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How to Get Rid of Snakes Humanely

Most people aren't thrilled with the prospect of having a snake slither across their property. While most snakes do not pose a threat to humans, there are venomous species with bites that expel poison - poison that can be lethal to people or pets. Learn more information about how to get rid of snakes below.


1 Understand Your Snake Problem

Snake control is a serious matter that should be approached with the utmost caution. It's very important to fully understand your snake problem before selecting a control method.

  • Determine whether snakes are present indoors or outdoors.
  • Identify the approximate locations or denning sites of any present snakes.
  • Know which species of snakes commonly inhabit your area and how to identify them.
  • Learn about the habits and risk factors associated with each species (i.e. venomous vs. non-venomous).

2 Reduce Attractants

Snakes typically inhabit areas that provide sources of food and cover. They prey on other animals, and like to spend much of their time underneath rocks, brush piles, debris, plants, etc. in order to regulate their body temperatures. By eliminating elements like these, you can begin to drive snakes out. Steps you can take include:

  • removing piles of wood, rocks, mulch and debris under which snakes may seek concealment
  • pulling weeds and trimming grass regularly to further reduce cover
  • eliminating tall and low-lying vegetation
  • filling in any abandoned animal burrows, which snakes may begin to use as shelter

3 Choose the Right Control Method

Once you have become familiar with the types of snakes in your area and have determined your particular snake problem, use the information below to select the best control method for you.

Snake Repellents

snake repellent

Snake repellents are great for driving venomous and non-venomous snakes away from outdoor spaces and for keeping them from entering protected areas such as:

  • houses
  • campsites
  • gardens
  • garages
  • trailers
  • porches
  • sheds
  • woodpiles
  • patios
  • warehouses
  • basements
  • barns

The best snake repellents work by temporarily disrupting a snake's Jacobsen's Organ, which snakes rely on to navigate. By disrupting this critical function, repellents successfully disorient a snake, causing it to retreat.

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Professional Snake Removal

If snakes are indoors, or if there is a possibility that your snakes are venomous, it's important to call a professional to help you physically remove them. Do not attempt to remove a snake by yourself, as you can put yourself or your family in danger.

Snake Fencing


Although fencing will not address snakes that are already present, a properly installed fence can act as a physical barrier to help keep snakes from entering your property. In order to be effective at excluding snakes, your fence must:

  • span across the entire perimeter of your property
  • be constructed of a smooth or slick material; gaps or mesh no larger than 1/4"
  • extend a few inches into the ground
  • angle outward at about 30°
  • stand at least 3 ft. tall

The downsides of fencing include the expensive cost, aesthetic invasiveness and inability to keep all snakes out.


4 Eliminate Accessibility

Once your home or other structure is free of snakes, keep these slithering creatures out by blocking off all possible entryways. Keep in mind that snakes can slip through gaps and cracks 1/4" wide.

  • Keep windows closed or screened at all times.
  • Repair all holes in your foundation, siding, roof, etc. that may lead inside.
  • Seal off all spaces around the openings for electrical wires, cables, water pipes, vents, etc.
  • Install screens with small mesh on your chimney, vents and any other openings that cannot be completely sealed off.
  • Eliminate spaces underneath doors, garage doors, etc.

Expert Tips

  • Because rodents are a prime food source for many snakes, often times the presence of snakes correlates with that of mice and rats. By keeping your home rodent-free, you have a better chance of keeping snakes out. Learn how to control mice and rats in the How To section of this site.
  • When shopping for a snake repellent, look for one that's EPA registered. The EPA registers particular products that will not have unreasonable adverse effects on humans or the environment when used as directed.
  • Electric fencing is not recommended to deter snakes. In order for an electric fence to work properly, an animal must be grounded when it comes into contact with the wire, and these circumstances are not guaranteed with snakes.
  • Maintaining your snake fence is critical to improve your chances of keeping snakes out. Trim the surrounding grass and vegetation, avoid leaning any objects on the fence and prevent any trees or vines from growing on or near it.
  • Snakes are most likely to bite when they are startled, threatened or cornered. Never try to kill or handle a snake without the help of a professional. Take extreme caution when searching for snakes or denning sites on your property.

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