Nonpoisonous Snake Removal and Control

Many times people will get snakes in the house. Sometimes these are incidentals that came in through a open door etc. However many times there will be a den located in or near the foundation of buildings. When spring comes and the snakes become more active they tend to migrate towards heat and will sometimes come into the house if there is a hole that leads from the den into the house. It is never recommended to patch snake entrance holes in the spring or fall to avoid the increased risk of snakes entering the house.

There are many repellents on the market for snakes and it has been my experience that they have limited use. When used in confined places like holes or cracks they seem to do fine, however when used in the open air success is severely limited.

Traps work well on snakes when properly placed. Snakes tend follow the base of foundations and obstructions so traps placed in these areas work well. In basements place along the wall, these traps will also catch rodents, in fact the traps are usually for rodents.

The plastic snake trap is more durable and weather resistant. The cardboard snake trap has larger entry hole but is not weather resistant. Both incorporate the use of glue boards inside and both are reusable.

Featured Nonpoisonous Snake Control Products

General Biology, Reproduction, and Behavior

Snakes are specialized animals, having elongated bodies and no legs. They have no ears, externally or internally, and no eyelids, except for a protective window beneath which the eye moves. The organs of the body are elongated. Snakes have a long, forked tongue, which helps them smell. Gaseous particles from odors are picked up by the tongue and inserted into the two-holed organ, called the Jacobson’s Organ, at the roof of the mouth.
The two halves of the lower jaw are not fused, but are connected by a ligament to each other. They are also loosely connected so the snake can swallow food much larger than its head. Because snakes are cold-blooded and not very active, one meal may last them several weeks. Also, because they are cold-blooded, they may hibernate during cold weather months or aestivate during hot summer months when the climate is severe. In either case, they consume little or no food during these times. Some snakes lay eggs, some hatch their eggs inside the body, and some give live birth. The young of copperheads, rattlesnakes, and cottonmouths are born alive.

Nonpoisonous snakes are harmless to humans. In most cases, a snake will crawl away when approached if it feels it can reach cover safely. No snakes charge or attack people, with the exception of the racers, which occasionally bluff by advancing towards an intruder. Racers will retreat rapidly, however, if challenged. Snakes react only when cornered. Different species react in different ways, playing dead by turning over on their back, hissing, opening the mouth in a menacing manner, coiling, and striking and biting if necessary.

Snake Damage and Damage Identification

A nonpoisonous snake bite has no venom and can do no more harm than frighten the victim. After being bitten several thousand times by nonpoisonous snakes, the author and his students have never suffered any adverse reaction, and no treatment was ever used. The only harm nonpoisonous snakes can cause is frightening people who are not familiar with them. A bit from a poisonous snake, however, causes an almost immediate reaction–swelling, tissue turning a dark blue-black, a tingling sensation, and nausea. If none of these is observed or felt, the bite was from a nonpoisonous snake. Also, bites from one of the pit vipers (copperheads, rattlesnakes, and cottonmouths) will reveal two fang marks, in addition to teeth marks. All snakes have teeth; only pit vipers have fangs. North American pit vipers have only two rows of teeth on top and bottom. whereas nonpoisonous snakes have four on top and four on the bottom.

Information is from Prevention and Control of Wildlife Damage-Cooperative Extension University of Nebraska-Great Plains Agricultural Council Wildlife Committee-United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Animal Damage Control