General Question

BBSDTfamily's avatar

How Can I Keep Snakes Off My Property?

Asked by BBSDTfamily (6839points) May 21st, 2009

I live in South Mississippi, have a privacy-fenced backyard w/ 2 dogs in it that I want to protect. Also two rattlesnakes and a copperhead have come into our garage or right up to the garage in the past year. They lay in the walkways to our door, too. We have a corn field w/i close proximity of our house, and when we moved in had mice in the garage (that are gone now) so that used to be the problem. Not anymore though. The only natural predator of snakes that would be remotely reasonable to adopt is a cat. Our dogs do not get along with cats, and I don’t know if keeping a cat inside and letting it roam the front yard would be safe for the cat… does anyone know if adult cats have sense enough to not jump a 6 ft. wooden privacy fence into a backyard w/ large dogs? We’ve had one back there before that they chased up a tree. We just don’t know what to do and we want the snakes to stay away! I thought that snakes were afraid of humans, so why are they coming right up to our house?

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36 Answers

Tink's avatar

Maybe they have a nest there

missingbite's avatar

You can put up a decoy predator bird such as an owl. The trick is to position it where the snakes will see it. Also try moth balls spread around your house. Also try shooting them with a pellet gun. I kill several snakes a year.

Linda_Owl's avatar

Snakes generally go where they want to go. You can kill them, of course, but others will still come. Too many people moving into what was their habitat.

buster's avatar

The rednecks and family members I know get a 22 pistol or rifle with ratshot cartridges. They are loads of really little b.b.s. They are good snake guns because you can get fairly close to most snakes and the ratshot spreads so its hard to miss. I never kill snakes personally I believe if i find one this world is just as much his as mine. I might transfer them off my property.

If you live in the country by woods fields deserts they will always be there you cant run all snakes off.

Kayak8's avatar

Get a mongoose.

Blondesjon's avatar

Perhaps you could erect a sign that has a picture of a snake on it. Around the picture of the snake is a circle. There is a line through the circle.

snakes are notorious for their strict adherence to signs.

cak's avatar

@Blondesjon Do you do Braille for the blind snakes?

Blondesjon's avatar

@cakI tried, but unfortunately, the snakes mistook the braille for a toad and ate three of my signs.

cak's avatar

@Blondesjon try pig latin, it works much better than standard English.

Kayak8's avatar

You could always call upon the services of a snake wisssssssperer . . .

Darwin's avatar

You might consider keeping your property scrupulously clean so there is no place for rodents to live or hide in. Odds are that is what the snakes are looking for.

Here is a list of useful ways to keep snakes away:

* Eliminate debris such as wood or rock piles on the property.
* Cut down heavy brush or trim back hedges.
* Seal small gaps under doors or decks, etc.
* Use funnel type traps or glue board type traps along edges.
* An extreme remedy would be a perimeter wide fence sloping outward at a 30 degree angle.

Ifyou click on the link you will go to a site that lists names of professional snake catchers, a place to purchase snake traps, and other useful information.

LKidKyle1985's avatar

get some pet badgers.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@Tink1113 Are you trying to scare me more?! :)

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@Kayak8 I live in the United States. Where am I going to get an illegal mongoose? Seriously, if you have any idea, I’m in…

justwannaknow's avatar

Cats have sense enough not to jump a 6 foot fence with dogs iside but they are just arrogant enough to jump up there anyway to walk along the top and tease the dogs.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@justwannaknow A stray cat stayed around for about a week, and we caught him in our yard about 8 times. My dogs chased him out of the fence, up trees, cornered him, and he just wouldn’t stop coming in there. He wanted to look through the back door’s window and be let in. I think he had been someone’s house cat. Maybe if we had a cat that was just for outside, it wouldn’t want to come in.

On that note, is it cruel to own a cat and keep it outdoors? Or is it justifiable by adopting a cat from the shelter that would have likely been euthanized anyway? Are cats fully capable of living happy lives outdoors on their own with night time shelter and food from the owners??

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@Darwin Thanks for the info! Our property is pretty clean, except for leaves and some bushes…. I will be sure to rake the leaves tomorrow and throw them out!

Darwin's avatar

Yes, cats are capable of living full time outdoors with night time (and cold weather) shelter, food and periodic vet care (including immunizations and neutering). However, you need to find the right cat. A cat that has been someone’s house pet would probably want back in to the house.

I recently rehomed a semi-feral cat to a TNR colony cared for by a woman out in the country. He apparently is doing fine. The cats have free access to food, water, and shelter, and they have fenced areas where they can loll around without fear of larger carnivores. However, I wouldn’t consider rehoming one of the cats that is a true indoor cat and has been for years.

justwannaknow's avatar

Like I said cats can be arrogant. Maybe he lived there before you moved in and thinks it is still home. Cats can do just fine outside in most places. We have outside cats and one inside cat and a couple that are fair weather cats. If it is nice they go out otherwise they are basement cats.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

Thanks! So, I think I’ll visit a shelter and adopt an adult cat that has never lived indoors. Maybe two so they’ll have a friend. They can sleep in the garage at night… a cat door was here when I moved here, so I can unlock it and keep their food in there so other animals won’t be likely to get it.

Think having a cat will actually deter snakes? Wouldn’t my dogs (bullmastiffs) deter them if a large mammal would?

Darwin's avatar

Our Shar-Pei used to catch both mice and snakes (and eat them) but I don’t know if bullmastiffs have such a strong hunting instinct. One thing that Shar-Peis were bred for originally was to keep farms free of varmints. According to one site :

”[Bullmastiffs] were bred specifically to accompany gamekeepers on their rounds, being able to track well and having sufficient size and strength to tackle and overpower a poacher.” So they may not be particularly interested in killing snakes. Or mice.

You might have better luck with terriers. A nice JRT (Jack Russell Terrier) could have a devastating effect on local wildlife.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@Darwin Good point… they catch squirrels and birds on a weekly basis though. It’s the highlight of their morning… rushing to the window to see what’s in the yard. What I meant is, a snake wouldn’t know what breed my dogs are and what they’re bred for, so shouldn’t they be scared of a large animal on the premises? If not, why are they going to be scared of cats?

Darwin's avatar

Snakes aren’t particularly scared of cats, but many cats like to kill and eat snakes.

crisw's avatar

I did quite a bit of research on this after we found a three-foot long rattler in our house!

Snake repellents do not work. As has been mentioned, habitat and food elimination can help keep them away. In addition. we fenced our dog yard with 1/4” mesh fencing, 3 feet high, all the way around the yard, with an overlap onto the ground.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

Someone recommended pouring lime, and that it kind of burns their skin and they don’t like it… but you have to put it out every time after it rains.

Anyone know if this really works?

crisw's avatar


No, it doesn’t work.
As I mentioned, no snake repellents have been shown to be effective- sorry!

tiffyandthewall's avatar

i’d suggest looking up things snakes tend to gravitate toward, and make sure you don’t have a lot of it (if you can!). i really don’t recommend the cat thing, but that’s probably because i’m thinking in terms of the cat’s safety. keep in mind that snakes were there first, and they’re not just coming into your backyard to be pests – you moved into their home.
not trying to lay a guilt trip on you, promise, just bringing up something that slips a lot of peoples’ minds (:

delirium's avatar

Tiffy has an excellent point. Also, the notion of a snake returning to a ‘nest’ at night or being particularly doting is inaccurate. Although a few vipers do take care of their young until hatching, most snakes just lay their eggs and leave.

These guys aren’t out to bite anything but rodents, in fact many (I believe it’s about 45%) rattlesnake bites are dry because they don’t want to waste something as precious as venom on a non-food source. That said, don’t count on it.

You’d be better off making Do Not Touch places that are really really appealing to snakes who end up on the property. An ideal hide will make it less likely that you’ll find it somewhere else.

There are many groups that will come pick up your rattlesnakes or venomous creatures, but you could also learn how to deal with one when you have one.
Read up on emergency get-the-snake-the-fuck-out-of-there procedure.
Here’s a more detailed version of the process.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@delirium That’s a good idea… I actually have a spot on my property that I could make attractive to snakes that is also away from my animals and house.

sandystrachan's avatar

Subwoofer in neighbours gardens and play very bassy tones .

angelegna's avatar

Hmmmm. . . just built a home and have had an issue with 2 snakes in a matter of 3 days. The first we believe to be a copperhead found in our garage burried in debris from the contractors. I killed it. The second was what I believe was a black king snake. Common in KY which is where we built our home. It was found on my deck which is very high off the ground. I’ve been told they climb stairs. How can I keep them off my deck. It was clean and free of debris. I let him live BTW. Suggestions? Need help. I have 3 kids and a yellow lab that is like a baby. I’m afraid she will bark and jump around at it and get herself bit. The kids, they’ll run if they see it first. For my family’s safety, is there anything else that can be done? Thanks!! ;O)

delirium's avatar

Get someone to release native kingsnakes. They’re snake eaters and immune to venom. They’ll make sure that you don’t have copperheads around or anything like them.

Also, DO NOT KILL SNAKES when you find them. You’re probably wrong about the identification (most people are) and there are plenty of people who you can call to come pick up the snake and help you to relocate it.

They’re an integral part of our ecosystem and our best defense against many pests. Not to mention the fact that they’re undergoing global decline.

Only 5–15 people die of snakebites annually in the US. Compare that to 90 for death by lightning strike.

Not to mention the fact that copperheads are nonaggressive and very hesitant to bite. If you don’t physically mess with them, they’ll rely on camouflage to hide from you and flee the first chance they get.

Eggie's avatar

What you should do, is that everymorning you should get your hands on some black disinfectanct, and just sprinkle it lightly all around the yard. This has been proven very effective in the prevention of snakes, as well as other venomous creatures since they can’t take the strong scent of it. Do this for about a week and then do it for like twice a week. It would definitely keep them out. Also keep your surroundings clean since they love to look for hiding places where it is cool and the atmosphere is sunny and hot. I see that you had alot of mice and that they are gone now…so that means that they chose your yard and garage as a feeding ground and they have probably established it as their territory even when the mice are gone. Light sprinkles with the disinfectant would help rid them and keep them away. Still be very cautious whenever you are in that area of your yard as they may still be lurking there.

Aussiemania's avatar

After reading through everyones answers and LMFAO im still lost now i dont hate snakes nor am i afraid of them. im worried about lying down whilest hunting rabbits and drop bears and having one go up the leg of pants esp when its not rattle snakes or copperheads its a very deadly brown snake or red belly black snakes. Now i think i may go with this sign idea with the circle and a line through it but i think i may change that to “Snakes Do you believe in life after death? Trespass here and find out” no but seriously i need to find something to prevent snakes so if anybody can come up with a real idea il be glad to know.

bakenshark's avatar

Try a strong disfectant usually called ‘black disinfectant’ because of its dark colour. Sprinkle liberally about your yard or in areas known to be favoured by snakes.

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