Get Rid of Snakes in the Yard
A Large Cottonmouth in Florida
What to Do about a Snake in the Yard?
My neighbor in his bare feet stepped out of his house right onto a snake. Fortunately it was a harmless black snake but needless to say, both were pretty startled. Even a non-poisonous snake will bite in such a situation. Luckily my neighbor jumped back and the snake slithered away through the St. Augustine grass.
Some snakes are not so harmless. If you're seeing dangerous snakes in your yard, it's quite disturbing. You worry about one of the children getting bitten or the family pet suffering a bite while they play in the yard, Sometimes snakes even find a small opening and wander into the house. It has happened to me twice.
I've gathered together some of the methods for getting rid of snakes. Hopefully one will fit your situation.
Be Alert, Snakes Can Climb
Many Snakes Are Harmless and Beneficial - Know the Beneficial Snakes and How to Tell the Difference
Snakes eat rodents and other pests, so they help keep your yard free of these. If you know the snake you are seeing is not dangerous to your family, try learning to accept it as part of nature.
Snake on My Front Walk... Oh, No!
I Hope He Isn't Heading for My Yard - I took this photo in Florida
A Cottonmouth in Our Garage - ACK!
Just a week ago, we found a young foot-long cottonmouth in our garage. We keep glue traps along the walls of the garage in case of mice. Instead, we caught a poisonous snake. I sure look around carefully now when I go into the garage. The venom from even a young snake can be serious.
Skip on down to the section on glue traps for information on using those.
Other Evidence of Snakes in Your Yard
Snake Repelling Granules - How Do These Work?
Some contain naphthalene and sulfur which are supposed to deter snakes since they rely on their tongues to sense things around them. The two ingredients are intended to interfere with that and thus the snakes don't want to linger nearby.
Other ones use Geraniol, castor Oil, clove oil, cinnamon oil, and mint oil.
The names to look for are
- Ortho Snake B Gon
- Havahart 6400 Snake Shield Snake Repellent
- Dr. T's Snake Repellent Hose End Spray
- Dr. T's 28 lb. Snake-A-Way Snake Repelling Granules
- Nature's MACE SNAKE Repellent
Liquid Fence HG-80261 Snake Repellent Granules
Ortho Snake B Gon - Repellent Granules
I'll give you a first-hand report soon on this one. A black snake is living somewhere in the bushes around my front walk. Right now, I escort people to their car so they don't get freaked out if he shows up. It's time I took some action to persuade him to move out and find a new hang-out spot.
It's rain-resistant and not odorous enough to bother humans. I like that it has a shaker top, so I don't have to handle the granules, just shake them out around the area that I'm protecting.
Video Showing Spreading Snake Away
A Black Racer Snake in My Yard - He's coming up from a French drain in the side yard.
I was fascinated that it could make its body rigid in this standing pose to look around. Now this is a harmless snake that does good by clearing out insects. I'd leave this one alone, though I would steer clear of it.
If you're phobic about all snakes, then try some of the products I've found and featured here.
Glue Traps to Catch Snakes That Get into the Garage
These come in different sizes. The smallest ones are fine for catching mice or cockroaches, but inadequate for a snake unless it's a baby. Look for the large or giant size. Place them where your pets and children (and you) won't step on them. Usually, a reptile will slither along the wall where it feels more protected, so we place them along the wall of the garage and under shelving or the workbench.
How a Glue Trap Saved Us From a Snake in Our Garage
This is how we found the cottonmouth that got into our garage. It was stuck fast to a glue trap that we had placed along the walls. I shudder to think what might have happened if we hadn't trapped it. There are so many places in the garage where a snake could lurk and then strike at us when we walked past or disturbed it.
You cannot remove the snake from the strong adhesive on the glue board, so this is not a catch and release method. Get a good batch of these and place them in out-of-the-way areas and along the walls. You don't want them where you will accidentally step on it. It's pretty hard to get unstuck from it.
UPDATE: After talking to my local pest control man, he told me that you can use baby oil to remove a snake from glue trap. Someone else suggested a small amount of vegetable oil poured around the snake will allow it to wriggle itself free after a while. This wouldn't be easy, as you need to move the glue trap (with the snake stuck on it) to the location where you want to release it. Then you need to pour or squirt oil onto the glue without endangering yourself. Tricky.
A friend tried this method when a lizard got stuck on their glue trap. She was able to free it and afterwards it showed no ill effects from having been stuck on the glue.
Cottonmouth (small one) on a Glue Trap in Our Garage
Make Your Yard Less Attractive to Snakes
We recently removed some low-growing evergreens from our front yard. A landscaper said they frequently see snakes under these as they are a good place for snakes to find small rodents or frogs and lizards that they like to eat.
In place of the evergreens, we installed more open plantings.
A snake fence, what a great idea. Watch the video to see how it works.
Where Are You Seeing Snakes?
Vote in the poll
When in your yard or patio,
use caution. Sometimes snakes curl up inside a planter or container, so check first before reaching in.
Tiny Snake on the Patio - Ring Neck
Coral Snake or King Snake?
The coral snake is venomous. They have red, yellow, and black stripes. Kingsnakes are harmless and its stripes are in this sequence: red, black, yellow. Here's a little saying that people used to keep it straight:
"Red on black, safe for Jack. Red on yellow can kill a fellow."
I've lived in Florida over 15 years and not seen either of these.
What to Do if You Find an Exotic Snake in Your Yard
This happened to a friend of mine in Maryland. She discovered a ten-foot boa constrictor in her backyard. Since she is a talented writer, you'll enjoy her description of the incident on her blog.
Call the local animal control to come to deal with the snake. Keep your children and small pets in the house until it is removed.
You Don't Expect to See an Exotic Snake in Your Yard in Maryland
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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.
© 2010 Virginia Allain