How To Keep Snakes Away: Home Remedies And Prevention Tips
Sidney Richardson7-minute read
June 15, 2021
Few people likely want a yard full of snakes. While many snakes are a harmless part of the ecosystem, some are venomous, and it can be stressful to deal with an abundance or even infestation of these reptiles.
If you’ve got a population of these slithering creatures on your hands and are desperate to remove them, fear not – here are a few tips and tricks to keep them away.
Factors That Attract Snakes To Your Property
If you’ve noticed snakeskins and mysterious holes around your yard, it may have become a home for snakes. Before we get into how to repel snakes, let’s take a look at what factors attract them to your property in the first place.
Cool And Damp Areas
Snakes dislike areas that are too hot or too cold – so while you may find them sunning themselves on a warm day, they also tend to seek out cool and damp areas to retreat to, especially in summer. Snakes love rock and wood piles as well as any other debris you may have lying around the yard. You can frequently find them in tall grass and under bushes, as well as underneath sheds and other outdoor structures.
While every snake’s diet will depend on the species, most snakes eat rodents and other small warm-blooded animals. That said, if you have a rodent problem, that might lead to a snake problem too. If you have a lot of mice or other small pests on your property, removing them and taking preventative measures to assure they don’t return can help ward off snakes.
Tall Grass And Plants
Tall grass and plants make a perfect home for snakes who like using the cover to hide from their predators, like coyotes, raccoons and large birds. If you have an area of your yard that’s a bit overgrown or perhaps your grass is just a bit too tall, snakes could move in.
Snakes can swim when necessary, and some species even like the water – so you might find them in your pond or natural swimming pool. Water also tends to be a home for creatures that snakes like to eat, such as frogs, insects, worms and certain rodents. Some aquatic snakes can even eat fish.
Debris And Compost
Having an open outdoor compost pile is great for the environment – but, as you’ve probably guessed, it also attracts snakes. Compost piles make great food sources for many rodents, and often where there are rodents, there are snakes. The decomposing food and debris serve as a great shelter to snakes as well.
If you keep pet food outside (or even in your garage) it will likely attract mice and other small animals unless it is well sealed and contained. As mentioned before, where there are creatures snakes can eat, there will be snakes. So long as you have a problem with rodents or other small pests, snakes likely will not leave because they have access to a steady food source.
Access To Yard
Snakes can slither into your yard with little trouble, even if you have a fence. Snakes can slip through incredibly small spaces, so if there is even a sliver or crack of space anywhere in your fence (or house, for that matter) snakes will find their way in.
How To Repel Snakes That Are Already On Your Property
Now that you know the main factors that attract snakes to your property, let’s look at a few ways to get rid of them once they’re there.
Consider Snake Repellents
There are plenty of snake repellent products sold in home improvement stores that you could spread around your yard in hopes of driving off snakes. If you’re concerned about a product being safe around curious pets or children, however, there are plenty of safe DIY methods of keeping the snakes away as well.
Snakes are very sensitive to smells and are even repulsed by a few specific scents, including garlic, onion, lime, vinegar and sulfur. Snakes are also said to dislike the smell of mothballs, but you should be aware that scattering mothballs has not proven a very effective snake control tactic.
If you can find a way to spread these smells around your yard, snakes will likely avoid the area – though remember, you will have to smell whatever you’ve decided to spread around, too. Planting onions, garlic, and other “smelly” plants like marigold will help ward off these slithering creatures.
Smoke Them Out
Since their sense of smell is so sensitive, it makes sense that snakes are also not fans of smoke. Regular use of a firepit or other source of smoke in your yard may succeed in warding off snakes that won’t leave your lawn alone.
Set A Trap And Use Their Predators
Snakes actually have a great deal of natural predators, so it can sometimes be possible to ward them off by working with the creatures that eat them. You could install a perch pole in your yard for birds of prey to sit on that overlooks the yard in hopes of attracting an owl, hawk or eagle seeking a meal. If you’re not too grossed out by it, you can also spread the urine of various snake predators like foxes around your yard.
Merely having a pet, such as an outdoor cat, can also ward off snakes. Cats are known to catch and eat smaller snakes and may discourage snakes from making their home on your property.
Eliminate Food Supplies
As we mentioned earlier, one of the main things that attracts snakes to your property is the presence of a steady food source. If you have a rodent problem, the best way to get rid of the snakes is to get rid of the rodents as well. If you keep pet food outdoors, find a way to seal it in an airtight container. If there are holes or cracks in your fences, foundation, or outdoor shed, fill or repair these entry points. Setting traps or utilizing the help of a cat can work too.
Once rodents or other small prey animals stop frequenting your yard, snakes likely will, too.
Removing Snakes From Inside Your House Safely
If you happen to have a snake infestation that’s made it inside your house, remain calm. There are many different species of snakes and most are completely harmless. Try to identify the snake if possible, though you should keep your distance and avoid approaching the snake in case it is venomous.
If the snake is venomous, it could mean big trouble for you, your family and pets, so you should always call your local animal control right away for help removing the snake. If you decide to attempt to remove the snake yourself, remember to always wear gloves and try to keep your distance, just in case.
Removing a snake yourself is not often advised, as the snake could be venomous, but if you absolutely must, attempt to corral the snake out a door using a broom or try to trap it in a box or other container so it can be safely released. Remember that just because a snake is in your home does not mean it has to die – it is always best to attempt to remove and relocate snakes humanely if possible.
The Bottom Line: An Open Space Lawn Keeps Snakes Away
While most snakes are completely harmless and pose little threat to you, your yard or your property, an infestation can be distressing. By eliminating potential sources of food and shelter, you can typically ward off snakes without having to resort to traps or inhumane methods.
If your yard has become a haven for snakes and you’re seeking more information on how to remove factors attracting these creatures, check out our guide to diverting water from your home.
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