How To Get Rid of Snakes

Written by Heather Ross
Updated: September 24, 2022
© iStock.com/Handini_Atmodiwiryo
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Think You Know Snakes?

Key Points

  • Snakes can be found in the same places where they find food for them.
  • You should probably call a professional to deal with them, but there are ways for you to deter snakes from coming close to your home.
  • By reducing wet areas, removing potential food types and prey, and adding some deterring smells and odors you can help keep away snakes.

Unless you’re keeping one as a pet, you don’t want snakes around, running freely. In this blog, we want to share a few tips for ridding yourself of snakes you don’t want and keeping them away. Let’s get started.

What Attracts Snakes?

Like any pests you don’t want around, snakes find their way to your spaces because they’re essentially looking for one of two things: shelter and food. Snakes also want a place to breed and rest. And like all invaders on your property, if a snake finds any of those things, they tend to hang around.

While diet can change with the species, all snakes are naturally carnivores. They’re all looking for meaty foods. Here are a few creatures that promise to keep snakes around.

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The slithering snake also embraces thick brush, leaf piles, and dense compost. Snakes love moisture so they’ll cling to your birdbaths, natural and manmade ponds, or cling near leaky garden hoses and faucets.

A nice Catch-22 here is if your property lacks natural predators like foxes and raccoons, snakes stick around. But who wants foxes and raccoons to keep out the snakes?

Get Rid of Snakes in the House

Garter snakes have three stripes that run the length of its body.

©iStock.com/randimal

If there are mice, garter snakes and their friends will enter your home. They’re not necessarily nomads. It’s more likely they won’t know how to get out. Snakes in the house are nothing less than scary so you want to deal with them quickly.

Try to Keep Your Cool

No matter how much you’re disturbed or alarmed, it’s important to not disturb, distract or alarm the snake. They are jittery creatures. If they’re dangerous, you shouldn’t confront them, especially if they bite. But if they slither away, likely, they’ll quickly duck where you won’t be able to find them. Worse, you don’t want to harm yourself trying to capture it.

Open Potential Escape Routes

If there’s a door or window the snake can use to get out, make it accessible without a whole lot of movement that might send the creature in the other direction.

Create a Barrier

Trap the animal in a room. Use boards or boxes to build a barrier. As nerve-wracking as it might be to do this, trust the snake’s nerves are probably as shaky as yours. No creature likes to feel trapped. As previously stated, do this calmly and as quickly as you.

Contact a Wildlife Control Specialist

Whether it’s local authorities or an animal shelter, call a specialist that knows how to safely capture a snake. Many of these creatures are venomous and require unique techniques for proper capture.

Get Rid of Snakes in Your Garden or Yard

Depending on where you live, snakes can be common (garter snakes are an example) in your outdoor spaces. If you’re familiar with snakes, you may know right off if the creature’s nonvenomous.

If you don’t know, it’s important to reach out to someone who does. Call a specialist or wildlife control. Professionals know the tried and proven methods for trapping and removing snakes of all types and to minimize infestation.

If you know you’re dealing with a nonvenomous snake, here are some tips to getting rid of it.

Spray the Snake With Your Hose

Grab your hose and drench the snake. Do this from a distance. Encourage the animal to keep it moving without harming it. Unfortunately, this is an immediate solution. It doesn’t mean the snake won’t come back.

Entrap the Snake

No one wants to find something like a garter snake in the house. If you have the nerve, temporary traps for the creature include an overturned garbage can or solid box. This should only be the option if you know the snake bite isn’t poisonous. You can then contact pest control and have the snake removed safely.

You can also get a humane trap from the store. After securing the snake, transfer it to a location that’s safe and far from your home. Release it there. Glue boards are good for snake removal. When you’re ready to release the animal, pour vegetable oil over the body. It neutralizes the glue so that the snake can slip away.

We cannot stress enough if you do something like this, you have to be sure the snake’s bite is not venomous.

Get Rid of Food Sources

Snakes like birds, frogs, rodents, insects, and fish. If these creatures are on the property, removing them can minimize the possibility of visiting snakes.

Remove Standing Water to Get Rid of Snakes

Rain barrels, ponds, birdbaths, and other standing water sources are catnip for snakes. Remove them if you want to minimize reptilian guests.

Get Rid of the Burrows

If there are burrows on your property, get them filled with dirt or gravel. It gives snakes fewer places to hide. If you’ve got a series of holes, such as those left behind by gophers, voles, or moles, contact a pest control specialist to get rid of this ready-made hidey-hole for a snake.

Get Rid of Shelters

Snakes like coiled hoses, tall grass, firewood, dense brush, crawl spaces, outbuildings, and open areas beneath sheds.

Grass shouldn’t go above an inch in height. Snake-proof fencing needs to be flush with the ground. It should consist of plastic sheeting or steel mesh. Any fence should angle outward, be at least three feet in height and four feet deep. There are also plants like wormwood and marigold which are snake-repelling.

Use Smoke to Get Rid of Snakes

Snakes are extremely sensitive to odors, especially smoke. Letting your fire pit run for a few days can effectively drive snakes away.

Natural Predators That Get Rid of Snakes

Foxes, raccoons, pigs, turkeys, and guinea hens are some of the natural predators of snakes.

©iStock.com/mynewturtle

Natural predators of the snake include foxes, cats, raccoons, pigs, turkeys, and guinea hens. If you keep these animals around, you have a natural source for holding snakes off. Some stores sell fox urine. It’s another natural snake repellent.

Use a Wildfire Control Expert to Get Rid of Snakes

If you have a venomous snake or you’re finding multiple snakes, the situation may require a deft hand. It’s often easier to turn the problem over to a professional. There’s no reason to risk a potentially life-threatening bite and a trip to the emergency room when there are people trained to deal with such vermin.

Get Rid of Snakes in Your Crawlspace, Basement and Under the Porch

Snakes don’t mind moist, dark spaces at all. You can use all the same tricks in your crawlspace, basement, or porch areas as you’d use to get rid of them in the yard. Set up mouse traps, remove shelters that snakes use (such as shelving or storage boxes). Buy store-bought repellents or pellets and leave the substances around openings or corners of areas like the basement.

Get Rid of Snakes by the Pond or Pool

Snakes, particularly water snakes, go straight for your bodies of water.

The smell of ammonia is pretty powerful and keeps many types of animals at bay, particularly snakes. Soak rags in ammonia and put them in unsealed plastic bags. Leave them where you’ve spied snake activity. For the best results, change the rags daily in the yard and other outdoor spaces.

Use Natural Repellents to Get Rid of Snakes

There is a range of repellents you can buy at the store. Safe and easy to use, they interfere with the snake’s sense of smell. The substances deter snakes from nesting in your spaces. Take note that store-bought products tend to be more effective than homemade or natural repellents.

These solutions aren’t equally effective in all situations so you may encounter spotty results in the beginning. Have a conversation with a vendor or snake pro about the types of creatures you might have encountered. The professionals will be able to advise you on the safest ways to protect your environment and prevent infestation.

Ammonia

Ammonia makes for pretty powerful traps that distract just about any creature that inhales. Soak rags in ammonia. Put them in plastic bags and set the bags around the perimeter of where you’ve seen snakes. Replace the rags and bags daily. This could naturally run snakes off.

Clove and Cinnamon Oil

Clove and cinnamon oil release powerful scents that can deter snakes. For maximized results, mix the elements in a spray bottle and spray the areas that snakes occupy.

As a bonus, this spray could add a nice aroma to wherever you spray it. Bonus, right?

Lime

Mixed with hot pepper or peppermint, lime can help deter snakes in the yard. Put the ingredients in a glass bottle and pour the mixture around the perimeter of the garden, pool, home, or other areas.

Naphthalene

One of the most common ingredients in commercial snake repellents is naphthalene. Save a few ducats by purchasing pure naphthalene and use it anywhere you have snake activity.

Onions & Garlic

Both garlic and onions contain sulfonic acid. Mix them with rock salt and sprinkle the compound around the home and yard to repel snakes. And, as a side bonus, fewer vampires will come around!

Sulfur

Powdered sulfur aggravates the snake’s skin, making it an effective repellent. If you choose to handle sulfur, wear PPE.

Vinegar

Snakes that like bodies of water can be deterred with standard white vinegar. That includes swimming pools and natural or manmade ponds. Pour straight white vinegar anywhere there may be snake activity like the pool or pond edges.

Get Rid of Snakes With a Pro

Getting help from a professional is the best route to take when trying to catch a snake.

©iStock.com/Andrii Zastrozhnov

If you’re stuck for a solution, turn to a specialist. They’ll perform an initial inspection and find the telltale signs of snake activity. They may be able to even identify species. Good snake handlers use a natural holistic approach via a combination of tactics. They’ll also prepare a unique treatment as well as perform monitoring and follow-up to ensure you don’t get another infestation.

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The Featured Image

green snake hanging from tree
green snake hanging from tree
© iStock.com/Handini_Atmodiwiryo

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About the Author

Heather Ross is a secondary English teacher and mother of 2 humans, 2 tuxedo cats, and a golden doodle. In between taking the kids to soccer practice and grading papers, she enjoys reading and writing about all the animals!

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