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seawulf575's avatar

What's the best way to evict a copperhead snake that has taken residence in my woodpile?

Asked by seawulf575 (4317points) June 14th, 2017

I was cleaning out a pile of wood at one side of my yard when a big copperhead shot out and slithered off to another part of the pile. I’m not particularly scared of snakes though I do have a healthy respect for the venomous varieties. I live in a neighborhood so taking the shot gun out there and blasting away isn’t an option. I’m more concerned about the neighbor’s young children and my little mutt happening upon this thing sunning itself sometime. Any suggestions on how to get rid of it without actually getting bit myself?

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25 Answers

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

I’d call a snake expert to remove it for me. I’m not sure where you are or what such a person is called where you are.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Unfortunately, I recently caught a snake in a Victor, plastic pedal type, rat trap I had out for red squirrels. Sadly, it was quite effective. The snake just brushed against the pedal and that was enough to trap it.

I’m not sure of your neighborhood but a .22 loaded with with CCI snake shot would work and not make much noise.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Break barrel air rifles are very quiet, inexpensive and effective. They are also not generally considered firearms so you’re not as likely to cross any legal boundaries by discharging one in a residential area. If you see the thing and can do so safely that is. I have heard ammonia will repel them. That is another option. Laying rat traps as @LG suggests is probably a last resort. You could end up killing other critters though.

kritiper's avatar

A spray mixture of water and ammonia might get it done.

Strauss's avatar

This article on The Humane Society’s web page has some good humane tips for snake control.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me Good idea about the break barrel. Relatively quiet, and probably legal (although Canada limits the velocity and energy level.). But, a single pellet means that a bit of aiming will be required.
The CCI .22 shotshell ammo fits in any bolt action rifle or revolver that almost everyone in this region has in the closet – even that old Sears single shot, bolt action your grandfather gave you for your 10th birthday. Also it works even if the barrel is a bit rusty or dirty.

I keep a couple of packs around for special uses. I use them on tent caterpillar nests that occasionally show up in my apple trees. Instant, chemical free control.

Coloma's avatar

Yep, call a snake removal expert. We just had a guy out to the property here to look for and wrangle rattlesnakes. he takes them, and then, either relocates them of keeps them for milking them for anti venom purposes. It was really cool, he brought a whole box of different species of rattlesnakes of varying sizes and I learned a lot. From what I just read Copperheads have a mild bite and their venom is rarely fatal, but removing it is a good idea. Females give birth in late summer or fall so you may have a bunch of little vipers on the way too. haha

seawulf575's avatar

@Coloma Copperheads, like most snakes, will generally avoid humans. But their bite does have a neurotoxin in it. Probably wouldn’t kill me, but might seriously hurt one of the neighbor kids and would most likely kill the dog. It isn’t a big dog.

Coloma's avatar

@seawulf575 Of course, just sharing that many venomous snakes are not as toxic as people think. The species of rattlesnakes here in my area often give, what is known as a “dry bite.” meaning they don’t inject any venom. They estimate about 25% of bites are dry bites. The snakes don’t want to use their venom if they can avoid it, they want to conserve it for their prey.

My cat survived a bite a few years ago without needing anti-venom.
it also depends on the bite site and amount of venom injected. A bite to the neck or torso is worse as the venom is injected closer to the heart as opposed to an extremity like a paw or foot.
Things I have learned from living in rattlesnake land here for 25 years. haha

Dogs tend to get bit on the face because they sniff and cats on the paw because they swat. My guy got it on his wrist.

Zaku's avatar

The best way is to bring in an Indian Grey Mongoose .

Coloma's avatar

@Zaku haha I almost said get a Mongoose. LOL

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Or a honeybadger…

Patty_Melt's avatar

Copperheads are not the sort for hanging out in woodpiles. I have to wonder if it is misidentified.
There are laws about dispatching wildlife, including numerous snake varieties.
Contacting a professional is your wisest choice.

rojo's avatar

I caught and relocated two copperheads from my daughters home when rebuilding her deck. The second one I must have stepped over a half dozen times before I noticed it. It was curled up next to one of the center posts under the deck and I finally saw it when I was removing the rotted joists.
Both were not aggressive until I started trying to catch them. Used a forked stick about 3’ – 4’ long. Pinned them, moved the fork behind the head then scooped them up into a large plastic tupperware box that had a good lid. Sealed the lid then walked them down to a wilderness area down the block where I released them by tossing them into some tall grass to break their fall without having to be close to them when they hit the ground.

MrGrimm888's avatar

It’s a very dangerous snake. It’s bite,has similar effects to rat poison, or anticoagulants. I would leave it alone,if possible. Odds are, there are many, not just one.

I have delt with venomous snakes a lot in the past. They’re faster, and capable of striking farther than most give them credit for. That particular species can also be temperamental (it could get go on the offensive, if it considers you a threat.)

I ran across a product called “snake away” years ago. It seemed to work well. It’s a powder, of sorts, you put on the ground. You make a “fence” with the stuff,around the desired snake free zone. Be careful though. You have to leave a opening. Otherwise, you can trap snakes in the zone. Obviously, this also leaves a way in. Rendering the product less than perfect.

I would recommend trying to remove such things as wood piles. These features will only be attractive spots for snakes. But, snakes are a good thing usually. If you can tolerate it, keep it…

Animal control may have some options, if you capture one…

Please respect the power of these animals. Be careful. FYI, the juveniles, have yellow tips on their tales. They are very small, but are far more dangerous than the adults. They blend in well with leaves on the ground.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Yeah. @rojo used a similar method to me. I used to use a corn husk broom, and a 5 gallon bucket with a lid. It is risky though. And releasing them is also dangerous. They can easily turn when let go, and mercilessly attack….

Patty_Melt's avatar

I found information on a search, but the link won’t work.
It explains a lot.
If your snake really is a copperhead, maybe you can find a cancer research facility interested in buying it.

rojo's avatar

Don’t sell it! It is not bothering you and simply residing in a place that is incompatible with you and yours. Please try and just relocate it to a different location where you can both life in peace without fear.

chyna's avatar

I agree with relocating him. But I’m not volunteering to do the relocating.

Patty_Melt's avatar

What would be wrong with selling it? It would spend a cozy life being milked, and it could lead to better cancer treatments.

rojo's avatar

Would you enjoy a cozy life spent being milked?

Ok lets not go there. Never mind

Let us just say live and let live.

chyna's avatar

Eviction notice.
I don’t like snakes but my neighbor has a python and says they are lovable. I’ll take his word for it. I’ve asked for a heads up if it ever gets out.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

I vote for getting a snake expert to remove and relocate it. No need to either kill it or sell it.

CreationMom's avatar

I have been bitten by a copperhead. Yes, they can be a dry bite and yes, they are not usually fatal. On the other hand, they can inject a great deal of venom and they can be fatal. So, who is up for taking that chance?
I can attest to the fact that my bite was extremely painful and made me violently ill. I went immediately to a local hospital but got terrible care. Thankfully, I did finally get antivenin. I was bitten on the ankle and it was three weeks before I could walk again. I have permanent tissue damage from the bite.
I suggest getting an expert to come remove the snake and relocate it. From my research, snake repellents do not actually repel snakes but repel snakes’ prey. Know that a pit viper head can continue to bite for up to three days after the snake has been decapitated. A dead snake should always be transported in a metal or glass container rather than a plastic bag.

chyna's avatar

Good information @CreationMom . Thanks.

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