When you find a mouse or a rat in your home or yard, there are almost always dozens more around. You might assume the same with other pests, like snakes. However, this is not always the case.
A single snake will often make its way near your home, searching for food, warmth, or shelter. However, for most of the year, snakes are solitary creatures searching for limited resources and do not travel in groups or packs, and if you find one, there might not be any more.
Keep on reading, and we’ll expand on why snakes are attracted to your home and why a lone snake may be the unexpected guest you find rather than a group!
Why Might A Snake Be Attracted To Your House
If you’re finding snakes near your home, there are plenty of different reasons they might be attracted to your home. Houses provide a much easier life than living in nature, and snakes understand that too.
Below are the three most likely reasons your home may attract a snake, but these reasons can vary based on where you live and the time of year. These factors will also affect whether it is one snake or many of them.
Snakes Might Be Seeking Shelter
Snakes thrive in small areas where they can feel protected from all sides. They like to be curled up, as small and defended as possible, to keep them safe from predators and the weather.
Between crawlspaces, crack in the siding, and objects to hide under, there are plenty of areas for snakes to find shelter near your home. The most likely places will be those you don’t frequently disturb, as snakes like to avoid human interaction as much as possible.
Wood piles, rocky areas, and loose pipes are all favorite areas for snakes, with plenty of cracks and crevices to squeeze into to find safety. Other areas, including sheds, barns, and garages, are frequent snakes’ favorites.
Mississippi State Extension recommends clearing any piles of debris and keeping plants and your lawn trimmed to prevent snakes from using them as shelter. Keeping wood piles raised 12 inches off the ground will also discourage snakes from using them as shelter.
For the most part, snakes won’t enter your home unless they have straightforward access, but they won’t climb for it. Thankfully, this makes it unlikely for snakes to be inside your home, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen.
If you are constantly finding snakes in your home, you’ll need to check for holes around your house that could be easy access for them, and you might have larger problems than the odd snake finding its way in.
It is always best to call a professional if you think you have a full-blown snake infestation. Treating an infestation in your home can be tricky and is best left to professionals with the tools to do so.
As a quick side note, if you have a pool – take a look at our guide on keeping snakes out of your swimming pool if you’ve had that problem!
Snakes Might Be Searching For An Easy Meal
Snakes might be attracted to your home in search of an easy meal. This could include other pests, such as mice, rats, insects, and other small animals that snakes could eat.
Thankfully, most snakes are too small to make a meal out of dogs or cats, but venomous snakes might startle them. This is part of the reason it is crucial to keep your home clear of any pests that might attract snakes to your home.
Mice and rat infestations are especially attractive to snakes, since one meal could feed them for days or weeks. Mice and rats also come with problems that you’ll want to prevent.
For younger snakes and smaller species of snakes, insects make ideal prey, and homes can be a steady supply of them, especially if you have a garden or lots of shrubs for insects to use for food and shelter.
Those insects can also attract lizards and predators that will attract larger snakes, creating a food chain where you’ll find snakes wanting to be a part of it. Even a small insect population can start a chain reaction where more animals move in, eventually attracting snakes.
Between shelter and easy meals, it is easy to understand why a snake might want to make your home its own.
Snakes Like Homes For Extra Warmth
Finally, snakes may be attracted to your home in search of the extra warmth it provides. Homes will leak some extra heat in early spring and fall when snakes are still active, but the temperatures are dropping.
This extra heat can be a significant driving factor for snakes’ interest in your home. The most likely places that you’ll find snakes during this time are under your house or in a basement.
Since snakes are cold-blooded, external warmth is so important to help them metabolize and have the energy to move and hunt. Snakes will move much slower when the weather cools down, and the extra heat they find from your home can help them.
This is most commonly why you’ll find snakes near your home when the weather is cooling down or just coming out of winter. They might also find warmth in your home if there is an unexpected cold front.
For more in-depth information about what attracts snakes to your yard and how to deter them, check out our guide!
4 Reasons One Snake Doesn’t Always Mean Another
With the reasons above of why snakes might be attracted to your home, it’s easier to understand why one snake doesn’t always mean another.
Some people think snakes are solitary creatures, and some people think they live in large groups in snake dens, and neither answer is entirely correct. Below we’ll cover where/when snakes are solitary or live in groups and how you can tell if that one snake you found is alone or not.
With over 3,000 species of snakes worldwide, not all their behaviors are the same. Different species will have different social structures, so we’ll have to generalize for this article.
1. Snakes Are Solitary Most Of The Year
Thankfully, most snakes follow similar social structures where they are alone for most of the year. During brumation, the reptile version of hibernating, many snake species stay in large groups for protection and warmth.
Snake dens are shared by almost all species of rattlesnake, along with bull snakes, racers, and many others. Snakes will choose to brumate with more of their species and often return to the den where they were born or hatched.
Staying in dens for brumation also means that snakes can quickly find a mate in the spring and begin reproducing early to give their offspring as much time to develop before winter comes back.
You can learn more about where snakes go during this brumation period in the winter by reading our article on their preferred denning spots!
However, snakes will go their separate ways once spring rolls around until late fall when they return to brumating. For most of the year, when snakes are most likely to be active, they are solitary.
So when you find a snake in your yard, that doesn’t mean others are nearby. During winter, however, this could be a snake coming out of its den to find water and a sign of a snake population nearby.
But if you find a single snake near your house the rest of the year, then there is no immediate reason to suspect more are in the same area.
2. Snakes Will Travel To Search For Food
Food is perhaps one of the most significant driving factors for why a snake might venture out alone in search of easy meals.
Snakes don’t have a social structure to follow one another or stick together, so one snake searching for food near your home doesn’t mean others will be in the same area.
Snakes might search for easy meals if you have insects or rodents near your home or if you keep chickens/quail. Chicken and quail eggs make very filling meals for snakes and are easy to get to, as long as an angry chicken doesn’t get to them first.
You can utilize some of the smells that snakes hate in order to repel them!
3. Snakes Will Be Looking For Limited Resources
Another reason that snakes will be alone rather than in a group is that they are looking for resources under heavy competition, other than food.
Shelter is one of the limited resources snakes might compete with other snakes for, and somewhere near your home might provide that shelter. As mentioned above, this could be your home itself or piles of wood, stones, or other debris near your home.
Water is another resource that snakes may have a hard time finding, and they might find it near your home. Snakes might choose to be close to this resource for easy access if you have a pool, fountain, or stream near your house.
Competition between snakes is a driving factor why some individuals might venture out further from their brumation spot, and a factor that individual snakes might be interested in your home.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife notes that leaf litter, hollow logs, and a pond or stream are some of the most likely elements you may have on your property that will attract snakes and other wildlife for them to pray on.
4. Signs Of A Snake Infestation Will Be Obvious
Multiple shed skins from snakes, snake droppings, musky scents, and snake tracks in the dirt are all signs you have a snake problem. Snakes only shed their skin a few times a year, so if you find multiple sheds at a time, you know there is more than one snake nearby.
Snake tracks can also gauge how many snakes there are, and if you don’t live in an area where dirt is abundant, you can use flour or sand to achieve the same effect. By spreading a layer of something snakes can easily disturb, you’ll see the snake activity going on in the area.
Snake droppings and musky smells are both signs of snakes. If you find numerous snake droppings or a robust musky scent, there are many snakes nearby.
Use a formulated snake repellent to prevent snakes from coming near your house. Ortho Snake B Gon is one of the easiest-to-use options with formulated granules to spread around and has one of the best success rates.
Thanks For Reading!
Finding one snake near your home could be a sign of something larger, but more than likely, it is a single snake searching for food or shelter.
For the most part, snakes are solitary creatures and try to avoid human interactions where they can, so a large group is unlikely to reside near your home.
A larger snake infestation is still a problem that can occur, but thankfully the signs are easy to spot, including shed skin, snake droppings, or musky smells. Finding one snake and looking for signs of more can help you determine if there is a more significant problem and if you’ll need to find professional help to take care of them.
We hope this article puts your mind at ease that the one snake you found does not mean there are more nearby, and how to identify if there is a large population of snakes near your home. Happy snake repelling!
Aubret, F., Bignon, F., Kok, P. J., & Blanvillain, G. (2016). Only child syndrome in snakes: Eggs incubated alone produce asocial individuals. Scientific Reports, 6(1).
Siers, S. R., Yackel Adams, A. A., & Reed, R. N. (2018). Behavioral differences following ingestion of large meals and consequences for management of a harmful invasive snake: A field experiment. Ecology and Evolution, 8(20), 10075–10093.
Skinner, M., & Miller, N. (2020). Aggregation and social interaction in garter snakes (thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis). Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 74(5).
Zack is a Nature & Wildlife specialist based in Upstate, NY, and is the founder of his Tree Journey and Pest Pointers brands. He has a vast experience with nature while living and growing up on 50+ acres of fields, woodlands, and a freshwater bass pond. Zack has encountered many pest situations over the years and has spent his time maintaining and planting over 35 species of trees since his youth with his family on their property.
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