If you're a fan of Samuel L. Jackson (and who isn't?), you may think about snakes on a plane nearly every single time you board. Luckily, the chances of your next flight to LAX being filled with a thousand slithering serpents is unlikely. However, the odds of one showing up in your amazing and beautifully planned garden is much more likely. When you've put a lot of time and money into your tricked-out backyard, the last thing you want to do is be too afraid to enjoy it.
And plenty of people are afraid of snakes. According to a 2001 Gallup poll, a fear of snakes (aka "ophidiophobia") tops the list of our nation's greatest fears51 percent of the population reports shivering in their gardening boots if they espy one wriggling by. And while getting rid of snakes may not be as easy as getting rid of fruit flies or ants, the process doesn't have to be too scary. Read on to get every single snake question you've ever had answered.
For the most part, snakes are not your enemy! The vast majority of snakes are harmless and most, even those that are poisonous, can be beneficial. Snakes are a key species in the food chain. They eat rodents, such as mice and rats. So if you can stomach it, leave them to do their thing. And keep in mind, they are probably just as afraid of you as you are of them!
If you see a copperhead or any poisonous snake in your yard, gather up the kids and pets and retreat to the house immediately! Do not try and kill it on your own. In some areas animal control or the local fire department may help remove the offending critter. If this isnt an option where you live, do an internet search for a pest removal company. Make sure that they have expertise/experience in dealing with snakes.
Dont! But if you must, start by giving the snake a chance to move on. If he insists on sticking around give him a squirt with the garden hose. This will usually encourage him to wiggle away.
Your best bet is to keep your yard clean and tidy. Other than removing their preferred habitat, there are no proven natural snake repellents.
Rumor has it that snakes hate the smell of ammonia, and if you soak rags in it, put them in plastic bags, and scatter them outside your house, it will cause snakes to stay away. This is highly unscientific and untested. Again, probably best to just keep your yard neat.
Nope. This is a myth. All they'll do is stink and fill your yard with poisonous chemicals.
If you have a snake inside, you likely have a mouse, so the first step would be to call a pest control company. They can safely remove the snake, determine if you have a rodent problem, and then take the necessary steps to solve it.
Dont use glue traps. They are cruel and can harm pets. To determine the best trap for your offender, call your local animal wildlife officer or state wildlife agency.
Once you've caught and removed the snake, find and seal any cracks in the foundation that are greater than 1/4 inch. Make sure all windows and doors are tight, including screens. Cover vents and drains with a tight galvanized mesh screen.
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Before you reach for the garden hoe, head to the book shelf and grab a copy of your snake identification book. Don't have one? The internet can help, too. You need to determine whether your snake is poisonous. If he's not, you could simply head back inside the house, lock the door, and wait for him to go on his merry way. As stated above snakes, are an essential part of a healthy environment.
But if you want that snake gone right now, here are a few tricks for keeping them out of your home.
Tidy up the yard. A snake's favorite snack is a rodent. Remove the food, and the snakes won't come around anymore. Additionally, snakes like to burrow, so eliminate rock and wood piles and keep sheds orderly. Keep the grass short. Not only are snakes are less likely to lounge in short grass, but they will also be easier to spot.
Get rid of the bird feeder. Mice love bird seed. Snakes love mice.
Feed pets inside. Any stray bit of kibble may attract mice. As we've mentioned, mice attract snakes.
Install a snake-proof fence. If you live in an area that has a high number of venomous snakes, you can install a snake-proof fence or snake-proof an existing one. This process can vary depending on the kinds of snakes you're attracting and the region where you live.
For a new fence: Snakes can climb, so install your fence at an outward angle (The North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension recommends a 30 degree angle from top to bottom) with the supports on the inside of the fence. Attach a tight wire mesh (1/4-inch openings or less) to the fence and make sure it extends at least 6 inches into the ground and 30 inches up the fence.
For an existing fence: Keep in mind that this works best with a fence that is made from tight wood slats. Start by installing the wire mesh as mentioned above. Next install a slick surface (such as metal flashing) at the top, outside, and edge of the fence. This will cause a snake trying to climb up and over the fence to lose its grip and (hopefully) fall to the ground.
Keep branches at bay. As mentioned, snakes can climb, so prevent them from dropping into your yard from branches (talk about heebie-jeebies!) by trimming away any overhanging tree branches.
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