Get Rid of Those Snakes!

Whether you are enjoying your yard or are in your home, it can be shocking coming face-to-face with a scaly, unexpected house guest. Snakes aren’t your typical house pest. They are harmless when they aren’t infesting your home or hiding away on your property. Most species will leave us alone – but they can be temperamental if approached.

Though snakes are good for the ecosystem and keeping rodent populations low, these slithering reptiles can be quite destructive and even deadly. Before you attempt to “charm” your visitor away from your home, which is not recommended unless you are a professional, here is some information about common snakes and nine tips on how to deal with them.

How to Get Rid of Snakes in Yard & House (9 Tips)- snakes hide in warm places

Common Snakes in PA

There are over 3,000 species of snakes around the world, but there are a few prominent types that tend to live in northeastern Pennsylvania. While these species can be spotted in other areas, the kind you find will likely depend on your surroundings. If you are near a body of water, the forest, or in a dryer area, the type of snake you may encounter will be different. While it is possible to be bitten by snakes, it should be noted that snakes are not poisonous – they are venomous. This means they can only transfer venom through a bite. To get a better idea of what you may be dealing with, here are the most common reptiles:

  • Garter: Often called the garden snake. Their most notable feature comes in yellow lines on their bodies. These snakes are mildly venomous, but it is not harmful to humans. They tend to live in grasslands and can be gray, red, black, or brown.
  • Copperhead: Semi-aquatic, venomous snakes. They live in marshes, wetlands, or similar areas. They are typically copper-colored, with reddish-brown bodies. If bitten, you will need an anti-venom.
  • Rattle Snakes: Known for their rattling tale. These venomous snakes have interlocking scales and will rattle their tail to you as a warning. They are generally light brown with dark brown spots.
  • Water Snake: Non-venomous snakes with aggressive behavior. Their typical habitat is near water. They can grow to about five feet long and have a rounder head than other snake species.

While most snakes would rather stay away from humans altogether, if they do encounter us, they will likely be on the defensive. If you do have a snake problem or often find snakes in your yard, approach the situation with caution. Snake bites are avoidable if you do not engage. The last thing you want is a nasty bite from a venomous visitor. If you want to avoid an encounter, here are nine things you could do to keep snakes away.

1. Keep Grass Trim and Clean

Snakes seek warm, moist areas with a food source. They also look for areas abundant in rodents. These reptiles like places to hide, and an overgrown yard is just the perfect place. An excellent way to discourage snakes populations is by keeping your grass cut. Additionally, if you routinely trim your lawn, you won’t run into any unexpected dangers while doing so.

2. Contain your Overgrowth and Care for your Yard

In addition to hiding in tall grass, snakes will hide in yard debris. Tall grasses and shrubs are two ideal hiding spots for these reptiles. They also tend to hide away in storage sheds, piles of wood, or in fallen branches and limbs. Proceed with caution when removing and clearing your property to avoid any snake bites.

3. Know Where They Hide

A key way to catch a snake on your property is knowing where they hide. Snakes will often cozy up near heat or water sources. These reptiles are often fond of small places, like boxes, and can be found near or behind appliances. Other species like to find high and out-of-reach areas, so be wary of any ledges. If you know where to find them, you can be ready for them.

How to Get Rid of Snakes in Yard & House (9 Tips)- they hide in high grass

4. Eliminate Moisture

Snakes are on the lookout for a water source. They love cool, damp environments. Water is a draw to many different pests. To keep them all away, get rid of any excess water you may have on your property. Take care of puddles, blocked rain gutters, or any leaking pipes you may have.

5. Use Mulch

Snakes aren’t a fan of sharp materials. Mulch around your house is an excellent way to keep them away from your home and out of your yard. Use rick chips, crushed up pine cones, or any thick, chopped wood.

6. Destroy the Food Source

Much like with the water source, an easy way to keep snakes away is by limiting their food source. Snakes feed on rats, mice, and other critters. If they have a smorgasbord, they aren’t going to leave anytime soon. A snake or two can help you keep rodents away, but when they become a nuisance, they must be dealt with.

7. Seal Any Possible Entryways

If the goal is to keep snakes out, limit their possible access points. Check your home for cracks and crevices. Watch your drains, vents, and routinely check crawl spaces. Seal up any entryways with caulk, expandable foam, or weather stripping. With any openings that cannot be closed, cover them with a fitted screen. Close up the holes so neither reptile, rodent, nor insect can sneak inside.

8. Try Repellents

If snakes are a reoccurring problem, there are non-toxic repellents you can spray that are safe for use near children and pets. You can also use oil scents like cinnamon, clove, oil, and eugenol. These can help keep snakes away. Additionally, you can plant marigolds, garlic, or lemongrass. Snakes are deterred by these smells. These can also help keep mosquitos away as a bonus!

9. Consider Exclusion

If you do find a snake in your home, it probably doesn’t want to be there any more than you do. Since they are essential to the ecosystem and don’t mean us any harm – consider calling a professional service to remove the snake. Most are looking to either hibernate or hideaway. They are not a very common pest and will likely leave you alone. However, since there are over 3000 species, it’s difficult to tell whether the snake you have is venomous. Rather than risk the safety of you or your family, if you find a snake on your property and you cannot deter it, consider calling a professional.

How to Get Rid of Snakes in Yard & House (9 Tips)- snakes won't hurt you unless provoked

Dealing with a Snake Problem

Snakes are rarely an issue. Most want to be left alone and are only looking for a place to live. If you want to get rid of snakes from your yard and protect your family, consider some of these tips and keep snakes out. Be vigilant and monitor the perimeter of your property, keep it clean, and try repellents. If you should find a snake, contact a professional to have it removed for your safety. Be cautious and stay safe.

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