown that they do not do well – and most die – if relocated more than 1/2 mile. If you are relocating a snake please find the closest wooded area within 1/4 to 1/2 mile.

Final Thoughts

Snakes are fascinating creatures! Having them living on your property can be a rewarding and educational experience, especially for children.

 Please take the time to learn the snakes native to your area. In most areas of the United States, non-venomous snakes will be much more common than venomous species.

 All creatures deserve to live and have an important role in the ecosystem. Snakes are no exception. Live and let live.

© 2016 Mike Van Valen

Wild Snakes : Education & Discussion

Herpetology Unit


2 thoughts on “Coexisting With Wild Snakes

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