How to Prevent and Control Snake Infestations Around Your Home and Garden
As a child, I saw my first tiny green garden snake at a highway rest stop and was fascinated. They were not slimy like worms, and they were pretty with their bright green scales. They scared my mother, so I could not bring them home, plus they belonged to the Division of Highways.
Short of having a St. Patrick impersonator drive the snakes out of your home and garden, however, there are various methods of controlling the snake population around your home and garden, many of which do no harm to the snakes or other animals. This article will detail some of these snake control methods.
How to Control Snake Infestations Around Your Home
Here are a few of the main methods for keeping snakes away from your garden and your home.
Some of my friends that have endured pest snakes recommend Snake Fence.
The device is a plastic net fencing material 1 foot tall that comes in rolls of 10 and 25 feet in length. The holes in the barrier come in six different diameters, from 4–36 inches. This represents the possibility of injuring other animals, however, including birds.
It is possible to purchase thin aluminum flashing or some small-holed netting to place all along your total fencing like a tall baseboard, but you need a fence all the way around your property for this to work. Animals can chew through the netting, however; less so, the metal.
Snake repellents have a good chance of preventing the reptiles from entering your property perimeter, much less your house. Applying it is like spraying your door jambs with ant spray to prevent ants from entering.
Before purchasing any such chemical repellent, check the labels for information about any poisoning agents in the mixture to find out what it is likely to do to the snakes, as well as potentially your small children, your pets, your landscaping, and yourself. Choose the least harmful or a nontoxic variety.
There is also an electronic snake repellent that pulses vibrations that snakes do not enjoy, and you might consider this alternative.
Poisonous Snakes and Animal Control
If you need to ward off poisonous snakes, however, you may feel that you need to destroy them. Or you could call animal control, which might relocate them.
Hiding Places for Snakes
When it's cold, snakes like to go where it's warm, and quickly. So rather than pack off to Florida, they stuff themselves into the cracks in your patio, concrete, wooden steps to the house, basement walls, or house foundation—or in a heated driveway if you have one of those.
There may be similar hiding places in garages, tool sheds, backyard greenhouses, and dog houses. A 1/2-inch wide crack is all many of these animals need, like the mice that can squeeze under the smallest air leak beneath a door. Look for these cracks and openings and seal them off.
- Try making it hard for snakes to hide in the ground and in low-hanging branches. Remove their camouflaging landscaping where you can.
- Trim your shrubbery and trees to make an open space 6 or more inches from the ground to the first branches of the plants. Ground cover plants might still afford some hiding places for garter snakes, but you likely don't want to remove all your ground cover. It's a personal call.
- As much as possible, keep your lawns mowed short. The larger you can make this closely mowed area, the harder it will be for your legless reptile visitors to hide and refuse to leave.
- It would be greatly convenient to have grass that is a different shade of green than that of your snakes as well. A bright green snake against a dark green lawn shows up pretty clearly. Brown snakes are harder to see in dark grasses.
Note: You probably will not be experiencing large tree snakes in your backyard, unless they have escaped from a neighbor's home where they are kept as a pet, legal or illegal. If you do find one of these, it's best to call either the neighbor or animal control to help you and the snake by removing it to a better home.
Other Ideas for Controlling Snakes
- In addition to ridding your lawn, garden, and house of mice, you need to eliminate rats, frogs, and other small animal life that snakes can eat, as well as fruit fallen from trees and bushes. Pools of standing water, including garden ponds, can also house snakes. You may need to eliminate all of these features, depending on how massive your snake infestation becomes.
- If you have a vegetable garden, you might consider placing a fence around it that will keep the snakes out, but which you can step over.
- It is wise to dispose of any debris and piles of trash/leaves or old clothing you have around the yard or garage. Cardboard boxes may also be good hiding places.
- Sometimes, a large inflatable snake will scare off smaller snakes, but not always.
- A cat may also capture and eat snakes, but likely inconsistently.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
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© 2009 Patty Inglish MS