How to get rid of Snakes

snakes serpentes how to get rid of

Snakes, belonging to the suborder Serpentes, are common in many parts of the world. From really small ones, to big ones, venomous or nonvenomous, snakes are not a joy for anyone that sees them. Although most of them prefer to avoid contact with humans, they can react if they are startled or injured. As most of these reptiles are protected by law, killing them is not recommended. However, in order to get rid of snakes that have made their way through your yard or garden, you can resort to safe adhesive traps or the use of repellents, as neither one of these methods are deadly.

snakes serpentes how to get rid of

Signs of infestation

Except for sightings, other signs of infestations would be seeing their shed skin, left after moulting, finding their nest with eggs, or noticing snake faeces.

Shed skin does not immediately melt, so finding such a thing can mean that a snake might be present in the area. You can also contact a snake expert that can identify the type of snake, by the skin it shed.
When it comes to finding a nest full of eggs, keep in mind that they usually hatch in the fall.  Do not try to remove them without protection, as the mother might be nearby, so you need to act carefully around them.
Identifying snake presence through their faeces is also possible. Their droppings are normally mixed with urine, so they are more liquid, and white in colour, resembling those of birds. They might contain bones, hair, scales, and other indigestible materials leftover from meals. Snake faeces can contain bacteria that causes salmonella, and their faecal matter also has a very unpleasant smell, so be careful when handling it. The abundance and size of the found droppings can help estimate the size of the infestation, and the most likely areas where they can be found are attics and basements.
Winding trails on light dirt or sandy surfaces is also a sign that can alert you of their presence, or you can use a trick and spread flour near areas where snakes might be found, or alongside appliances which give off heat, as they can be very attractive to snakes. Stoves or refrigerators can offer them a warm place to nest. In the yard or garden, snakes can be found near wood piles, rocks, ponds, in long grass areas and shrubs. They also like areas where they can lay in the sun and are protected by vegetation.

Get rid of snakes naturally

Modifying the habitat, you have around your house can be a very effective way of getting rid of snakes. As with any other pest, if they are denied the food and shelter they need, they will relocate and trouble you no more. If you do see these reptiles around your house, it means that you are offering them favourable conditions. In order to make the environment around your house inhospitable for them, you need to:

  • eliminate tall grass and vegetation;
  • trim bushes and shrubs;
  • mow your lawn regularly;
  • remove rock piles, wood piles and other debris (these provide both shelter and harbour smaller pests which snakes eat);
  • cover up any burrows which can attract snakes;
  • install fine mesh fences that can keel snakes out;
  • keep your yard free or birdseeds, as these can attract rodents, which will attract snakes themselves;
  • protect your pets and poultry, as snakes can also eat chicken eggs, or small backyard animals, such as bunnies;
  • when landscaping, use sharp materials, such as pine cones, rock chips, egg shells, rose bush clippings, as it will be uncomfortable for snakes to cross over them.

Most snakes found in yard and gardens are not venomous, so if one finds its way inside your house, you can trap it between a plastic sheet or a piece of plywood and a bucket, and then take it outside, to a distant area. If encountered inside your home, you can also try to sweep it out with a broom, or if the snake managed to enter in your garage or a room leading to the outside, you can shut the inside doors and leave open just the one leading to the yard, so that the snake can peacefully exit. However, make sure to pay attention when confronted with a snake, as you do not want to scare it, and make it become hostile.

Traps for Snakes control:

Glue traps can also be used against snakes. They are boards which contain industrial adhesives, which capture the snakes when they pass over them. These traps are however dangerous if you also have pets around the house, as they can also get caught in the adhesive.

  • catchmaster trap 24grb - 1, small

    24GRB

    Regular Price: €8.91

    €8.02

      Manufacturer:

    • CatchMaster

      Get rid of:

    • Rats,
    • Snakes

      Trap type:

    • Glue
  • eu catchmaster trap 60rb - 5, small

    60RB

    Regular Price: €3.92

    €3.52

      Manufacturer:

    • CatchMaster

      Get rid of:

    • Mice,
    • Rats,
    • Snakes

      Trap type:

    • Glue
  • catchmaster trap 72tc - 1, small

    72TC

    €0.74

      Manufacturer:

    • CatchMaster

      Get rid of:

    • Bats,
    • Cockroaches American,
    • Cockroaches German,
    • 8 more

      Trap type:

    • Glue
  • eu catchmaster trap 72xl - 4, small

    72XL

    €1.94

      Manufacturer:

    • CatchMaster

      Get rid of:

    • Mice,
    • Rats,
    • Snakes

      Trap type:

    • Glue

When it comes to catching snakes, in or outside your house, traps are the best method to use. Outdoor traps are usually boxes made out of plastic, which are baited with a substance that lures snakes inside. These traps that use attractants, normally lure the snakes through powerful scented dots located inside the trap, which use mice odour most of the time as a bait for the snakes. Normally the shape of the box prevents the snake from getting out, but nevertheless be careful when handling such traps, and make sure you completely cover the exit area, until you have reached the place where you want to set the snake free. Traps are better placed along the exterior walls of a building, as snakes usually travel through those areas, keeping close to the walls, or, if you have noticed a particular place where snakes have gathered, place the traps nearby, as that might be the area where they have nests.

Glue traps can also be used, as the immobilise the captured snake; however, these types of traps have been deemed as inhumane, due to the fact that the animals can end up being wounded. Dust and humidity can affect the glue used in the trap, so they can’t be used outside, as they lose their effectiveness. The traps are simple to use, as the snake will come in contact with the adhesive surface and then it will get trapped. You can pour vegetable oil over the snake to loosen it from the glue trap, once you have transported it to the area where you want to release it.

Repellents for Snakes control:

Repellents rely heavily on creating unpleasant sensations strictly for which animals or insect they are addressed to. However, it can be difficult to design a repellent method that drives away only undesirable animals, while having no effect on people or other creatures.

Besides the fact that you should make your yard as inhospitable as possible, there are other repellents that can keep snakes away from your property. There are many types of snake repellents, in liquid, solid or dust form. They can either be natural based, using snake predator urine, or based on chemicals.
Fox and mongoose urine is known to keep snakes at bay, so spraying a repellent made out of this around your property can deter snakes and make sure they are no longer attracted to that area. Using their predator scent as a natural repellent can help with a mild infestation.
As they are full of chemicals, moth balls, due to the naphthalene they contain, will irritate the snakes’ chemical receptors. They also let out fumes, so chose carefully the area where you place them. Make sure children of pets do not reach the moth balls, as they can cause harm if they get ingested. Rags soaked in ammonia can also be used, as they use the same principle of foul smell as the moth balls, and can keep the snakes away.
Sulphur snake repellents are chemical based, but are not as toxic as other chemical ones. They are easy to use, as they normally come in a liquid form and can be easily applied to cracks or other places in buildings where snakes can hide. You can also use sulphur powder and sprinkle it at all the door and window entrances, as its smell will keep snakes away.

However, be careful if you choose to use these chemical based repellents, as they can very easily affect the environment as well. Reptiles will react to a chemical repellent like it is a barrier they cannot pass. Reptiles evaluate the environment using the upper part of the mouth, called the Jacobson organ, which it is an extra sensorial organ. The snakes will retreat quickly because the repellent will temporarily stop the Jacobson organs functions. You just need to place any granular or solid repellent all around the area you want to protect, or spray any liquid repellents around the same area, as this will create a snake barrier.
The use of repellents is far better than the adhesive traps when it comes to big areas, as it is used on the outside to protect larger surfaces. You need to make a perimeter around the area that you want to protect, and should apply a band of repellent between 15 and 20 cm in width. You should leave a 2m area in the perimeter with no repellent applied, in case there are snakes that want to exit the area. After a week close off that area as well, as all the snakes inside the perimeter should have left by now.

In case you have a lake or pond nearby, you can’t apply any chemical substance in the water, but you can apply it around it. If you do not want reptiles to colonise a lake, fountain, pool or other water sources you have nearby, you can place natural repellents around the body of water, in order to keep the snakes from getting in. Keep in mind that using repellent based on ammonia or naphthalene can end up harming the flora and fauna of the lake. If rain comes in contact with them, they can get diluted and can be washed away into the lake, harming fishes and plants located in the lake.

No matter what deterring method you chose to apply, make sure you always keep in mind the importance of prevention. If they do not have an environment that provides them enough food and comfortable shelter, snakes will not choose to live and nest on your property. Make sure to trim bushes, eliminate debris, mow your lawn, eliminate compost heaps and seal any cracks in the building through which snakes could go in. Preventing the development of an infestation is the most effective way in getting rid of potential snake problems. Even if you managed to take care of an infestation, keep in mind the ways in which you can “Prevent infestation with Snakes”, and for more details on how to do this, check advice given in our related article.

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