Snakes are elusive, gorgeous, and downright unnerving. We love to admire them safely behind glass walls at the zoo but feel an entirely different way when they’re in our house or yard. It’d be nice to get rid of them without using pesticides!
The best way to get rid of snakes naturally in your house is to use consult a professional. If the snake is non-venomous, you can use a pitchfork or shovel to scoop the snake up and move it to another area. Use a spray containing cinnamon and clove oil to help keep them from returning.
If you want to learn more about why you have snakes in your home and how to remove them, let’s get into it! There are multiple reasons, but be wary of a rodent infestation because rodents attract snakes. This article is jam-packed with information about how you can do just that, as well as how to keep them from coming back!
Why Do Snakes Love My House?
Your house is a paradise for snakes because many have everything a snake needs to survive, mainly food and shelter.
You Have Other Animals Or Insects Near Your Home
The most obvious reason you might have a snake in your house is that you also have mice. Snakes love mice, so the odds of a snake being in your home are much higher if you have a rodent problem.
Snakes have other prey that may scurry around your yard or home and will attract them. This includes rats, mice frogs, eggs, baby birds, lizards, and worms.
Avoid over-watering your yard as a soggy environment will be prime real estate for a lot of snakes’ prey.
For instance, snakes LOVE mice. You can take a look at the things that attract mice for more info on minimizing those things to keep snakes away.
You Have Cool, Damp Areas
This is exactly what a snake is searching for when it enters your home, besides food, of course.
Snakes are cold-blooded, so they are looking for stable temperatures and an escape from too much heat or cold. You may see a snake after the weather has taken a turn for the worse, like in the fall.
You may find them within the walls, in the corners of garages and closets, crawl spaces, and in drop ceilings. They are very elusive, so you will probably see signs of them before seeing the actual snake itself.
How Do Snakes Get Into My House?
Unfortunately, there are several unnerving ways snakes can enter our houses, but don’t worry! Knowledge is power. By knowing every way they get in, you know how to prevent it.
The most common way snakes enter your home is through cracks and crevices around doors, especially between the garage and the garage door. Any small opening like that is perfect for them as they look for food and shelter, and will most likely find it in your home.
Another way they can get in is if you bring a potted plant inside for winter. Snakes have been known to burrow underneath the soil of potted plants, so you should carefully check the soil in your pots for holes before bringing them inside.
If you’ve thought a snake could slither up out of the toilet, then unfortunately you were right, but it is uncommon.
Snakes can come up out of the toilet drain by coming down the ventilation pipe on your roof (unlikely but possible!) To be safer, cover it with a roof vent hood, especially if you have trees hanging over your roof.
To put it in simpler terms, a snake can make its way into your home by any gap that exposes your house to the outdoors. Now, let’s look at how snakes get attracted to our yards, which makes the inside of your house more vulnerable.
Why Snakes Love Your Yard
Below, I have put some of the most common reasons snakes are coming to your yard. You can see our complete list in our other article, 7 Things That Attract Snakes to Your Yard and How to Fix Them, for a guide to identifying and fixing these problems.
Now onto the good stuff!
You Use Too Much Mulch
Snakes love cool, moist places, so mulch is a great spot for them.
If you use too much mulch in your yard, not only are you attracting snakes to make their homes underneath, you are also attracting invertebrates like centipedes and beetles, which snakes also love.
You should use tight-fitting rocks like gravel or river rock in your yard to keep snakes from slithering their way under your landscaping.
You Have Leaf Piles
If you rake up a pile of leaves and just leave it there, you have created a perfect hiding spot for snakes and their prey!
Just like mulch, snakes love the cool and moist environment of the leaves. Dispose of them properly to avoid attracting snakes to your yard, and eventually your home.
Your Landscaping Is Too Dense
Sometimes we want to add some rich color to our landscaping or hide an ugly paint job, but dense shrubbery makes a great hiding spot for rodents and snakes.
This is especially true if your shrubbery is unruly and you have not properly maintained it. They love the dark and secluded space the plants provide.
One more thing to note: some shrubs have roots strong enough to crack the foundation of your home, which creates a gateway for snakes to come in. Keep grass and landscaping trimmed to eliminate hiding spots and keep your shrubbery from damaging your foundation.
How To Get Rid Of Snakes Naturally
Now that we know why snakes are coming into our yards and homes, let’s learn the best ways to get rid of them without using chemicals or inhumane methods.
Make Sure To Identify The Snake
The first thing you need to do if you discover a snake is to determine whether it is venomous. Luckily, there are only four species of venomous snakes in the country, and they are generally hard to find. Here are four ways to tell if you are dealing with one of them or not.
Identify Specific Behaviors
One such snake that is notorious for its behavior is the rattlesnake. When threatened, it rattles its tail with a terrifyingly loud clicking sound.
However, some rattlesnake species do not have rattlers, so it is not always a reliable method of figuring out whether or not it is venomous. If you hear that rattle, stay far away and call animal control or pest removal services immediately.
You can read our full guide on the sounds and noises snakes make for more information!
Look For Distinct Coloring
Unfortunately, the four species of venomous snakes have their own sets of subspecies with their own color variations, so it’s hard to tell exactly what colors mean venomous. However, if a snake is all one color, it is usually non-venomous.
If the snake has banded colors, it is best to keep your distance, as it may be venomous.
Head Shape Is A Big Giveaway
Venomous snakes are notorious for their triangular-shaped heads, while non-venomous snakes have more rounded heads.
All four types of venomous snakes in the U.S. are recognized as pit vipers, which have distinct heads. These are two “pits” on their snouts located halfway between the nostrils and the eyes.
Be careful, though, if you are close enough to see the pits, you are way too close to that venomous snake! Back off immediately and call a professional.
Check The Shape Of The Snakes Pupil
It would take a close encounter with a snake for you to be close enough to see its pupils, but that is an easy way to tell if it is venomous or not.
Venomous snakes have slit-like pupils similar to a cat, while non-venomous snakes’ pupils are rounded.
What To Do If You See A Snake
Call Animal Control Or Pest Control
Since there’s SO many different areas this article could be read from, I really recommend calling a local professional and describing the situation and snake specifically over the phone!
Otherwise, this is a great way to get rid of the problem without dealing with it yourself. Even if you just suspect that you have a snake, pest removers will help you find it and prevent one from coming into your home again.
Use The Hose
This is the simplest way to get rid of snakes if they are in your yard. A simple, gentle blast from the hose is enough to get them moving. You can then guide them in the direction you want them to go.
If your property does not have any woods or dense brush, then you should use the hose to guide the snake into a sealable container. Release the snake as far from your house as possible, but be sure not to put it near someone else’s house!
Use A Broom
Again, be gentle with this. Mississippi State University wildlife experts suggest lightly touching the snake with a broom to get it to start moving but staying as far back as possible.
Get a sealable container and place it as close to the snake as you can before guiding it in. Then you can release it in a safe location.
Draw The Snake To Another Area
Don’t worry, there are other ways to get rid of snakes besides using a broom or hose.
You can prepare a snake for being caught by placing crumpled-up, damp cloths on the ground near it. Place another dry cloth on top of the damp ones to reduce evaporation. The folds of cloth make it easy for the snake to slither into, and the cool and moist environment will attract them.
Check the pile of cloths periodically for the snake. If you find it in there and not in one of your project, pick it up using a shovel or pitchfork and place it into a sealable container.
How To Keep Snakes From Coming Back
Once you have gotten rid of the snake, you are probably eager to do anything you can to keep one from coming back.
First, if you have a swimming pool, head over to my other article on some Easy Tips To Keep Snakes Out Of Your Swimming Pool for advice in that specific area. As for the rest of our property, let’s get into some deterrent methods!
Eliminate Their Environment
As I said before, snakes love cool, moist environments. Remove these types of spaces from around your home and yard and you lower the chance of seeing one.
The University of Colorado recommends moving firewood away from your home. If you have piles of leaves, dispose of them.
Remove brush, debris, and rock piles from your yard. Trim shrubbery and remember to cut your lawn regularly to keep it from growing too high, which is ideal for snakes.
You can also use certain snake sprays to help keep them away.
Eliminate Their Food Source
To keep rodents and insects out of your house, keep it clean.
Secure food in airtight containers and clean up any pet food or debris left behind that may attract pests.
If there is a pest infestation, call an exterminator to handle the problem so your house is free of snake food.
Use Their Sense of Smell Against Them
If you’d like to learn about this section more in-depth, take a peak at our piece on the scents that snakes hate! There you will find out all the ways to use the sense of smell to deter snakes. (Hint: You can plant the following plants in your yard to ward off snakes.)
However as a quick synopys, theres really only 2 scents that have been proven to repel snakes, and thats cinnamon and clove oil! So, you can use a commercial repellent like Bonide Stopper 8751 Snake Repellent which contains both ingredients.
That’s A Wrap!
The above information is all you need to know about getting rid of snakes naturally from your yard and home.
Luckily, there is no need to use inhumane methods to get rid of them. You can safely relocate them to another area and feel good about keeping an important predator in the ecosystem.
Keeping your yard maintained and eliminating any pests or cracks and crevices in your house is the best defense against a snake visit.
I hope this article was very helpful for you and you feel confident in keeping your home snake-free and in knowing exactly how to get rid of one if it gets in your home!
Cerato, M., and W.F. Andelt. “Coping With Snakes.” Colorado State University Extension, 24 May 2016.
Ernst, Carl H., and Evelyn M. Ernst. Snakes of the United States and Canada. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Books, 2003.
Knight, J. E. “A humane method for removing snakes from dwellings”. Wildlife Society Buletin. 14:301-303, 1986.
“Reducing Snake Problems Around Homes.” Mississippi State University Extension Service, Agricultural Communications, 2020.
Savarie, Peter J., and Larry Clark. “Evaluation of bait matrices and chemical lure attractants for brown tree snakes.” Proceedings of the Vertebrate Pest Conference. Vol. 22. No. 22. 2006.