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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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

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?

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.

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.

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.


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.


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!

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.

garter snakes

I can understand there being too many of them, but if you know they are garter snakes why on earth would you keep killing them?! If there are that many then there is what could be a much more serious problem with some sort of pest population in and around that house. There has to be an overpopulation of some sort of food source, bugs or baby mice. I suppose that will become very evident as you kill off those that are working to control it.

I faced such incident

I faced such incident

The first ti.e i spotted a

The first ti.e i spotted a snske in my room going up the ceiling i ran out n it gas been there ever since.I have a snake living in my ceiling. I live in farm house n try as much as I can to keep my surrounding tidy but I have this thick swampy area few meters from my house it house salamander monkeys all sort of animals bush rats even a bear was once spotted. My house is close to a river bank. What do I do.

Snake in the ceiling...

The Editors's picture

Our best recommendation is to contact an animal exterminator (that does not mean that they will kill it), especially if you do not know what type of snake it is. We have also heard of “catching” them in glue traps —sticky sheets, something like fly paper but larger (consult a general hardware or farm supply store). Even if they—or it—stick to the paper, you still have to remove it from your house. To release the snake from the sticky paper or glue trap, spray it with cooking oil. If that sounds like too much, go back to plan A and contact an expert.

Are there some ways to keep

Are there some ways to keep scorpions & snakes uncomfortable around homes in the country. Someone suggested spreading lime around the home. Does this work? If so what kind of lime?

Hi, Ruth: You could spread

The Editors's picture

Hi, Ruth: You could spread garden lime or any number of other substances around, but often this sounds better than it really works. A lot of this depends on the types of snakes and scorpions, but it's important to remember that the reason they sometimes can be around (and in) homes is that they are after the same things you are: warmth, food, and water. Since it would appear that warmth may not be a problem for you, focus on removing (or moving away) as many possible sources of insects and other small animals as possible (such as woodpiles, brush, mulch piles). Don't turn on insect-attracting lights at night. Seal up your home by inspecting every inch for entryways, however small -- and we do mean tiny, tiny. And eliminate (continually) sources of standing or running water. These measures should help -- but then again, the snakes and scorpions were here first and know what they're doing.

We own a nuisance wildlife

We own a nuisance wildlife removal company and get snake calls all summer long and into the early fall and yes we pull many from the inside of homes. But in all the years I have been doing this never have we pulled a venomous snake from inside a home (one was pulled from an office complex front hallway and it was just a baby copperhead but still deadly). Could it happen well sure other snakes find a way in why not a venomous one, regardless unless you know beyond a shadow of a doubt what snake it is DO NOT TOUCH it instead call a company like ours and for a reasonable fee will come out and remove it for you. It is by far cheaper to have us come out then get bit by a venomous snake and spend $50,000 and up if you are lucky enough to survive. Any questions you can call 678-935-5900 or visit one of our websites like


I woke up this morning,

I woke up this morning, meandered into the bathroom and saw a dark squiggly line in the toilet near the lip. Upon closer inspection I realized that it was a small snake, less than a foot long and a half inch around. Without hesitation I flushed the little guy. He went back down the drain and I flushed several times. Then I put toilet bowl cleaner in the bowl and flushed a couple more times. Thankfully I'm not afraid of snakes but it would have freaked me out if I found one in the toilet while actually using the facilities.

I too have an extreme phobia

I too have an extreme phobia of snakes. My husband and I just bought a wonderful old farmhouse with an attached barn. Luckily we live in Maine so almost all snakes are non-poisonous but that doesn't make them any less frightening. They are ALL anacondas to me!! We have mice and unfortunately rats because the former owner kept animals. The Pest Control gentleman tells us anyone who has grain will get rats no matter how clean they keep the barn and surrounding areas. We have had mice and baby rats come into the house and even up to our bedroom on the second floor so I can only imagine where rodents can travel, snakes can follow. AARGH...We have removed all grain except the hanging chicken feeders. All grain for them is stored in large steel trashcans with tight lids. We have no wood piles near the house and I refuse to have any rock walls because snakes love them. I am petrified a snake will get into the house. Sealing up all holes in the crawlspace under the house is virtually impossible because of the old granite foundation. Do mothballs work as a repellent or are commercial snake repellents effective? I have dogs and cats so I don't want anything harmful to them. I'm sorry as helpful as everyone tries to convince me snakes are, I really am not concerned about their well being. My anxiety level is rising as spring nears.

I want to put in a garden but am afraid of snakes in the raised beds I have here. I thought I would keep weeds at bay and reduce the hiding places for snakes in weeds by putting a thick layer of straw mulch down between the boxes. A friend said mice love straw-therefore I would be inviting the snakes to my garden as they love mice. Makes me want to call a realtor if I ever see one in the house. Anyone have suggestions besides Valium? Thanks...Lisa