Tell Us: Snakes in the House?

July 20, 2010
Garter Snake
Marc Feldman

Have you ever had a snake in your house? Several people relate horrifying experiences in “Snakes in the House!,” a feature article in The 2011 Old Farmer’s Almanac.

What’s your experience? How did you handle snakes in your house? Tell us all, because you never know…

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Snakes in or about the house

I've had a couple of snakes loose in my house. One was a close relative of garter snakes---a ribbon snake. My state allows us up to 5 specimens of non-game/non-endangered wildlife if they're not dangerous. If I see an interesting specimen I may bring it home if it's stupid enough to be in the road. I've had garter snakes, ribbon snake, black rat or "pilot black snakes", midlands brown snake, prairie king snake, worm snake, yellow-bellied racer and ( for a short visit ) rough green snakes. My motto---a house without a snake is not a home.

The ribbon snake, true to all literature about their captive care, escaped with a rapid unexpected lunge one day.

i snake-proofed the hot-air register and put an old screen-door screen across the doorway I could just barely step over. I'm not exactly the most tidy housekeeper so it was unlikely I'd hunt down the ribbon snake in my rather-messy bedroom. What I did was to make a "snake oasis" with a basking light and water dish in one corner. Eventually i did observe the escapee there and enticed it back into-hand with a dead minnow and could finally enter/exit my bedroom without high-stepping again.

A rat-snake was taken off a roadway and put into an enclosure in my living-room. One night I was in a hurry to get somewhere and noticed the water needed changing so I changed it and neglected to duct-tape the far end of the mesh lid in my haste. You can guess the rest. The last sign I saw of that snake was a shed skin in my basement---complete perfect shed so it must have been keeping relatively healthy. I suspect it to have escaped where the basement beam rests in the poured cement foundation and there's a gap around the "I" beam.

This was a rather oddly-behaved rat snake. I would sometimes get it out and carry it to the bathroom to view itself in the mirror to see if it would "get it" or for a visit with the cat---I always tried to "enrich" the indoor cat's somewhat limited experience of wildlife when possible. She loved to pat at the lycosa paradosa spider I found in the basement one time and put in a small plastic enclosure and a temporary visit from a praying mantis was always popular as they like to leap-fly from point to point and that'll get a cat's attention.

But sometimes as I'd be carrying this rat snake I'd feel something and look down to find it literally "chewing" on my hand! I've had many a snake strike/bite me defensively in my time as you can probably well imagine but any snake---this species included---I've ever had captive before has never bitten me after becoming used to being handled ( and I don't usually handle most species much so they can be returned to the wild in a wild state ) but this is the only snake that's ever started just "chewing" on my hand like that. No upset. No "musking". Very odd!

I hope it lived a long and profitable life somewhere around here ridding the subdivision of rodents. We have more than our share...

I also have a captive-bred Nelson's milk-snake bought at a "reptile show" and certainly one of this continent's most attractive creatures.

I like spiders and snakes so you know my name isn't Jim Stafford! I envy you your visits in your garden and greenhouse by local garter snakes. They're very active and visually-oriented and as-such make a far more interesting study-specimen than a lot of other species. They also tend to feed well. Their demeanor can range from very laid-back to very "huffy" and the one I have now has bitten me during water-change/enclosure-maintenance events more times than all the other snakes I've ever kept combined.

I would rank midlands brown snakes or other related brown snakes as a good combination of good feeders, being small and easily-housed and almost always having a calm/tractable demeanor.

--Diogenes

Garter snake

I found a beauty in my shed. Again I am thankful I saw him/her as well! I wasn’t sure it was a garter snake. I had to look up what kind he/her was. Living in west Texas we have many kinds of snakes some venomous some not. It was a pleasant surprise to see it.

Snake in the basement

We had a snake in our basement last year (2018) in the late spring. It was underneath the double sink by the washing machine. It was a garter snake, maybe 6 inches long. I know bugs & small critters get in under the cellar door, so it was probably well fed. I put a container of water near it & left it alone. My husband and I would look for it when we went down. It left after a couple of months.

Garter snake in the house

I live in a Chicago suburb and earlier today found a garter snake laying across the edge of the top of my thin line screen t.v. How hell did he get there?????

Black snake in my hall

I never kill snakes because they keep other animals away but this one startled me and I killed it I feel bad but it's to late and I heard it could mean different things good or bad and just wondering if anyone knows what it can mean thanks the snake lover

Love These Blankety-Blank Snakes on this Blankety-Blank Farm

I actually have two recent snake stories to share and since I don't know how much space you allow I might have to tell it in more than one instalment.
Most recently, I became aware of a very Large (6 to 8 foot) Black snake who likes to patrol the area between my house and garden plot which is approximately 50 feet from the back deck of our home. Like you, Marc, I treasure him or her for the great job they do in handling pests. I have even been told that a large Black snake will eliminate smaller poisonous snakes like copperheads which we are also blessed to have here in the Ozark Mountains. A few nights ago I was coming in from the barn, after feeding and watering my horses There on the sidewalk was the very large Black Snake, contorted into a strange position, and rolling himself into a ball. A closer inspection revealed that he was in the process of eating an adult sparrow, using his curved teeth to hold it in his mouth and an unhinged jaw to pull his skin around his prey. I watched A full 15 minutes which is all it took for him to swallow the entire bird and glide back into the shrubbery with a now bird shaped lump in his body I would prefer he or she eat vermin as you suggested, but at least the song bird population here will get stronger because, as Mr. Darwin has pointed out the slower birds will get winnowed out, making the following generations stronger.Right?
My second encounter was a little more intense and was quite nearly the end of yours truly. near the end of a long day, I went into my garage to pick up some tools and straighten things out for the day. It was a warm day so I had left my garage door up. Earlier that day, I had misplaced a leather glove, and had been looking for it all day. Suddenly, in the dim light of the garage I saw the lost glove lying near the leg of one of my tool boxes so I bent over to pick it up. I picked up the glove and raised it into the light only to discover that it was in fact, a 25inch copperhead snake. I looked at him and he looked at me, and I am convinced the only reason I was not bitten was that the snake could not believe how stupid I was. Rather than throw him, which in that instant seemed it would take too long, I simply opened my hand and let him fall to the floor. So Mr. Darwin's theory does have some holes in it because, by all accounts My actions should have resulted in my being thinned from the herd, there- by making the species stronger. I did manage to shout out "Jesus Christ" before I dropped him, which is what I believe the Bible instructs us to do,when In that situation. Could someone with more biblical acumen than I, please educate us. God is Great and Jesus is Lord. Amen.
The reason I know his exact length is because I followed him underneath my freezer with a single shot .22 and dispatched him straight away. As I have said I admire snakes and I know they have a very important place in the Good Lord's Plan. I also know that place is not in my garage, where I work, often on my back, eye to eye with said serpent. I hope you can understand. Regardless the score is Scared Cowboy 1 Snakes 0

Copperhead in the garage

Hello. I love snakes but I don't blame people for eliminating venomous snakes capable of causing serious envenomations in and around their homes.

The good news is if your venomous visitor had opted to bite you there's never been a documented case of anyone in North America dying as a result of a copperhead bite. That said if venom is delivered you're in for an unpleasant time of it. Juveniles are more likely to deliver venom than older/larger specimens because the older ones realize they need to conserve their venom as it's an important adjunct to pre-digestion and the subduing of their prey items. Juveniles of both copperheads and water moccasins will have a yellow tip on their tails and are as-stated earlier more likely to envenomate in a defensive bite. Many people have experienced fortunate "dry bites" from pit vipers biting defensively though it's nothing upon-which to depend. If you want to encourage species that eat other snakes the ( literally ) king of such snakes would be kingsnakes and their close relatives though pretty much any snake will take other snakes as prey if they can. King in the name of a snake will generally indicate it's being somewhat of a specialist in eating other snakes. Even the king cobra. Milk snakes also tend to be eaters of other snakes. I beleive ( though don't quote me ) this to be true of racers as well.

It may be you were endangering your own well-being more by firing a firearm within the confines of a building--especially with a cement floor as I'm assuming to have been the case (?) unless you were using some sort of special shell containing small shot or possibly frangible "shooting range" sintered bullets as were once common at fairs and carnivals. If there's a right-angle between two hard surfaces like a cement floor and a cinder-block or cement block wall you could get a ricochet right back to the source of the projectile minus any ballistic trajectory issues. .22s can seem relatively safe but I believe maybe even now are responsible for more injuries and deaths than other calibers due to their being so prevalent and sometimes disrespected due to their seeming so small and low-powered. They're not. I saw a you tube of one guy killing a feral hog with one shot from a standard .22 by good shot-placement. He shot it right in the ear canal and that funneled it right to the brain and there wasn't much in the way of struggling . The boar hog fell down dead and the rear legs twitched a couple of times.

There are snake repellents. I don't know if they work well or not but snakes are <i>not</i> fond of terpenes which are found in evergreen tree saps and many other plants. I would tend to suspect terpenes of being the basis of snake repellents. The local feed/seed store near me sells 'em.

Diogenes

Snake in my home

My cat is a real hunter. Finding mice, birds, and snakes and playing with them. The other day, it was getting dark and as I let him in the house for the night, he has a garter snake in his mouth about six to eight inches long. I HATE snakes and cannot even watch them on t v. I was screaming and he eventually lost interest. I went to get a broom to try to get it out and when I came back, it disappeared. I am afraid to live in my own home. Who can I call or how can I find it. What can I do?

How you can eliminate the snake your cat brought in your

First I'm going to tell you something you will not appreciate. Your cat should not be out ranging around wantonly destroying wildlife outdoors. It's a danger to the cat---watch it try to take on a racoon sometime and let me know what the vet bills were...

In areas where there are lizards the black-footed deer tick that is often implicated in spreading Borrelia burgdorferi spirochetes ( so-called Lyme disease ) to humans prefers to feast on lizards at the instar before it goes after deer/human size hosts if there is a healthy population of lizards. Lizards are really easy for cats to catch/kill because they're slow-moving in the morning before basking in sun to speed up their metabolisms. The cat observes a lizard basking regularly in the morning and knows right where to go to have some fun playing with easily-caught prey.

The ticks, at the instar where they pick up the spirochetes use mouse or lizard-size hosts. If they parasitize a deer mouse that's where they pick up the spirochete. It needs a warm-blooded creature to survive.

Lizards don't carry Borrelia burgdorferi spirochetes. Also they don't groom themselves and are cold-blooded and thus more torpid and easily latched-onto by the ticks at night when it's cool.

My neighborhood was rife with lizards---until cats became more popular. Bye bye lizards.

So there's one good reason to eliminate the basic cause of your now ( possibly ) having a snake @large in your dwelling.

Another is that cats tend to be the major spreader of toxoplasmosis. Even though you can get it from eating undercooked beef the way the cattle get it is cats hanging around feedlots using feed troughs for impromptu cat-boxes and if a cow will eat a "downer cow" ( bovine spongioform encephalopathy ) they'll certainly eat a cat turd in their feed.

If a gestating woman contracts toxoplasmosis for the first time during certain stages of gestation her offspring are likely to be born with birth defects or developmentally-disabled or both. Or worse in a worst-case scenario. So if Whiskers uses the neighbor-lady's garden for his/her cat-box and she's digging around in the garden while preggers and if she's not always so careful about keeping dirty hands away from her mouth your relieving yourself of some of the litter-box cleaning chores may result in a rather major tragedy for another for which you will never be blamed/sued or otherwise held responsible. So that will leave things up to "karma" to deal with. In my experience with refraining from taking karma into my own hands I would far prefer to be sued or cited for an ordinance violation...

And if you believe that loose roaming cats will control disease-carrying rodent infestations guess again. Rodents find the feces of predator species like cats and dogs to be a rich source of nutrients and for every rat the cats manage to actually kill their deposits of rich and yummy rodent provender undoes that supposed benefit of letting cats roam around despoiling other people's property, spreading diseases and wantonly destroying often-beneficial ( and sometimes protected-by-law ) wildlife. .

All that said as stated in my earlier post you could make a "snake oasis" in some corner of your home and then make sure any other sources of water or basking light---as in keeping the shades drawn so there's no sunlight streaming in on the floor for the snake to chuse over your incandescent clamp-lamp and so your water-dish is the only source of water---the snake is likely to turn up there sooner or later. Then have some snake-loving 10yr-old of your acquaintance come in and catch it for you once you notice it hanging around there.

If it's a garter snake you might also try putting some worms and soil in a container that's too high for the snake to get out of and providing objects it could climb on the outside of the container to where it can climb up to the top of the container---a high plastic trash can might work well----the probably-starving-by-now snake is likely to smell the food in the bottom of the container and worry about how it's going to get back out later. Garter snakes are voracious feeders. You could put a little water and some cheap golden-comet goldfish in the bottom of the trash can if you're as vermiphobic as you are ophidiophobic. Many people who are ophidiophobes are also terrified of worms because they superficially resemble snakes.

And as noted in my reply to the guy who shot the copperhead in his garage there are snake repellents you can buy. So you could put some around your bed. That's probably your worst fear---the snake crawling up in bed with you to warm itself off your body-heat while you're asleep.

I've had snakes loose in my house more than once and I sleep on the floor too and I've never been bothered. But just putting the snake repellent around your bed might give you more peace-of-mind. I can't speak to whether those work or not because I've never experimented with them. I'd rather find a serviceable snake *attractant*.

Snake in house

First, let me tell you every article I could find on snake poo said the same thing. You will know it is snake poo because it will have hair, teeth or bones in it and some white color, a snake only expels waste when it has eaten. This is completely false. Now the story.
I live in the country. I have a well manacured lawn, keep all the shrubs trimmed, no piles of debris anywhere near my home. I keep an immaculate house, we don't even where shoes in the house...ever! We do have a healthy abundance of frogs, lizards and baby birds everywhere and with that we have many rat snakes. I have found them hanging out around my shutters, bird feeders, hanging baskets, thresholds of doors and on my windows. I never kill them, just move them to the wildlife area on the edge of my yard. Everytime I walk in or out of my house I scan for snakes, always fearful that one will slip in. About 6 weeks ago a pipe in our attic busted and caused some damage to our home. When the carpenters came to repair the damage I told them we have quite a few snakes that live around the house, just be aware. I walked in my bedroom to see how it was coming and to my horror, the bedroom window was open all the way and the screen was out. I immediately went into panic mode and was upset about it. They were using the window to transfer debris out so they wouldnt track through the house. I told them again about the snakes and ran to get my ipad, I take a pic of every snake I encounter, and showed them a picture of a rat snake on that very window. Needless to say, one of the guys shut the window and the other went out to roll his windows up in his truck. Since then we had our house re-plumbed and 17 new windows installed. Each time I stressed how many snakes I find each summer, usually 8-12. I was convinced a snake had come in at some point, especially with the back door opening and closing 50 times a day. Now here it is 6 weeks later and yesterday I found a wet pile of poo in my hallway! I knew it was a snake, however I googled what snake poo looks like. Sort of like a bird but no splatter, like a frog but no solid piece and to large of an amount to be a lizard. THERE WAS NO HAIR, BONES OR TEETH IN IT. I tried to convince myself it wasn't a snake, but knew deep down the articles had incorrect information and that I had a snake. I figured the time line and assumed the snake was moving around now due to hunger and sure enough I almost stepped on a 4 ft rat snake coming into the kitchen! He or she was very thin, weak probably because it hadn't fed and because of the a/c. My husband came right home, I never took my eyes off of it because I sure didnt want him to disappear, he handed me a pool stick which I trapped him with and a towel.we were able to safely remove it to the cornfield. Now I just hope it did not lay eggs somewhere. Will post again if we find babies in another month or 2.

Snake feces

Hello.

I've kept a number of different species of snakes. My boa constrictor I had when I was a kid usually made well-formed stools sort of like a tiny little dog or cat might make. Boas tend to be slow-moving lethargic creatures.

More active snakes---rat snakes are a good example there---will tend to have messier feces. They're a little more nervous and rapid-moving. Also pretty clever. I was keeping a couple for my neighbor who'd gotten them from the biology lab at school at the end of the school year. I once saw one of those constricting one mouse and at the same time it pinned two other mice with parts of it's body it wasn't using to constrict the first prey-item so that the next two wouldn't escape before it could get them too.

Garter snakes are active movers. Once-again I rarely see what could be described as a "well formed stool" with them. Usually more like a solidified ( by the time I get to it with a plastic spoon to remove along with some of the subsrate ) poo-pool.

The white you'll see in their droppings is what they do instead of urinating. I believe it's the same with birds.

I believe it's guanine crystals but stand to be corrected by someone more knowledgeable. Never have I seen bones, hair or teeth in the feces of any snake I had which I knew to be consuming prey covered with fur or their flesh draped around an internal skeleton. I suppose it could happen if the snake had the reptile equivalent of diarrhea.

If your scaly visitor was that emaciated it probably wasn't going to be dropping any fertile eggs. Even if it did there'd have to be some situation where there's rotting plant material that would provide some heat. Your AC probably also would dehydrate them to the extent they wouldn't remain viable if they ever could have been. It could happen but I'd advise you the odds are very-much against it.

I hope that gives you some relief from your concerns. Thanks for not just summarily executing snakes when you see 'em. Here's what I have to say to people who are inn8snakeH8ers when I tell 'em I like 'em. Anyone who has no arms or legs---and precious few friends in this world ---but who gets up every day and goes out and tries to "beat the world" has *my* vote.

Snakes in house

I live in a residential Cape Cod house built on a slab. This morning I found 3 baby black snakes in a two hour time period! I have never seen these babies in my home before, although several years ago I had a large garden snake inside my home that I was able to get rid of. Does this mean I may have a mother snake in my home that had babies? Three in a couple of hours sounds extreme! If my home is built on a slab, where would a good hiding place for a snake be?

Snakes sneaking into my pet mice cages

I had 3 instances that a wild snake had gotten into my house as well as my mouse cages through the bars and ate my pet mice. The first time this happened I was in shock, because the bars for one cage were very tiny and had no idea how the snake managed to get through the bars. They are sneaky critters. I just let the snake go outside, because I don't believe it is right to kill them. We were going to move the rest of my mice to a terrarium, but before I got the chance another snake had gotten to one of my mice that I had a good bond with. I was angry with the snake even though, I never got to see the snake that killed my Schemer baby. My fiance had put the cage outside until we figured what to do about this snake. I was conflicted with what to do with this snake. I wanted a body to bury, because I really loved my furbaby, but then I also didn't feel right having the snake killed. In the end I decided for my fiance's sister and her fiance to take the snake far away from the house and to release the snake. Before they could do that the snake had left the cage and had thrown up my mouse's body. I was able to give him a proper resting place. After that we moved the 2 mice I had left out of the place they were at. We sealed up the places we thought they were getting in from. My mouse Spike had been moved into a terrarium. I was going to get my mouse Leta her own terrarium at a later time, due to money. I had her cage on top of the terrarium, because I thought they wouldn't be able to climb up to get to her. Boy was I dead wrong. The one day, I decide that I was going to stay at my parents house another night was the day that another snake had gotten to her. I was devastated. I really thought we had sealed every area they were coming in from. I had thought something sinister had been going on, because it happened when I was not there. The 2nd mouse I have now is in a small critter keeper until I am able to get a cage without bars. Again the snake that killed Leta vanished from the cage, but this time no body to bury. No pet mouse or other rodents can live in any bar cage while we are still at this particular house. I was supposed to be getting a hamster, but I am going to have to wait until I get a cage without wire, plastic bars, or a terrarium first. I am really praying that we have sealed everything completely off this time. It is not just my mice I have to worry about, it is also the parakeets and cockatiel too. I had his mom seal off the vent by her room, because that was an area we think they got in from. Before losing 3 of my mice I had an event that I literally rescued my mouse Spike from a snake. The snake was partially in his cage, so I yanked the snake out of his old cage saving his life. Again money was an issue, so I wasn't able to get a terrarium back then. Now, I am not taking any chances. I really am tired of losing my pet mice to wild snakes. I used to like snakes too, but then these things had happened to make me not like them so much. There are loads of reasons why I have more respect for mice and other small rodents. I really hope this snake problem will be no more. I am on vacation right now and I am worried about my mousies while I am away. Even though they should be safe from snakes I am still worried. If anyone has small rodents as pets, I advice to either have a terrarium with a lid, bin cage, or put very tiny spacing of mesh/hardware cloth over every part of their cage as a precaution.

snakes eating pet mice

If your home is really that porous it would probably be easier for you to make a snake-proof place to keep your mouse cages.

You might try watching craigs list or just what people are putting out for trash pickup. If you could get a metal shelf unit that's the same width as some old triple-track type storm windows you could put the storm window frames on the shelf units on the front and the window-screens ( take out the glass panels ) would exclude snakes from the shelves upon which your mouse cages are located.

Your mice may like the open air and being able to hear you stirring around, smelling you coming and knowing you're going to feed or play with them. You could even just get some old storm-doors and make an enclosure---once-again taking out the glass and leaving only screens---and you could put your own shelves inside said enclosure. Aluminum storm-door frames are sturdy. Use your imagination. But for-sure making a snake-proof enclosure just protecting your potential snake-food pets is by-far the most practical solution. You could even use a large cardboard box and get roll-screening at a hardware store and staple it on the cardboard box where you've cut out panels and you could put that over a table ( or "whatever" upon which your mouse cages sit.

Anything a snake can get it's head into it can get the rest of itself into. The heads are very flexible because this enables them to engulf large prey in relation to their closed-mouth-size. So before they've swallowed the prey they can get in through relatively narrow openings. Getting out again may be another matter and this is the basis for one type of primitive trap used sometimes in areas where there are large constrictor snakes which may have eaten some kid and the village wants to trap it and dispatch it.

I have a colony of wild deer mice in my living room--formerly my mouse-infestation. Since they're wild I don't handle them or play with them and treat them as-if they're a biohazard but they can be interesting to watch and from which to learn things which would be helpful in eliminating future infestations which may occur.

I believe the original founders of my infestation may have entered under a screen door during weather permissive of natural "air conditioning" because my door sweep doesn't fit tight on the threshold.

Deer mice are very attractive little animals but ( unfortunately ) carry just about every zoonotic pathogen known and feared-by man. There's another reason to put your mice behind window-screen. If snakes can get in your house wild mice can too and they could pass some very dangerous pathogens on to your domestic-type mice and you could then fall prey to such contagions. Han River or "hanta virus"---sometimes called The Navajo Flu in the four-corners area of the U.S. desert-southwest---is a very dangerous and insidious virus you could be exposed to that way. Serology done on inner-city kidney dialysis patients shows a much higher rate of antibodies for Han River virus than the general population. You can get an acute infection that can be dire or you can get a sub-clinical infection you might think to be just a cold. But then it's "in you" and insidiously destroying your internal organs over a long period of time--especially, apparently, kidneys.

Good luck with your situation. I'm glad you don't just summarily assassinate the snakes. They're only doing what snakes do. They don't know any better. And they'r prey to hawks, owls, pigs, crows&ravens, cats, coyotes and yes other snakes. Their lives are no picnic.

Good luck with that.

Diogenes

Snake in my bedroom

So, I stay in a bedroom that is in the basement of my son's home. They have had Garter snakes in the yard and we notice one climbing into a crack in the concrete steps just outside the back door. I told my son that they might want to seal that so that it doesn't end up in the house. To which, I got, oh, they won't get in the house. Well.... this morning, I was sitting on my bed in the bedroom when I saw something out of the corner of my eye. Sure enough, it was a snake. I have an EXTREME phobia of snakes, so all I could do was sit on the bed and scream my lungs out!!! My son, finally, came down stairs and was going to try to catch it under a waste basket. It ended up getting under a piece of furniture, so they couldn't get at it. It took a lot of to get me off that bed!! Anyway, we closed the door and called Animal Control. They told us they were busy and short handed. My son kept going down and checking on it and would see if from time to time, STILL in my room. When Animal Control showed up two hours later, they guy went downstairs banged on the wall a couple of times and came back up and said he couldn't find it. He wasn't even here 5 minutes; I was not happy! He told us to get sticky traps and place them along the walls and "if" it gets stuck on one of the tapes, they will come out and remove it. I asked him if it could get up the steps from the basement, to the main floor, and he said it could. I'm totally freaked out. I know it's going to show up when I'm by myself. I can't even bring myself to go back downstairs to my room, which was once my sanctuary.

Snake in basement room

At least you got to say "I told you so"...

I don't like to do this but I will tell you that if you don't mind your floor getting wet if you dump a small container---couple of gallons---of water that's about 60 degrees F on the snake it may very well suddenly become immobile and might take quite awhile to recover---making it easily shoved in some sort of container and carried outdoors where both of you will be much happier. I've seen this happen with a pair of black rat-snakes which had made quite a mess in their enclosure and needed a shower. Cold water from the hose wasn't such a great idea. It scared me I might have done them some sort of injury. But they did recover. It may not be so dramatic with a garter snake. I think they're a little more cold-tolerant. But it should slow it down enough to make it more easily corralled into some container.

As to that crack where it got in if your son doesn't want to fix it why not get a big roll of aluminum foil and wad it up into wads and then poke it tightly into the crack until it's all "filled"? It should exclude snakes then and also a lot of other critters too while we're at it. It may not exclude water seepage but that's not what you're trying to achieve. Use some sort of a stick and a rubber mallet to pack it in good. Actually if the surface of the cement or brick isn't too flaky you might be able to exclude critters like that by taping over the crack with a roll of duct tape.

Diogenes

Snakes

I've noticed movement under my carpet .Looks like they have found away in their under the padding of my carpet how can I get them out without taking the carpet up ? If anyone has any suggestion I would be very Greatful for any information.Thank You Dora from Ga.

snakes

This is the third snake in a week I have found in the cabin. I am going to post photos. Someone on Facebook said they are Corn snakes. I just put them back outside. I live in a cabin in the Blue ridge Mountains. It is just part of life.

snakes and spiders - venemous and not - indoors and out

Since moving to where both bw spiders and prairie rattlers are not uncommon, and since there's no way I can afford med care especially a stint in ICU for bites from either, I've shifted from catch/release to 'kill on sight' with each of these.

BW spiders indoors are 'goners' via vacuum. Those outdoors, if some distance from the house, are ignored, otherwise stomped, hit with a rock, or whatever's easiest. The BWs are common enough I find I no longer whisper an apology as I kill! :(

Rattlers are 'goners' regardless. I live close to many families and there is no reliable assistance to safely catch/release. On 'behalf of myself and neighborhood', rattlers are dispatched with a quick chop of a sharp edged long handled spade. (I carry such a spade with me or keep one near while doing yard work. I cannot hope for these dangerous snakes to stay put while I go get a shovel!) I don't end up killing more than one a year at most, most years I never see one and do keep a sharp eye out for them.

I *do* have and 'protect' garter snakes. Great for control of mice and for keeping noise of abundant crickets down! In fact, any snake that has a long, narrowing, sharply pointed, tail is left alone. I also yell at my 2 dogs to 'get back if I see them show interest in a snake since until I see the animal I have to assume it could be a rattler. The dogs have annual snake vaccinations but this is usually considered "helpful toward survival" rather than assurance.

This morning a new development! Walked into kitchen mid-morning to find a garter snake, slender but about 24" long, smack in the center of the floor area. It wasn't there only minutes before! I've trained myself to check for 'pointy tail' before getting overly excited. Nice, longish, slender and very pointed tail. (Shape of head also a huge clue but for some reason tail seems faster way to check to my brain.) I went to get a sheet of cardboard to guide it out back kitchen door only to find it missing when I returned. I checked recycle collection corner and there it was, behind a box. I realized it had many places to hide unless I could cause it to head for the door. Decided a soft broom might do (could possibly sweep it along if needed) and used the broom to steadily 'bang' softly on the box it hid behind, causing it to slide away from the noise toward the already opened back door. (I've learned with herding cattle - make the noise 'behind' the animal or at least behind it's 'front end'. Noise too close to the front of an animal causes it to turn left or right instead of going forward!) As it emerged from boxes and slid along wall I followed a short distance behind it, keeping up the soft sounding bang of broom against wall. I maintained a 'slow steady beat'. I had no reason to try to excite or frighten the snake, but did want it to get moving.

Worked like a charm! Within minutes the snake slithered over the door jam and onto the cement porch floor and from there out to the yard.

BUT - then I began to wonder: what if it had been a rattler? Could I 'chop' a rattler especially if I was indoors and my handy sharp long handled spade was outdoors? Hmm ... I know from previous experience that I cannot call anyone to come deal with a rattler and still hope to know where the snake is by the time anyone might arrive. My 'clever plan' at this moment is to put as many extension wand pieces as possible on vacuum and pull the snake into the vacuum. My canister vacuum's don't have bags, so if it works, I'll have the snake confined, probably still alive and very upset, amid whatever was in the bag (dust and pet hair). Then what! My plan is to stuff a towel into end of vacuum hose and hand-carry the container to ... somewhere? ... Maybe to sheriff's office? I've not thought that far yet.

I came online for evidence of anyone using a vacuum to pick up a snake. No luck re snakes but this discussion does describe vacuum as a catch/release or at least capture life a toxic house intruder. So I thank all of you for the many tales and shares and am resolved that IF a rattler appears inside my house my best bet is likely the vacuum. I feel better already! :)

rattlers, spiders, and staying alive

Whew—this was some armchair adventure, Maggie. Lots to learn from your experience. You have got what it takes! Thanks for sharing these true tales!

Basement Milk Snakes

We have had milk snakes in our basement (crawl-space) in northeastern Vermont for years; only once has one made its way up into the house (about a yard long--I caught it and put it out in the woodshed), and I also found a skin in my bedroom. Recently we had plastic put down there to reduce the moisture from the dirt floors, and the installers removed quite a few snakes. Unfortunately, as a result the mouse population in the house absolutely exploded! We have been trapping the mice but kind of hoping that the milk snakes would just move back in and re-balance the ecosystem. A recent decline in the mouse population suggests they might have. Now that I know how helpful they are I'll be more welcoming; the mice were destructive in a way the snakes never were!

mice and snakes

Just goes to show that for every action there is a reaction, Barbara.  …  Remember, if the snakes don’t work out or return for some reason, cats tend to keep mice away, too.

Garter snakes in my house

I live in Flagstaff Arizona and March of last year and then just yesterday June 17 I found a pretty large garter snake on the floor in my bedroom. I think it may have been underneath the bed and just decided to crawl out. I have a cat i'm wondering if she could've brought it in, I did not see any injury to the snake but of course it scared the crap out of me. Like many people I have a strong phobia of snakes. This is actually the third snake that I have found in my house and specifically my bedroom in the last 2 1/2 years. my house is not on the slab I do have a basement or I should say a crawlspace. I'm kind of afraid to go under the house to lock if there is an infestation what should I do ?

The Foundation of the Problem

Hi, Chris: Garter snakes won’t harm you and in fact are just part of Nature’s food chain, eating insects and even mice before they are eventually dispensed with themselves. Of course, we understand that this does not assuage your fears. The most important thing you can do is to seal off your house in a very meticulous, careful manner, paying attention to even the tiniest openings. You can do this from the outside. Inspect not just the foundation, but also where it meets the house, plus any possible openings above the ground, such as door jambs. While this may seem impossible at first glance, it is very doable in almost all cases. Whether you have a nest under your house (unlikely, or you would see more snakes) or your place has just become a good place to visit, as you begin to close it off, if “anybody” is down there, they are likely to get the message and leave. Good luck!

Sealing out snakes

One of the most convenient things which could be used to seal out snakes and insects/spiders is one of the expanding aerosol foam products.

My wonderful town turned the vernal pools where mole salamanders, frogs and toad-frogs bred into seldom-used tennis courts. Over the years populations of brown-banded cockroaches burgeoned and toads were seldom seen anymore. My yard had some evergreens which would bleed a lot of sap if I limb were broken off or cut off. Evidently the roaches found this to be delicious nectar. To make things worse a contractor had cut the band-board of the house out to make a cement door-jamb when pouring a cement porch and there were gaps. So a large population of smelly cockroaches could shelter from cold weather by entering the basement through that poorly-executed cut in the band-board. This allowed their population in my yard to become so great that you couldn't stand-still at night without having one run up your leg inside your pants.

Once I discovered about a gallon of the smelly things sheltering from cooler weather on top of my foundation and on the floor joists surrounding that poorly-executed bandboard cut I got out the shop-vac and vacuumed those up but then I went all around my house and filled every crack with an expanding-foam product. The census for brown-banded cockroaches in my yard went down markedly after that and no more buckets of them stenching-up the area around my front door in the basement. That's how I discovered them sheltering there--the stench.

This solution would work equally-well for snakes. I doubt it would discourage rodents ( unfortunately ) unless one wadded up some .25" hardware cloth mesh in larger gaps prior to using the sealant. Those products are easy to use but just be sure you don't get any on anything you don't want having foam stuck to it because the resin they use for that type material will stick to virtually anything.

I hope my roach-exclusion experience will be found helpful to those wishing to excluded snakes.

Diogenes

Two dead snakes

I found a dead chicken snake behind my dryer. Two days later found another dead chicken snake behind the dryer. A few minutes after my dad got the dead one out of the house we saw a live one under the washing machine. it Ended up slithering out a opening that i assume lead under the house. I really would like to know what causef the first two to die in exact same spot and wonder if the third would have died too. Anyone have any thoughts on this?

Snakes in the house

My son had a 3.5 foot ball python. He escaped his cage. Was missing for about 3 weeks. Then one day, we start to cook on my glass top stove and there's a horrible stench! Well, needless to say, we found the snake. Don't ever offer me a bite of cooked rattlesnake (they say it tastes like chicken). If it tastes anything like a ball python smells....Yuuuuukkk!!

ball python appetizers

That’s a great story, Sherry. Yuck is the word!

Garter snake infestation in rental home

I started renting my home in March in Black Creek, wi. Saw my first sign of snakes in March as well even with snow on the ground! Landlord didnt believe me that there was an infestation at home. He was already planning on changing siding prior to me renting. Well siding project took about 3 to 4 months to complete. Meanwhile i would see snakes randomly in basement and more outside home. Well its fall and with fall snakes tend to hibernate. I was killing a good 20 or more snakes a day on warm days outside my home within 5 feet of walls slithering around. Let landlord know once again that they were outside home and getting into foundation of home. Again he doesnt remedy the situation but tells me if i contact him again about snake issue he is calling cops for harrassment. Well his wife shows up and badically tells me i am crazy as well but while she was outside telling me how "sealed" my home was we saw a really small one about a foot long slithering around outside of walls. She went to kill it i told her "no" watch and see where it goes. Well it planted itself by my dryer vent and basement window. Still telling me i dont have an infestation but agrees to silicone around windows. While in basement i could hear something crawling on insulation in ceiling tiles. Yep it was confirmed i got them inside my home. Her remedy now is to get snake traps instead of hiring a snake expert to remove the source. Today is the day though that we get to see how many are in my home considering i would kill at least 20 outside my home!

infested rental

The Editors's picture

We are speechless, Frances. Best wishes for good riddance.

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