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Get Rid of Snakes in the Yard

Updated on June 11, 2018
Virginia Allain profile image

Virginia has years of experience with gardening and wild pests in New Hampshire and other locales.

A Large Cottonmouth in Florida

This one caught my eye. He was crossing the street and really stood out. Once it was on the mulch, it was harder to see this poisonous snake. Read more about dealing with a snake in your yard.
This one caught my eye. He was crossing the street and really stood out. Once it was on the mulch, it was harder to see this poisonous snake. Read more about dealing with a snake in your yard. | Source

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

I was dismayed to spot this snake in the bushes by my front walk. Recognizing it as a black racer, I calmed down. They are non-poisonous. I've heard that it's beneficial to have one of these as they will defend their territory from other snakes.
I was dismayed to spot this snake in the bushes by my front walk. Recognizing it as a black racer, I calmed down. They are non-poisonous. I've heard that it's beneficial to have one of these as they will defend their territory from other snakes. | Source

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!

Source

Two Recommended Videos for Telling if a Snake is Poisonous

I Hope He Isn't Heading for My Yard - I took this photo in Florida

Source

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

While gardening, you might find a shed like this. The snake wiggles out of its old skin and leaves it behind.  It's possible that the critter was just passing through, but it means you should be alert in case it likes your yard and is still around.
While gardening, you might find a shed like this. The snake wiggles out of its old skin and leaves it behind. It's possible that the critter was just passing through, but it means you should be alert in case it likes your yard and is still around. | Source

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

Ortho Snake B Gon Snake Repellent Granules, 2-Pound (Not Sold in AK)
Ortho Snake B Gon Snake Repellent Granules, 2-Pound (Not Sold in AK)

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.

black racer snake in Florida
black racer snake in Florida | Source

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.


If you spot one of these in your landscaping, back carefully and quietly away. Don't start whacking at it with a stick which will provoke it to attack you.
If you spot one of these in your landscaping, back carefully and quietly away. Don't start whacking at it with a stick which will provoke it to attack you. | Source

Glue Traps to Catch Snakes That Get into the Garage

Catchmaster 24GRB Giant Glueboards (3 Boards)
Catchmaster 24GRB Giant Glueboards (3 Boards)

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.

 

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 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.

Cottonmouth (small one) on a Glue Trap in Our Garage

Once a snake is stuck on the glue tray, you can use a shovel to scoop up the glue board/tray and the attached snake and dispose of it.
Once a snake is stuck on the glue tray, you can use a shovel to scoop up the glue board/tray and the attached snake and dispose of it. | Source

More Tips for Keeping Snakes out of Your Yard - Make Your Yard Less Attractive to Snakes

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources offers suggestions on how to remove unwanted snakes from yards and buildings. Learn what they suggest:Removing unwanted snakes: Minnesota DNR


A snake fence, what a great idea. Watch the video to see how it works.

Where Are You Seeing Snakes?

Vote in the poll

See results

Tiny Snake on the Patio

This is a ring neck snake and it's slimmer than a pencil. I looked it up and found that although it is poisonous, its mouth is too small to bite a human. I scooped it into a plastic container and covered it to keep it contained.
This is a ring neck snake and it's slimmer than a pencil. I looked it up and found that although it is poisonous, its mouth is too small to bite a human. I scooped it into a plastic container and covered it to keep it contained. | Source
Then I took it for a short ride in our golf cart to a grassy area away from our home. I released it into the grass.
Then I took it for a short ride in our golf cart to a grassy area away from our home. I released it into the grass. | Source

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

Source

Visitors to This Page Come from All Over

(counter added May 28, 2012)
(counter added May 28, 2012) | Source

© 2010 Virginia Allain

Do Snakes Frighten You? - Now You Know Some Ways to Make Them Go Away

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    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 

      3 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Even with all the rain recently, we haven't seen snakes in the yard yet, though we've found a couple of snake skins. With the flooding in the south and plains states, many people are having encounters of the slithery kind. Glad you got that cottonmouth. Gives me shivers just to look at the picture!

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 

      4 years ago

      We have fairly large snakes on our property but they're non-poisonous and I invite them in. They eat the mice and rodents. We just steer clear when we see the big ones or pick up the small ones and move them where we'd prefer they be.

    • Virginia Allain profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Allain 

      5 years ago from Central Florida

      @bizgrrl: I agree that it is not kind to let the snake die slowly on the glue trap from hunger and thirst. On the other hand, it did catch a cottonmouth in our garage. The risk of our being bitten by the poisonous snake was quite high as we unsuspecting walked about in our garage working at the workbench or getting in and out of our car.

    • bizgrrl profile image

      bizgrrl 

      5 years ago from Vancouver, Canada

      Glue traps are inhumane.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      5 years ago

      I'm afraid I'm not much of a manly man when it comes to snakes. I am terrified of them. I even having trouble looking at pictures of them (blushes). I live about 100 yards from a creek where snakes are common, so I always have to be on the lookout for them. In spite of not being able to look at the photos, I liked your lens :)

    • Virginia Allain profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Allain 

      5 years ago from Central Florida

      @Loretta L: The next time I visit England, I must look for the adders and the grass snake. Snakes are fascinating as long as they aren't in your garden.

    • Loretta L profile image

      Loretta Livingstone 

      5 years ago from Chilterns, UK.

      Goodness me, I'm so glad I live in the UK. We do have adders but their bite is rarely fatal though they are poisonous, and I have never seen one. They tend to live near heathland, and I don't. I did once see the most beautiful grass snake slip into the canal and swim away. It was stunning.

    • Virginia Allain profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Allain 

      5 years ago from Central Florida

      @Lady Lorelei: I think we instinctively recoil from such creatures as a safety measure. Now I try to view it as a photo opportunity and subdue my fear (but keep a safe distance).

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 

      5 years ago from Canada

      I grew up in a very backwoods logging community which had snakes everywhere but now live in the city where (fortunately) I no longer have to deal with snakes. I just cannot bring myself to like spiders or snakes ;)

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      6 years ago

      I am phobic about snakes. I want a snake fence for my dog run. Will it work against copperheads and water mocs?

    • Virginia Allain profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Allain 

      6 years ago from Central Florida

      @anonymous: In Florida, that big snake might be a cottonmouth and quite poisonous. I've seen several.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      6 years ago

      My daughter was less that two feet away from a six foot black snake the other day while sitting inside the lanai. She saw it eat a lizard. I hate snakes with a passion and getting some of those traps!

    • Kellie-Ryan profile image

      Kellie-Ryan 

      6 years ago

      @Helene-Malmsio: Hi Helene! I mostly remove Australian Copperheads and Eastern Brown Snakes from homes here and release them back to the wild. With deadly snakes like that only a professional snake catcher like myself should go anywhere near them.

    • profile image

      Helene-Malmsio 

      6 years ago

      I called Kellie Ryan, a professional snake catcher, when a deadly brown snake got into my yard - I'm not going anywhere near it!!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      6 years ago

      i keep seeing copper head snakes in my yard. best way i have learned to deal with them is with my 870 express pump shotgun and 3 inch slugs. used to have king snakes but i guess the copper heads won that battle. oh and dr t's doesn't work any better than pissing on a snake....just saying!

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      6 years ago

      I HATE snakes, they kill pets and i will try all the methods to see what works!!

    • tonybonura profile image

      Tony Bonura 

      6 years ago from Tickfaw, Louisiana

      I like your lens. I don't like snakes of any type. I especially don't like rattlers and moccasins! A long time ago I adopted a live and let live attitude toward snakes. I do not want to harm them, but I do not want them to harm me or mine either. When I come across a snake, if it will not go away, then I will! If they get aggressive with me, I get aggressive right back, no matter what kind of snake breed they are. Good lens, with some interesting information.

      TonyB

    • Virginia Allain profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Allain 

      6 years ago from Central Florida

      @EMangl: Most people would be pleased to not see any snakes. They are environmentally important.

    • Virginia Allain profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Allain 

      6 years ago from Central Florida

      @gottaloveit2: Yikes, you sure wouldn't expect one of those in Maryland. Don't think my snake traps will handle that size of snake.

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 

      6 years ago

      I don't generally mind snakes but I wasn't a fan of the 10' python in my backyard last year. He ended up going to the zoo (I hope) after I called animal control. Great lens.

    • xriotdotbiz lm profile image

      xriotdotbiz lm 

      6 years ago

      I saw where Billy The Exterminator on his show used a garlic based spray to create a perimeter around a house that was having snake problems. Found that interesting.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      6 years ago

      I was here last year but this just caught my eye and had to peek in...love the picture of the Black Racer and just read somewhere that it often travels with its head up like a periscope while hunting.

    • hntrssthmpsn profile image

      hntrssthmpsn 

      6 years ago

      I've always lived in areas with lots of snakes, and, having also always lived in areas with lots of rodents, learned to love the snakes! I was so happy to see that your first recommendation here is to learn to get along with mild-mannered species of snakes! For those who just can't stand snakes, the humane trap you show here looks great. Trap 'em and bring 'em over to MY yard, folks! ;)

    • profile image

      jseven lm 

      6 years ago

      I am not in gardens anymore, but used to see them in there here in Michigan and would catch them with my brother as a child. Then one day it got out of the jar on the house and mom never allowed jars of anything in the house after that! :)

    • Bill Armstrong profile image

      Bill Armstrong 

      6 years ago from Valencia, California

      Not saw any snakes around here yet but I know they are here, not sure what I would do so I am studding this lens more, thanks for sharing

    • VeseliDan profile image

      VeseliDan 

      6 years ago

      Snakes often come to my yard and I am very afraid of them because they are poisonous. Thank you for your advices! *blessed*

    • BLouw profile image

      Barbara Walton 

      6 years ago from France

      I feel that I'm lucky to live in a country with few poisonous snakes. On the radio today there was a feature about an island, somewhere near Tahiti I think, which had been invaded by brown tree snakes brought in by man (the army??). They had completely taken over and were causing all sorts of damage, plus they are mildly poisonous, apparently. The solution was to helicopter in poisoned mice and drop them over the island. Shame but I suppose necessary.

    • Pam Irie profile image

      Pam Irie 

      6 years ago from Land of Aloha

      Thank goodness the only snakes we have here in the islands live at the zoo. yikes!

    • SharpLee profile image

      SharpLee 

      6 years ago

      I didn't know there was such a thing as snake repellent. We live on the edge of a canyon and ended up with a rattlesnake in our front yard. I might want to use the repellent on the side of the yard that backs up to the wilderness!

    • profile image

      AlleyCatLane 

      6 years ago

      Hate snakes! One got in our house one time and our three year old daughte found it in the hall. We thought she was kidding. I also hate when I am gardening and one slithers out of the mulch. Enough to give me a heart attack!

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 

      6 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Thanks for all this great info re Getting rid of Snakes in the Yard. I wish that my snake this morning had been in the yard rather than the closet. Fortunately, he got caught on one of the many Glue Traps throughout the house. I thought he was dead but when my husband picked up the trap, we realized he was still alive. All is ok. Every time the vacant lots next door to us are cleared we have snakes and mice. Later today we discovered the mice in the same closet. Yikes. I don't know which I hate the worse. I do like the glue traps and we are using Snake Be Gone, too! Copperheads are nothing to mess around with.

    • Showpup LM profile image

      Showpup LM 

      6 years ago

      We had to hire an excavator to make our pond much larger as it was drying up considerably every year making it a wonderful, smelly habitat for snakes and other non-desirables. I, personally, LOVE snakes of all kinds but I don't want to be overrun by them in my yard.

    • CamelliaPenny profile image

      Perrin 

      6 years ago from South Carolina

      Thanks for all the good info...this is a very thorough lens. Snakes are awake and out, now that it's spring. There are water moccasins in a pond about a block from us, and we have a child who likes to play in the yard. So, this was very informative!

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      6 years ago

      @Virginia Allain: Just came across this since I am looking for a snake repellant. A black mamba 8 feet recently fell from our ceiling and my brother was almost trapped in the living room. luckily he escaped by we later killed it when it hid in one of the bedrooms. We think it was following a mouse. We live in an area with a lot of wildlife but I really need to keep the snakes from yard.

    • profile image

      Cheap-Divorce 

      6 years ago

      Been collecting and keeping snakes for about 30 years now, a very interesting page that you put together here. Don't agree with using the glue boards and have never heard of snake repellant (probably because I spend my time trying to find snakes and not chase them away LOL) Does it actually work and and what's the main ingredient. Quite a few years ago they developed and marketed a shark repellant but when it was tested in the natural environment by an independent TV production company it did nothing to deter any sharks, they didn't even seem to notice anything.

    • Virginia Allain profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Allain 

      6 years ago from Central Florida

      @anonymous: I couldn't find any plants listed that reliably repelled snakes. There are sites that recommend clearing away low-growing plants that snakes might like to hunt or hide under.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      6 years ago

      Please help is there such thing that the is a tree you plant on your yard to get rid of your snakes? If the is I really need it,every time I see a snake I faint

    • profile image

      thomasaden 

      7 years ago

      Once I had a snake in my courtyard, I just freezes after seeing the creature. After one minute he just moved away to the next yard. You have given such nice tips in this lens. Thanks for making this beautiful lens. Keep up the great work.

    • profile image

      PhillipConte 

      7 years ago

      I enjoyed reading this lens. I had a black racer in my yard the when I saw it from afar I thought it was a "stick" in the ground. I went to pick it up and the "stick" moved with the speed of light to the next yard.

    • profile image

      mrducksmrnot 

      7 years ago

      Never had a fear of snakes. I'm not a snake handler but did catch them in the wild (poison ones) and bring to the science lab at Western Carolina College in NC. They would milk them and make anti-venom for those who were bitten. The College would always release them back in the wild as they do have a purpose in the balance of nature. A 10 pound bag of lime poured out around the border of the property usually keeps snakes from crossing into your safe area. Only problem is you have to reapply after a hard rain but really inexpensive and good for the soil also. Snakes are territorial so if you have a black snake around it will fight off the poison ones for territory rights by nature. Keeps the rodents down to a minimum also. Great lens

    • hsschulte profile image

      hsschulte 

      7 years ago

      Snakes terrify me. I recently found a black snake living along the foundation of my house when I was doing some landscaping. I've heard I should keep him around, but I just find snakes so creepy. It is much better than a rattlesnake.

    • profile image

      CanadaGear 

      7 years ago

      Was recently watching a snake show so the title drew me in - good ways to keep our sometimes not so friendly reptile friends at bay.

    • profile image

      jokcoen 

      7 years ago

      this is actually an area of pest control that I am not too familiar with, thanks for the great resources!

    • phoenix arizona f profile image

      phoenix arizona f 

      7 years ago

      I have a feeling one of my dogs would be on him before I would.

    • Monika Weise profile image

      Monika Weise 

      7 years ago from Indianapolis, IN USA

      I like snakes, but not when they are sneaking up on me! Great lens.

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image

      MargoPArrowsmith 

      7 years ago

      I trust you had a telephoto lens when you took the picture of that snake! The little, not poisonous ones don't bother me at all.

      I just heard the most awful story about what a 'pet' boa did to a client's sister! The joys of having a 15 foot killer roaming the house and sitting next to me watching TV is something I just don't get!

    • pinkrenegade lm profile image

      pinkrenegade lm 

      7 years ago

      I hate snakes, I'm scared of them. I would probably just ask for help. :)

    • profile image

      Helene-Malmsio 

      7 years ago

      I was told that a deadly brown snake was seen going into my back yard last summer - Yikes! Luckily the local snake catcher came quickly and the checked all the yard and garage and convinced me the snake had gone. I've now done my best to snake-proof my fences by putting boards up that the would most likely not climb over, as they prefer to just follow straight lines - hopefully right past my front fence!

    • ClassyGals profile image

      Cynthia Davis 

      7 years ago from Pittsburgh

      Yes, snakes frighten me. Even the gardeners. Great info on how to get rid of them.

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 

      7 years ago

      I have a video somewhere of fishing a snake out of the pool last spring. He (or she) was pretty content to swim around which worried me as we have cottonmouths over here. Regardless, I let him go WAAAAAY out back. I don't really mind snakes - now, spiders are another issue!

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 

      7 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      This lens is downright creepy. I hate snakes! It's nice to know there are this many ways to get rid of snakes!

    • Bella Stella profile image

      Bella Stella 

      7 years ago

      As far as I know, sulphur keeps snakes away from your house and thatâs what my parents use for their garden in order to prevent them from getting in. I am scared of snakes, I cannot see them even in photos. Even though you have mentioned that some of them are harmless and despite the fact that I know that they get even more scared of me, I cannot stay calm when coming across one!

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      7 years ago

      I've always been pretty comfortable with snakes but then have never had a POISONOUS snake in my garage, an advantage of living in northern states. Many others will certainly find your information very helpful.

    • Snakesmom profile image

      Snakesmom 

      7 years ago

      Snakes scare me and interest me at the same time! lol

    • lollyj lm profile image

      Laurel Johnson 

      7 years ago from Washington KS

      When we lived in Kentucky, one day I was washing dishes looking out my kitchen window.

      A mother cat and six half grown kittens were sitting focused on our woodpile. Suddenly, an adult copperhead slithered out of the woodpile along with several small copperheads. The mama cat jumped on the big snake, the kittens on the little snakes, and in very short order the snakes were dead. After we told the neighboring farmer about the incident, he took the mama cats and kittens to his farm and they systematically rid an area of a copperhead nest. He brought them back a week later saying he'd tried everything but never had better results than he did with our cats.

      Good lens. I hope our current batch of outdoor cats keep poisonous snakes away like our cats in Kentucky did.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      7 years ago

      Not too many snakes where I live....thank goodness. We have a strange amount of stray cats though...I think I would prefer snakes. =)

    • profile image

      Annamadagan 

      7 years ago

      Snakes are beautiful, but scary!! And some are dangerous. Great lens!

    • Redneck Lady Luck profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 

      7 years ago from Canada

      I had never heard of a snake fence before. We used to have these installed around our city's bird sanctuary to hold the turtles in though.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      7 years ago

      i live in australia, and we get a lot of snakes! and im not sure we have thos liquids or anything to get rid of snakes so im abit scared after seeing a dugite in my backyard.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      8 years ago

      Venomous snakes in one's own yard are so frightening, particularly if a suspect is spotted, then disappears to who knows where! Here in the southern US we have more than our fair share, with some wonderful snake stories to tell, too. This article provides some great tips with applicable solutions. Thanks!

    • jptanabe profile image

      Jennifer P Tanabe 

      8 years ago from Red Hook, NY

      We sometimes see a snake in our yard. I've always assumed it was a non-venomous garter snake enjoying the sun and just watched with interest (from a distance - not to scare it of course!)

    • profile image

      reasonablerobby 

      8 years ago

      How different to the UK. We only have one venomous snake called the Viper. Its other name is the Adder. We also have the Grass Snake and the Smooth snake which are non venomous.

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