Snake Control: How to Get Rid of Snakes in Your House and Yard

green coiled snake
Snakes are pests. They can defecate and urinate in hard-to-reach places and pose a threat to you and your family. The best course of action concerned homeowners should take is to trap it, eliminate standing water, and dismantle and secure any areas where snakes may potentially reside.

Unless you own a pet snake in a controlled environment, you probably don’t want any non-native invaders turning your humble abode into its personal hunting grounds. While it may feel cool having your own reptilian neighbor, you’ll want to get rid of it.

That said, there’s a wide variety of snake species in the U.S.; some are more venomous than others. So, you’ll also want to identify what kind of snake it is before you start taking any steps to remove it.

Here’s a quick rundown on the best approach to handle snake control in your house or yard.

What attracts snakes to your house & yard? 

Snakes move onto your property for one basic purpose: survival. If your property has an abundance of food, shelter, and water for a snake’s comfortable survival, they may become full-fledged occupants of your home to gain easy access to these resources.

If you have an abundance of small rodents like mice and rats scurrying around, for example, a snake would be tempted for a chance of a quick meal.

Places like wood piles, rock walls, and old sheds can also provide secluded and protected spaces for snakes to hide from the sun and predators. Add standing water into the mix for the snake to drink, then you get a recipe for a snake-friendly environment.

snake in water

Is it OK to kill snakes?

It is not recommended that you kill snakes. In most cases, you’re better off relocating a snake than killing it.

Not only is the act of killing a snake inhumane, but you’re also disrupting the natural order of the surrounding ecosystem by dispatching them outright. Snakes are extremely valuable for keeping rodents in check, and killing every snake in your vicinity can worsen your home’s rodent situation.

Nonetheless, it’s still harmful to have snakes around, especially if they’re venomous.

If you want to learn how to get rid of rattlesnakes humanely, you can trap them with a snake hook, capture them in a snake bag, and then release them into the wild far away from your home.

But for the best course of action, it’s strongly encouraged that you contact pest control to deal with this slithery situation.

What kills snakes the most? 

While there are many poisonous and non-venomous snakes around, these slithery creatures aren’t primed at the apex of the food chain.

In fact, they’re most often preyed on by other predators like coyotes, gophers, mongooses, raccoons, and foxes. Birds like herons, falcons, and owls may also swoop in to devour an exposed snake in the wild.

Other snakes also threaten smaller snake species, believe it or not. So while you may be dealing with one snake, you probably won’t have to worry about a full-blown infestation.

green snake coiled on wood chips

How do you kill a snake at home?

If you are left with no other choice but to take a snake’s life, there are many different ways you can safely dispatch a snake in your home.

Before you proceed, know this: Every life is valuable, and the snake you might wind up killing may be threatened or endangered. A vast majority of snake species—copperhead snakes, coral snakes, or garter snakes, to name a few—play a vital role in the ecosystem as harmless rodent-feeders.

In fact, by attempting to harm them, they might turn aggressive and bite you instead. There’s no shortage of stories of people who’ve been bitten by a snake moments before they kill them; in worse cases, these may be fatal.

Prioritize relocating snakes, and kill them only as a last resort.

That said, you’ll have to lure snakes out of their hiding places like crawl spaces to capture them before you can kill them. This can be done through glue traps or snake hooks. Once the snake is immobilized, examine whether it’s safe to move outside to conduct the kill.

Once you’ve done that, here are some viable methods to dispatch a snake effectively:

Also, be sure you’re up-to-date with local laws regarding snake killing. Pest control may be a better solution for snake problems in most cases.

How do you kill a snake humanely? 

The most humane course of action is releasing the snake into the wild. Alternatively, let a pest control professional handle the situation.

But if either isn’t an option (which it should be 99% of the time), instant death is the way to go.

Some people use a captive bolt stunner to let the snake lose consciousness, giving its captors enough time to dispatch it without fear of causing stress to the snake.

Others may shoot the snake’s brains with a rifle, leading them to bleed out instantaneously. Decapitating them with a sharp tool like a shovel or ax is also a way to kill them quickly.

snake on asphalt

What will keep snakes away from your basement, garage, house, and yard?

To keep snakes from getting into your garage, basement, or home in the first place, make certain there are no cracks or holes in your foundation or exterior walls. If there are any, seal them off.

You should also keep all trees and shrubs trimmed away from your house for snakes looking for easy access. Use mulch sparingly and try to decrease the moisture in and around your lawn.

Snake repellents are also useful. Many commercial brands are available online, but if you want a natural solution, certain scents like cloves, cinnamon oil, and sulfur may deter snakes from entering your property.

Lastly, eliminate resources that may entice snakes to reside in your habitat. This means setting up traps for mice and rats as a means of rodent control and emptying pots or vases with still water.

Who to call for snake removal?

You can call pest control companies or the local fire and police station in most cases. If there are animal control services in your area, they may have snake removal services available and specialists who can come and remove the snake for you.

Joshua Munoz

Most people’s first instinct when they see a wild skunk is to back away, but not Joshua. He holds a near-obsessive fascination with skunks and their behavior. Although Joshua has never been closer than five feet to a skunk, he has spent countless hours researching them. He knows almost everything there is to know about skunks, from their diet and habitat, to how to humanely trap them. Joshua’s interest in skunks is rooted in his love of animal biology. He fondly remembers topping his finals in biology class while in university. Now, as a writer, he fuses passion and expertise into one by sharing his knowledge about the animal kingdom with others.

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