Snakes are beneficial creatures, but most people have no desire to have one living near them. The best way to get rid of snakes depends on where you live, but eliminating areas that attract them can help. If you find a snake, you may want to call an expert to remove it.
A problem with snakes is most common for those living in rural areas. These homeowners tend to live near places that are the animal's natural habitats, so it is probably inevitable that one will cross their property lines occasionally. One of the best ways to get rid of snakes in rural areas is prevention. The homeowner should clear out areas that are attractive to them, including old buildings, woodpiles, refuse piles — anywhere isolated and quiet. Snakes avoid humans when possible, so these sites where they can stay hidden are naturally attractive.
Prevention also is crucial for city or suburb dwellers. People who have a woodpile or other quiet corner of the yard should move anything that would be attractive to these animals. Rural and city dwellers alike also need to make sure they don't have mice or rat infestations, since predators follow the food supply.
A homeowner who sees a snake on his property should not touch it or get very close to it. Obviously, a slender, bright green one seen in the U.S. is probably a harmless garter snake, but some venomous and non-venomous varieties look like each other at a distance, and by the time the person is close enough to determine the species, he may be bitten.
The homeowner should keep an eye on the snake and see if any others show up. Sometimes, people can be fooled into thinking they see several, when in reality, it is the same one, just hunting on their property.
If a city dweller sees a snake for more than a couple of days running, he should contact animal control. They are trained to deal with reptiles, and can safely remove the animal from the property. Rural homeowners have the option of ignoring it and hoping it leaves on its own, especially if they have a large yard. If someone finds a den of snakes, however, or sees more than one or two at a time, it is probably time to call the county agent to see if there is anyone in the area who specializes in catching wild animals. The den needs to be removed from near a human dwelling.
A county agent may also be able to recommend "snake repellent." Some companies make substances specifically designed to repel these animals. They may be chemicals that emit a repellent odor, or a type of substrate that is uncomfortable for it to crawl over. The homeowner should make certain these repellents are safe for use around children and outdoor pets.
Snakes in the yard are one thing, but ones in the house are something else again. This is a situation that needs immediate attention — particularly if they are venomous. Most snakebites occur when the animal is stepped on or otherwise harassed, and a family member or pet could be bitten.
The homeowner should make sure all family pets are safe, either in crates or with the local veterinarian. Then, he should call animal control and apprise them of the situation. For venomous snakes, the family may want to consider staying with friends or in a motel until the animals are removed. If possible, the homeowner should also insist that the they are released in an appropriate area, rather than killed.
In general, snakes are as anxious to avoid humans as humans are to avoid them. Prevention will help keep them from setting up housekeeping close by, and keeping one's distance will help avoid accidents. Removal should be left to the professionals.