According to the World Health Organization, about 5.4 million people are bitten across the world yearly by snakes. Some of these bites can be poisonous, putting your wellbeing and that of your family at risk. It is therefore right to devote efforts to keeping snakes away from your home.
You can keep snakes away by reducing the conduciveness of your home to snakes. This would involve keeping your grass lower, avoiding clutter and eliminating the snake’s source of food in your premises. You can also use healthy repellants like clove oil to keep snakes away from your home.
Controlling a snake population isn’t easy. You have to know what species of snakes are in your premises and what makes your property comfortable for their habitation. You have to choose which repellants to use as well as exercise appropriate safety skills when dealing with snakes.
How to Keep Snakes Away From Yard
You will agree that the presence of snakes in your yard is troubling. Snakes like to sneak around and hide in your garden. If you trap the snake and get rid of it, yet your yards have attractive living conditions for snakes, other snakes will surely come on. Therefore, it is vital to not only get rid of the snakes but also keep them away using sustainable means.
It is common to resort to repellants in keeping snakes away from your yard. However, bear in mind that most chemical snake repellants are unhealthy. Particularly, chemical repellants contain naphthalene which can be destructive to your liver. Environmental Protection Agency classifies naphthalene as a Class C carcinogen; this makes it unhealthy to be excessively exposed to this chemical.
The good news is that you don’t have to resort to extreme measures like harsh chemicals to keep snakes away from your yard. Other healthy practices can perfectly get the job done. Let us look at them.
Make sure they don’t have food in your yard
Snakes will not come to your yard if there is no food there for them. Therefore if your yard has a significant population of rodents like insects, rats, and mice, it would be right to expect snakes. Reduce your usage of nest boxes and bird seeds. These are known to attract small rodents like mice. Also, ensure you don’t leave stray fruits or nuts in your yard. Otherwise, these small rodents will come for them.
If you can keep rats and mice away, protect your birds in impenetrable cages and eliminate insects, you will make your yard very uncomfortable for snakes to stay in sustainably. Some homeowners like composting, but of if you must, ensure that it is sealed tightly in closed containers so that they don’t attract these rodents which will, in turn, attract snakes to your yard.
Make sure your yard is in perfect condition
If snakes are coming to your yard, it is because they enjoy being there. This means the conditions there are very supportive of their habitation. They can get food there and can hide well. Therefore, it is essential to maintain your garden and flowers diligently. Ensure that the grasses don’t grow too tall for the snakes to hide.
Use healthy repellants
You can use repellants to keep the rodents and snake away from your yard. You can resort to snake repellant sprays made yourself or buy Bonide products. Ensure the repellants you buy don’t contain toxic chemicals. You can make your own snake repellants from natural ingredients like cinnamon oil and clove oil. Snakes hate the smell of cinnamon and clove oils.
An ounce of each would do for the mixture. Now carefully spray this mixture around the foundation of your home, your garden, basement and possibly any place you have previously seen snakes before in your yard. If it rains, you will have to reapply the mixture.
Adopt lemongrass for your landscaping
This is one excellent trick to scare snakes away from your yard. Lemongrass is one of the most effective naturally occurring snake repellants. Known by its scientific name of Cymbopogon Citratus, snakes can’t stand the citrus smell it effuses.
Lemongrass landscaping will not stress you as regards maintenance. More than deterring snakes, lemongrass also repels mosquitos and moles.
How to Keep Snakes Away from Campsite
Normally, you want to enjoy the best of your time at your campsite. Therefore, you would be frantic if you notice snakes in your campsite. More than spoiling the show, these snakes can even bite and harm you. How can you keep these snakes away from your campsite?
Start by pitching your tent in snake-free areas
First, if you don’t want to battle the menace of snakes in your campsite, then stay away from them. Pitch your tent in areas that are not too helpful to snake occupancy. Thus, try to stay as far as possible from outcrops or rock piles as they usually have snakes hiding around.
Your campsite shouldn’t have too much of undergrowth or deadfalls. Also, try to stay farthest from water-bordering areas. Snakes stay around water bodies a lot as they habitually hunt there.
If you can pitch your tent in an expansive open space, that is perfect. Snakes don’t enjoy being out in the open, especially around the company of humans and predators – they prefer to live in hiding. The short grass in such an open space would make it hard for the snake to hide there.
Also, snakes enjoy dark or poorly-lit areas. Therefore your choice of campsite should be reasonably illuminated at night. This will go a long way in preventing accidental treading on snakes and consequent snake bites. Camping fires are useful in deterring snakes too and smaller rodents.
Keep your food tightly sealed
Snakes will not necessarily come for your food if loosely sealed. No. They would come for the rodents and critters that will thrive around such poorly closed foods. If you don’t keep your food well in your campsite, rats and mice will surely come for them.
In turn, snakes will follow these rodents in. Best practice is to store your food in airtight containers in your campsite. This will significantly ensure that there are no food scraps thrown around. If there are any crumbs, make sure to clean them up. This will keep rats away and keep snakes away too.
Spray healthy repellants about your campsite
As said, the right choice of snake repellants will keep them away for your time at the campsite, while maintaining healthy living conditions for the campers. If you don’t have natural repellants on you, you can buy good chemical repellants. When purchasing such products, pay attention to the makeup of the chemical repellant and avoid products with naphthalene ingredients.
What Attracts Snakes to Your House?
There are specific conditions that will draw snakes into your house. If they can feed sufficiently in your home and they have a place to hide, snakes will come in. As we have pointed out, if you have a reasonable rodent population in your house, this will attract snakes. Notably, brown snakes and taipans enjoy rodents.
Bigger snakes like pythons can hunt your pets or eat your birds like chicken. If you have rats in your attic too, snakes will likely go there to kill them. In urban locations, snakes prefer to hunt at night where they would come for rats, opossums, and geckos.
They could curl up and relax in your ceiling as this gives them good hiding and warmth, which is perfect for their survival as cold-blooded animals. Tree snakes hunt during the day and would feast on frogs around your home.
Therefore you see that rodents are the major attraction for snakes into your home. Keep nest boxes from your home. This also applies to bird feeders. These exercises would discourage rodent habitation in your home, curtailing the population.
Snakes can also hide around your premises under metal roofing panel, plywood or even an old stump. Also, if snakes can get clean water source around your property, they will be attracted. Shallow fountains and ground-level birdbath fall into this category of water sources.
Snakes are also attracted to where they is compost. So it is natural to see snakes frequenting areas where you have old manure and practice crop rotation. Snakes, however, are not active all through the year like rats. During winter months, you will notice reduced snake activity as they desperately seek to conserve their energy and warmth.
Can Snakes Eat Each Other?
Snakes mostly eat meat being carnivores. Snakes, however, exhibit cannibalism and can eat themselves if the situation arises. It is interesting to note that cobras mainly are highly cannibalistic and eat other snakes a lot.
This behavior, although restricted, is called ophiophage. Such cannibalistic behavior is commonly observed among king snakes, the Colubridae breeds, Eastern Indigo Snakes, Black Mamba, Desert Kingsnake and California Kingsnake.
Take note that cannibalism among snakes is not restricted to venomous snakes. Even some non-poisonous snakes eat themselves. In the US, Kingsnakes are on top of the snake food chain and can feast on just any other breed. It is surprising that if you have kingsnakes as pets, there is a possibility of one eating the other!
Actually, snakes are more convenient meals for snakes. A snake is very less likely to pose digestive constraints to the snake that eats it. This is because snakes struggle to digest larger animals they eat. This is why you notice significant inactivity from a snake when it swallows bigger prey.
A snake meal, therefore, would be easily digestible by the predator snake. The shape of the prey snakes perfectly fits that of the snake eating it. Thus the predator snake will struggle less about eating the other unfortunate snake.
Also, snakes, unlike other animals like lions, are not communal hunters. Snakes can barely get emotionally connected with even their kind. A snake is a sole survivor that primarily hunts on its own.
Snakes are very instinctive hunters with their primary focus on securing food and not on sustaining relationships. Therefore while they are naturally inclined to hunting rodents and other animals, in situations of extreme scarcity of such resources, snakes are survivors and will turn around on themselves eating each other to stay alive.
Note that the predator snake must not always be bigger than the prey snake. There have been cases of smaller snakes exhibiting rare bravery and survivalism to attack and eat bigger snakes. Kingsnakes are famed for this. A kingsnake is bold enough to attack and eat snakes at least 120% its size. A small kingsnake will eat another snake six feet long.
How Much Do Snakes Sleep?
In truth, it is not easy to know when a snake is sleeping or when it is awake. This is because, when snakes sleep, they don’t close their eyelids like humans or other animals. Even when inactive and appearing still, snakes may not be sleeping – they might just be warming up or conserving energy.
Snakes are cold-blooded animals meaning they lack the capacity to self-generate heat. So when you see an inactive snake, it may only be regulating its temperature.
Snakes can stay hours under the sun warming up. They may not move during this interval; hence, you may mistake them for being asleep. This makes it difficult for even scientists to calculate how long snakes sleep. The only way you can tell a sleeping snake is to go close and disturb them.
Sometimes, you can have a hint when a snake is sleeping if it is stationary for hours and not even reacting to your disturbances or external stimuli. If you observe such snake closely, you may notice that they would appear quite startled upon waking up just like you would be momentarily unsettled when abruptly woken up from a deep slumber. This observation, however, is only safe for pet snakes, not wild snakes that easily get aggressive.
Scientists most times recourse to the EEG monitor to tell if a snake is sleeping. This is an electroencephalogram that monitors the brain waves of the snake. Interest is slowly gathering to experiment on the brain waves of sleeping snakes.
Does Salt Keep Snakes Away?
It is not correct to say salt is a definitive snake repellant. Not all snakes are scared of salt. Mollusks rather fear salt and snakes don’t particularly fit into this category of slimy animals. In most cases, salt has no deterrent effect on snakes.
How Does Snake Bite Look Like?
Snake bites vary in appearance depending on the species of the snake. Generally, snakes have two rows of teeth in the lower jaw and another four rows on the upper jaw. A non-poisonous snake will grip its prey tightly till death. Such snakes have many teeth that are curved backward or inward.
These nonvenomous snakes will grip the snake with its four rows of teeth. Hence the bite will appear different from that of a poisonous snake. On the contrary, poisonous snakes have fangs with which they inject their venom into the tissue of whatever animal they bite.
These fangs are more prominent than those of nonvenomous snakes and tend to be grooved. Unlike non-poisonous snakes, venomous snakes will not grip its prey until it dies. The venom secreted from its glands into the tissues is enough to kill the prey.
These fangs will show markedly on your skin when such poisonous snakes bite you. They commonly appear as dual puncture holes. The gap between these two puncture holes differs depending on the species of the snake and its age as well.
There are other venomous snakes like constrictors which transmit the venom from their glands to the prey’s tissues using their back teeth. This would mandate the constrictor chewing on the flesh of the prey to inject enough venom into it adequately. In such a case, you will see more than two puncture holes on the wound from the snake bite.
Can Snake Bite Inside Water?
Snakes commonly exhibit sharp swimming skills. Most water snakes spend a bulk of their lifetime in water bodies like lakes, oceans, and rivers hunting aquatic preys. They can bite you inside water. This can be unprovoked or when you typically pose a threat to them.
Cottonmouths are quick to bite you inside water. Most snakes like cottonmouths and coral snakes possess natural camouflaging capacities making it challenging to identify them and avoid them when they are submerged in water.
Snakes commonly bite you inside water as preys. Because of the enormous human size, snakes will identify as a predator trying to attack them. Then they would bite you proactively or when you step on them in self-defense.
This is when they can’t get away from you in the water. Other than cottonmouths and coral snakes, rattlesnakes and garter snakes would bite you inside water. While sea snakes rank among the most venomous snake species, they will not readily transmit venom to you when they bite you.
Where Do Snakes Hide?
Snakes can hide in several locations inside your house or outside it. If it is an outdoor snake, it will commonly find shelter in dense vegetation, rock piles or piles of yard debris and stacked firewood. If you have overgrown grasses in your yard, snakes will hide there while they can even hide in cracks in your driveways.
If it is an indoor snake, it will likely hide behind your appliances, around your stored boxes, wall ledges rafters, and even your window frames. In other cases, the snake can hide if you have a pile of clothes strewn across your home, or it will hide close to water pipes. Snakes also like hiding close to heat sources or where isn’t thoroughly lit. Once you see snake shedding in your home or around your premises, it is a strong confirmation that you have snake presence.
What are Snakes Afraid of?
Snakes predominantly fear predators. Bigger birds, foxes, mongooses, and wild boars hunt snake depending on the size of the snake. Younger snakes regularly fall prey to these predators. However, for older snakes, they are most afraid of humans – even some of the biggest and most frightening snakes.
Snakes are also scared of repellants. Let us reinstate that mothballs are inappropriate snake repellants as they contain paradichlorobenzene which is toxic to kids and pets. Also, avoid using sulfur as repellants. They are very ineffective against snakes and in most cases is a waste of money.
Snake Safety Tips
It is essential to maintain precautions when dealing with snakes or moving around regions with high snake population. This will protect you to a great extent from snake bites.
Wear long pants and good boots
If you are passing through a place where snakes regularly frequent, don’t dare walk through barefooted. This is particular to hikers who must kit themselves with sturdy boots to protect their feet and long trousers that cover the top of the boot.
These boots and thick trousers will give your skin extra protective padding, reducing the directness of the snake bite or the volume of venom it can inject into you. Also, as we have noted, don’t wear tight-fitted clothes in such regions. Loose-fitting clothes are a better choice as the “dead air” between your skin and the fabric of the loose-fitted clothes would reasonably neutralize the intensity of the bite.
Avoid leaving the trails when you hike
If you are hiking, avoid underbrush. Stick to the trails. Snakes frequent taller weeds and denser underbrush. These areas have moderated temperature and significant rodent population, which are perfect living conditions for the snakes.
They prefer hiding in the underbrush as against being exposed on the open trails. If you possibly come across a snake hiking, don’t attempt to approach it. It may sense you as a threat and attack.
Best move far away from you with minimal disturbance. Remember that still snakes are not always sleeping and even dead snakes can bite. This is because freshly killed snakes still retain stimulus to bite.
Transport snakes only with specialty tools
If you catch and want to relocate it, make sure only to use specially designated tools for snake transportation. Use safety handling tools like snake tongs for handling the snakes and snake hooks for moving them around regardless they are aggressive or not.
If you are moving a snake across a long distance, you can best use snake bags or snake cages. In all, avoid coming to the snake, especially rattlesnakes. Even in the snake bag, vipers can sense your heat and strike even through the snake bag.
Kit yourself with gloves
It is important to be thoroughly clothed when handling snakes. Even if it is a non-poisonous snake, kit yourself with tough gloves like sturdy welder gloves or construction gloves. In some cases, the snake will not immediately transmit venom to you through its bite. Nonetheless, snake bites are yet dangerous because of the possible bacterial infection that comes with them.
Also, it is well known that snake wounds bleed profusely. This is because your system will be unable to clot the wound immediately due to the powerful anticoagulant contained in the saliva of the snake. In a situation where you come across a spitting cobra which are common in the United States, ensure you cover your eyes with glasses. Spitting cobras tend to aim for your eyes. This eye attack can easily cause blindness.
Mike Zhang. Founder of FamilyLifeShare