As a pool service technician, I often encounter this problem—the problem being I hate snakes! And for some reason, they often make their way into the swimming pool.
Why Is There a Snake in the Pool?
Snakes are drawn to the cool water during the summer months, or if you have a heated pool, they are drawn to the warm water during the cool season.
Water can also help a snake shed its skin, so it may be trying to soak in your pool to help with molting.
There is no effect on water chemistry if a snake is in the pool. You don't have to "shock" the pool after a snake has been in it. Really, we just want it out of there!
Although I see snakes in pools swimming around, eventually, they end up in the skimmer. If the pool pump is off or not circulating, the snake will free swim until the pump is turned back on, and eventually, it will be pulled into the skimmer. This is where I usually see them... in the skimmer.
Is the snake dead or alive?
Sometimes the snake will live, sometimes it dies because of the long exposure to chlorine and not being able to get out of the skimmer where the pump's suction eventually pulls them. Although snakes do want to get out of the pool, most of the time it's difficult for them to get back out.
How to Remove a Pool Snake
1. Use a Net
If the snake is free-swimming in the pool, a net can be used. If a net is not available, use any type of long stick or even the pool pole—a snake will sometimes cling on so you can lift it out and quickly relocate it.
2. Watch the Skimmer and Wait It Out
If a pole or stick does not work, you will just need to wait until it ends up in the skimmer. Again, remember that the snake at this point probably is frightened and does not want to be in the pool; it just can't get out on its own. The pool return jets are designed to circulate the water—in the deep and at the surface. The water on the surface should be flowing through the skimmer one way, as the skimmer is designed to catch any debris (including snakes!). If the pump is running, eventually the snake will end up in the skimmer.
3. Remove the Skimmer Basket
Once the snake has made its way to the skimmer, all you need to do is remove the skimmer basket. I know the skimmer basket handle is very close to the snake, but you can use a hook on a pole to grab the skimmer basket handle and throw that snake somewhere else! If the skimmer basket is damaged or has large cracks or holes in it, the snake will end up in the pool pump basket.
How to Keep Snakes Out of the Pool
- Use Chemical Barriers. Spread a granular sulfur snake repellant around the perimeter of your pool.
- Use Natural Products. If you want something less toxic, try pouring white vinegar or ammonia around the perimeter of the pool (not in the water). Cinnamon oil and clove oil are also natural snake repellants.
- Use Physical Barriers. Install a screened enclosure around the pool or use a snake-proof fence made of plastic or steel mesh at ground level can keep them out.
- Clean the Yard. Reduce the attraction of your yard by regularly mowing your lawn, trimming your bushes, and reducing weeds, leaves, and other debris that might attract snakes or give them somewhere to hide. Eliminate their hiding places and they won't come around.
- Employ Predators. A dog might deter snakes on your property, as will other natural predators like raccoons, foxes, coyotes, and large birds.
- Invite Company. Snakes will avoid humans, so having friends and family over to hang out by the pool may repel snakes also.
- Reduce Food Sources. Snakes will be attracted to rodents (mice, rats, etc.), so doing something to reduce their food sources will deter them.
- Plant Snake-Repelling Plants. Plant plant-repelling plants like lemongrass, marigold, cinnamon, garlic, onions, wormwood, or Mother in Law’s Tongue or other spiny plants all provide a natural deterrent.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can snakes swim?
All snakes can swim, even the land-loving ones. Some swim with only their heads breaking the surface, while others almost seem to float on the surface of the water. However, all snakes will get tired and need a rest eventually, which is why the pool is not a great place for them.
Do pools attract snakes?
Yes they do. Even non-watersnakes will occasionally take a dip to get cool or soak their skin during molting. Because water is often a host for fish and insects, snakes come looking for food.
Do I need to clean the pool after finding a snake in it?
There's probably no need to shock your pool after finding one snake in it. Just balance the pool's chemicals as you normally do.
Is chlorine okay for snakes?
Chlorine is poisonous to snakes. A snake may be attracted to a chlorinated pool, but it can hurt them.
Do snakes like saltwater pools?
A snake will dip into a saltwater pool, too. They are not affected by salt's chemical makeup. Still, neither the chlorine nor the salt is good for them.
Which snakes are most commonly found in pools?
Whichever snakes are most common in your area are the ones that you are most likely to find in your pool.
Is the snake venomous or not?
Below, you'll find a video to help you identify the snake you find.
Is the Snake Venomous or Not?
The Last Resort
This is the best advice I can give as I have removed lots of snakes from pools. Luckily I have not run into any snake more than 2 to 3 feet long. So if you happen to see an anaconda, python, or cobra in your pool. . . um, well. . . RUN!! Lol. I hope this has helped.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Questions & Answers
Question: My pool has not run since last year. It is full of leaves, frogs and water moccasins. Is there anything I can treat the pool with to run off the snakes?
Answer: Wow! Water Moccasins? If they are in the pool, it's usually difficult for snakes to get out on their own, meaning there is usually a coping or a lip around the edge of the pool making it difficult for them to get out. Although I am no big fan of snakes, I would not kill them. Call a snake removal expert (since they are poisonous) I, personally would try using the net method with a long pole but don't want to suggest that to anyone only because of the danger of a bite from one of these guys. If you drain the pool, they'll still be in there and need to be removed. As far as "treating the pool to run off the snakes" as I mentioned before, difficult for them to get out. Give them an "escape route" Use a log, board, whatever... so they can get out. Add some chlorine to the pool (don't shock it, or it could kill them), but some chlorine is fine. It will irritate them enough to find that escape alternative that you've put into the pool.
© 2013 Rob Hampton
SmartAndFun from Texas on May 18, 2020:
I don't know if snakes would use such a thing, but we got a "Frog Log" poolside critter ramp and haven't had to deal with wild animals stranded (or drowned) in our pool, not once since putting it out. Before getting it, we would regularly find frogs, snakes, turtles, and every now and then a mouse or a bunny in the pool. IIRC it cost about $20 on Amazon. Well worth it in our semi-rural neighborhood.
Rob Hampton (author) from Port Richey, Florida on September 10, 2018:
Ana Maria Orantes, I have to say you've had some very interesting experiences with snakes. A Coca Cola drink? Electrifying one? wow! I need to clarify though that this article is not about killing snakes, but rather safely removing them. Thank you for reading my article.
Ana Maria Orantes from Miami Florida on September 10, 2018:
Good morning Mister Rob Hampton. I had a serious problem with snake. It was like a nightmare. I had deal with very big snake. I probably kill about 20. There was a small lake near my house. Some expert told us. We have to empty the pool. How do I killed them. With everything, I had near my hand. I had a plan. I planned. One time I killed one with a full can of Coca Cola drink. The snake was near the light of the outside pool. I hit the metal. The coke open. And the electricity made a reaction with the drink. The snake had an electricity conection. We had a wood deck. They were under the deck. We had to removed the deck and changed with brick floor. The pool is empty . No more pool. I have four dogs and a cut to keep the house save. I could not sleep at nighthinking about the snake. I used to leave the light on because I was so scare. Believe or not , one night, I saw a purple necklace mark around my neck. And around my feet. In this area it was free to call a number to pick up a snake. Until they started charching 200.00 Dollars. Anyways, it is not easy to kill a snake. Thank you for sharing the experience of how to kill a snake. I checked to see if they were poisonous before I got near. My roommate used to keep the pool clean with chlorine and a water vacuum cleaner. The pool water was clean.
Rob Hampton (author) from Port Richey, Florida on August 11, 2018:
Natalie, I would be moving just as fast! I'm not a big fan of snakes either. I still find myself sticking my hand in leaf filled skimmer baskets without even thinking about it. I've been surprised a few times! Your comment is actually a good reminder to myself that I need to check first LOL. Thanks for reading!
Natalie Frank from Chicago, IL on August 11, 2018:
We had a pool growing up and my father would use the net to skim leaves and my brother would dive in and grab anything that had settled on the bottom to help. One day, he dove in to take out a branch - and yep you guessed it - it was actually a snake. It's a miracle he didn't drown when he went to grab it and it started moving away. I've never seen him move that fast in my life! We had lots of frogs and a turtle or two in the skimmer basket but that was the only snake I remember in the pool. Thanks for an interesting read.
Rob Hampton (author) from Port Richey, Florida on February 26, 2018:
Thank you RTalloni.. that's a great advantage for you. Just grab it and
get it out!
RTalloni on February 26, 2018:
What a super post on removing snakes from pools. A fun read as well as useful. I had no idea this was such a big problem. As I grew up playing with green garden snakes in Florida (before the tremendous growth changed everything about the beautiful state) so I am not afraid of snakes in general. Dealing with them must be difficult for you but I love that they help keep pesky rodent populations down. You've presented this with options for trying to do the best thing for the snake as well as people who want to use the pool–good job!
Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on March 17, 2013:
I have neither pool nor snakes but I liked the read.