How to Deal With a Snake in the House

Three Parts:Assessing the DangerRemoving the SnakePreventing Further Risk

In warmer climates, we live with snakes. They slither through our neighborhoods and wildlife preserves and, in some cases, onto our properties. While preventative measures are often made to prevent them from entering your home, there's always a risk present, especially in the summertime. Not all snakes are deadly, but you'll always want to err on the side of caution.

Part 1
Assessing the Danger

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    Resist the urge to attack the snake with a broom or stick.A snake won't attack you unless it feels threatened by you. All snakes, venomous or otherwise, will not pursue a human being unless provoked.[1] Know that you are a larger predator and that the snake will keep to itself if you don't bother it.
    • If you see that the snake has coiled itself up and opened its mouth wide, then you know that it sees you as a threat. Step away slowly to avoid any further risk.
    • Remember that snakes are positive forces in our ecosystem, controlling rodent and insect populations.[2] While it's not comforting to see one in your home, you really don't want to kill it, as it does control pest populations within your area. Prevent cruelty against snakes by not acting out in fear.
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    Determine whether or not it is venomous.[3]There are methods to discover if a snake is venomous.[4]Some major qualities of venomous snakes are fat bodies, large fangs, and slit-like eyes. You'll also want to keep your eyes out for the iconic rattling tail.
    • If you think that you may live in an area where one of these species lives, make sure that you can identify them.[5]Four major species include:
    • The Copperhead. A pit viper with a tan and copper coloration. Their bites are very painful, but rarely fatal.
    • The Coral Snake. The most dangerous of the four. They can be recognized by their red, yellow and black stripes. Know that they can be easily mistaken for the Milk snake, a harmless beast, because of their very similar colorations. While the colors are the same, the patterns on the two species differ. The rhymes "Red on Black, friend of Jack" and "Red on Yellow, kill a fellow" will help you differentiate between the Milk snake and the Coral Snake, respectively.
    • The Cottonmouth. A quick, cranky snake with a brown and olive body. When threatened, they will stand their ground and flash the light "cotton" lining within their mouths.
    • The Rattlesnake. The most infamous and recognizable snake on this list, the Rattlesnake has a brown coloration with lighter stripes, as well as its iconic rattling tail.
    • There are also a wide variety of different vipers, cobras, and other venomous snake breeds. Check your local wildlife brochure to see what may be lingering in your area. It's best to be familiar with any potential snakes in your area. This way, you'll always be prepared for the worst.
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    Clear animals or young children from the area. Regardless of whether or not the snake is a present risk, you'll want to make sure to reduce any and all potential dangers.[6]Because of their size, your pets and children are at larger risk than a fully-grown adult. Their motion is also far more unpredictable, especially with your pets, and they are more likely to agitate the snake. Calmly move them away from the danger so that you can safely deal with the snake.
    • If you suspect that your pet has been bitten, bring them to your local veterinarian or call National Animal Poison Control. There may be some redness, swelling, or bruising on your animal. If so, you should act quickly, as they may be at risk of further harm or death.

Part 2
Removing the Snake

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    Create a safe distance between you and the snake. Even if you have the smallest suspicion that you have a venomous snake on your property, you must avoid entering its proximity. You might not want to leave the snake completely alone, as it could travel to another place in your home, but you should not attempt to get close to it. If the snake is mobile, however, and you worry that your presence might provoke it, evacuate the area and call Animal Control.
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    Open the door and guide the snake out with a broom.[7]Only take this risk if you're certain the snake is not venomous. You shouldn't try to push the snake with the broom. Simply open the door and attempt guide it out softly. Because the snake's presence in your home is most likely completely accidental, it might be trying to get out itself.
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    Restrict the snake's motion. A heavy blanket or laundry hamper is best for this. If the snake is agitated, it will calm down soon after being covered. When it can't see you or its surroundings, the snake will feel less at risk.
    • Placing heavy objects around the edge of the blanket will prevent the snake from slipping out from underneath it and moving elsewhere. This will buy you some time to deal with it accordingly.
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    Transport the snake outside. If you're still not positive that the snake isn't venomous, do not, under any circumstance, attempt to move it. Be sure to wear some sort of hand protection, either gloves or oven mitts, before handling a snake. Approach the snake slowly, being careful not to scare it. [8]
    • The best way to hold a snake is directly under its belly, near the tail. Inch your hand underneath its body, keeping a solid, but not overly firm grip. You don't want to injure the snake by squeezing too hard. Let it slither in your hands a bit, as this will make it feel more comfortable. Walk it away from your property and release it safely into nature.
    • If you've trapped the snake under a blanket or other cloth material, you can scoop it up and transport it outside that way. Still be cautious about holding it too tightly, especially as you can't see its movement.
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    Call Animal Control and ask them to send an expert to collect the snake. This is the best solution, after you've restricted the snake, if you don't want to handle it yourself. They will safely catch and release it far from your property.
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    Leave the snake alone. If you cannot see the snake, but know that it is hiding in a dresser or other dark enclosed space, you should not attempt to catch it. Move all family members away from the immediate area. Because you can't see the snake, you have no idea if it's venomous. It may also currently be in a state of agitation.
    • If you come across a snake outside your property, you should also leave it alone. If the snake is not venomous, then it is of no real risk to you. It should find its way out of the yard on its own terms, and it's unlikely that you'll have to worry about its presence. If the snake is venomous, then you can quickly evacuate the area and get further removal help.
    • Never attempt to kill a snake. Most illegitimate bites happen when people try to kill a venomous snake.

Part 3
Preventing Further Risk

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    Stop snakes from entering your home. While having snakes on your property might be hard to avoid, you definitely don't want them entering your home again.[9]Snakes like cool and dark places, so you should seal any entrances to your basement with diameters that are larger than a quarter inch in diameter.
    • They also could be entering through loose window frames or door sweeps, so you can make sure those are securely fastened. Any vents or drains that lead into your home can be covered with screening, so that the snakes cannot pass through.
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    Find out why the snake entered your area. If you have birds in your backyard or a rodent problem in your home, you may be attracting snakes onto your property. It's often hard, however, to get rid of small mammals who are native to the area, especially those who are part of your ecosystem.
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    Remove rats from your property. Snakes love mice and rats. Because our buildings are made mainly out of timber, rodents often find shelter in the space between the exterior and interior walls. If you hear scratching noises or find evidence of mouse trails in your kitchen, get an expert to solve the problem. Remember, no mice, no snakes!
    • Leaving out your pet food can also attract mice which will, in turn, attract snakes. Cover up your pet food when they aren't eating, or bring the food inside
    • A mouse can easily get through a hole the size of a pencil. If there are holes in your walls, fill them immediately.[10]High-pitched sound devices are now becoming a popular way to discourage vermin from entering homes; evidence shows some positive results. Remember, snakes always follow their food source.
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    Reduce the number of nesting birds in your yard. Whether or not you are attracting them intentionally, birds inhabiting your yard will attract snakes. Bird feeders will not only attract birds into your area, but also mice and rats, who will feed on any fallen seed.[11] While snakes might not be interested in the seed itself, they will be interested in the animals that feed on it.
    • Natural bird repellents are rarely effective, and you don't want to be poisoning any birds or snakes in your area.[12]If you want to remove birds from your yard, you should start by filling any vents or holes in your home that might attract them to roost.
    • Bird netting or sticky pads can repel certain species from setting up their nests in your yard. Scare tactics, such as audio recordings of their species in distress or predator decoys, can often be helpful. Just know that you'll have to cycle through a few options, as birds are intelligent and will adapt.
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    Modify your yard. If you're still having trouble keeping snakes away, you can prevent snakes from entering your yard by building a snake fence.[13]Take a strong piece of steel and stick it the ground, flush to your fence. Angle it at 30 degrees, so the snake won't be able to scale it and enter your yard.
    • You might also want to consider trimming your grass or shrubs, as small predators like snakes love to hide in these shaded, overgrown areas.
    • Use mortared rocks instead of freely stacked stones, as snakes will hide within your rock walls.
    • If you're concerned about your children or pets, you can build a small fenced off area for them to play in, minimizing the risk of them coming across a snake.


  • Know what species of snakes are in your area in advance. Some areas do not have venomous snakes to be concerned with, but foreknowledge is better, especially in areas that may have venomous snakes.
  • If a snake bites you, do not drive yourself to the hospital. Get someone else to drive, even if this requires knocking on a stranger's door. Most dangerous snake venoms produce delirium, blurred vision, and dizziness, making you incapable of driving safely.
  • If you are concerned with a snake potentially getting in your home or yard, have the phone number to your local wildlife rescue organization or Herpetological Society that will safely remove the snake from your property on hand. You'll be prepared if a problem prevents itself.
  • Do not try to kill the snake as it may bite you, and if the snake is venomous, it could be fatal. It's always best to call animal control if you see a snake or believe there may be a snake in your home.

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Categories: Pest Control