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How to Control Snakes

As eaters of many pest species, snakes can be very helpful around the yard. Since most snakes find their way onto your property because they’re following food, a persistent snake problem may mean that there are other pests, such as mice, rats, crickets, or cockroaches, in your home.

Trapping and animal control specialists are the primary means of snake control in areas where snakes are rare. Exclusion, habitat modification, and biological control strategies are more effective in areas where snakes are common.

Signs of a Snake Problem

A few garter snakes in your garden may be frightening, but they should not be cause for alarm—especially since various garden pests are part of the garter snake’s diet. If you see many snakes, or see a snake inside your house, you may want to take action.

Mechanical Control

If you see a snake in the house or yard and want to remove it, you can either call a professional to identify and remove it for you, or you can do it yourself. If you want to do it yourself:

  1. First identify the snake and make sure it isn’t poi­sonous. Some snakes can jump clear off the ground to bite, so keep your distance and try to determine what kind of snake you see.
  2. If you’re certain that the snake isn’t poisonous, get a pair of gloves, a broom, and an empty garbage can.
  3. After you put your gloves on, lay the garbage can on its side, with the open end facing the snake.
  4. Using slow, firm strokes, sweep the snake toward and into the garbage can.
  5. Once in the garbage can, the snake should remain docile—you simply have to find a good place outside to let the snake go.

Chemical Control


Liquid Fence® and BioDefend™ are two of the best-known makers of snake repellents. However, snake repellents in general have come into question, since much of the “evidence” supporting their effectiveness has been anecdotal.

Keeping Snakes Away

  1. Lawn care: Mow and trim your lawn regularly. Snakes like to hide in cool, damp, shaded areas, and taller grasses offer more protection against snakes’ natural predators.
  2. Controlling other pests: Controlling insect and rodent populations on your property can be difficult, but it will help keep snakes out of your yard. If there is no food on your property, snakes will go elsewhere.
  3. Fencing: Hardware cloth is a type of small-mesh fencing that can be used as a snake barrier. The fence should be 36–48″ tall and placed around the perimeter of your backyard so that it encloses the protected area entirely. The bottom of the cloth should be buried four to six feet deep. For extra protection, bend the top of the fence outward.

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