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How do I get Rid of Snakes?

Amy Pollick
Updated May 17, 2024
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Snakes are beneficial creatures, but most people have no desire to have one living near them. The best way to get rid of snakes depends on where you live, but eliminating areas that attract them can help. If you find a snake, you may want to call an expert to remove it.

A problem with snakes is most common for those living in rural areas. These homeowners tend to live near places that are the animal's natural habitats, so it is probably inevitable that one will cross their property lines occasionally. One of the best ways to get rid of snakes in rural areas is prevention. The homeowner should clear out areas that are attractive to them, including old buildings, woodpiles, refuse piles — anywhere isolated and quiet. Snakes avoid humans when possible, so these sites where they can stay hidden are naturally attractive.

Prevention also is crucial for city or suburb dwellers. People who have a woodpile or other quiet corner of the yard should move anything that would be attractive to these animals. Rural and city dwellers alike also need to make sure they don't have mice or rat infestations, since predators follow the food supply.

A homeowner who sees a snake on his property should not touch it or get very close to it. Obviously, a slender, bright green one seen in the U.S. is probably a harmless garter snake, but some venomous and non-venomous varieties look like each other at a distance, and by the time the person is close enough to determine the species, he may be bitten.

The homeowner should keep an eye on the snake and see if any others show up. Sometimes, people can be fooled into thinking they see several, when in reality, it is the same one, just hunting on their property.

If a city dweller sees a snake for more than a couple of days running, he should contact animal control. They are trained to deal with reptiles, and can safely remove the animal from the property. Rural homeowners have the option of ignoring it and hoping it leaves on its own, especially if they have a large yard. If someone finds a den of snakes, however, or sees more than one or two at a time, it is probably time to call the county agent to see if there is anyone in the area who specializes in catching wild animals. The den needs to be removed from near a human dwelling.

A county agent may also be able to recommend "snake repellent." Some companies make substances specifically designed to repel these animals. They may be chemicals that emit a repellent odor, or a type of substrate that is uncomfortable for it to crawl over. The homeowner should make certain these repellents are safe for use around children and outdoor pets.

Snakes in the yard are one thing, but ones in the house are something else again. This is a situation that needs immediate attention — particularly if they are venomous. Most snakebites occur when the animal is stepped on or otherwise harassed, and a family member or pet could be bitten.

The homeowner should make sure all family pets are safe, either in crates or with the local veterinarian. Then, he should call animal control and apprise them of the situation. For venomous snakes, the family may want to consider staying with friends or in a motel until the animals are removed. If possible, the homeowner should also insist that the they are released in an appropriate area, rather than killed.

In general, snakes are as anxious to avoid humans as humans are to avoid them. Prevention will help keep them from setting up housekeeping close by, and keeping one's distance will help avoid accidents. Removal should be left to the professionals.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Amy Pollick
By Amy Pollick
Amy Pollick, a talented content writer and editor, brings her diverse writing background to her work at WiseGeek. With experience in various roles and numerous articles under her belt, she crafts compelling content that informs and engages readers across various platforms on topics of all levels of complexity.
Discussion Comments
By anon296713 — On Oct 12, 2012

I use Dr. T's snake repellent during the summer when the snakes decide to show up at my yard. I am so scared of snakes and couldn't even go out at night in fear of being bitten by a snake.

Dr. T's repellent was effective in getting rid of them. Be sure to use gloves when using this product. Broadcast your property with the repellent and scatter the product throughout your entire yard and that will keep you protected from the snakes. The smell and senses of the repellent will drive them away and won't kill the snake.

By anon203368 — On Aug 05, 2011

we are doing rehabilitation work in a sewage treatment plant and there are a lot of snakes because of the jungle (bushes-wild), and our labor hut-met is also situated at the site, so what should we do to avoid snakes near labor hut.

By anon133727 — On Dec 11, 2010

my room is on the second floor and i got a snake yesterday. i already killed that. now what shall i do to make sure that they don't come again? -prithviraj

By anon127947 — On Nov 17, 2010

I use a product called Snake Repel. Excellent product that works and is eco-friendly and does not kill the snakes.

By amypollick — On Apr 27, 2010

Concerned Mom, no. 10: contact your county extension agent. They are usually in the phone book. Or go to the local farmers co-op and ask someone there about your snake problem. You might be a good candidate for the substrate mentioned in the article, which snakes don't like to crawl over. However, the county agent or co-op may be able to offer some constructive suggestions since they live in the same area and probably have to deal with the little devils, too.

By anon80028 — On Apr 25, 2010

Last year we moved to east texas, and since then I have killed five copperheads on our property. All have been in our fenced back yard where my small children play. This scares me to death.

I keep the lawn mowed. However, we do have three huge live oaks on our land. That means a lot of brown leaves in the fall. What can I do to safeguard my children? --Concerned Mom

By anon77439 — On Apr 14, 2010

If you see a snake, kill it. The only good snake is a dead snake.

By anon72128 — On Mar 21, 2010

I am 71 and i can't walk, but if i saw a snake in or around me, i could fly.

By anon41540 — On Aug 15, 2009

Is there a way to get rid of garter snakes from the yard? seriously please.

By anon38907 — On Jul 29, 2009

If I trap a snake and want to relocate it elsewhere, how far away do I have to take the snake to ensure that it will not return to my property: 1 mile, 10 miles, 100 miles -- have no idea?

By joe411 — On Jul 23, 2009

will the snake leave on its own?

By overreactor — On May 22, 2008

To prevent snakes from moving into a building or a house, a good method is to seal all the openings to the outside. So areas around doors and windows, electrical outlets and pipes, when properly sealed will discourage or, stop snakes from moving in.

Certainly food supply is also very important. When there are no rodents, bugs and insects, the snake will have no interest in moving in.

Amy Pollick
Amy Pollick
Amy Pollick, a talented content writer and editor, brings her diverse writing background to her work at WiseGeek. With...
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