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keep snakes away

How to keep snakes away? (effectively)

Many people are positively terrified of snakes and a lot of homeowners worry incessantly that a snake might attack them or their loved ones while out in the yard.
These fears are well-founded and just, since there are some terrifying snakes out there who will bite you if they get a chance. So you want to be prepared and do what you can to keep these snakes as far away as possible. 

First things first, know your area.
While a certain amount of worry in this area can prove beneficial and ensure that you are prepared, there is no point in worrying over something that won’t happen, is there?

So the first thing you need to do is some research on the area you live in and find out which snakes are most likely to slither into your yard. Being scared of some exotic snake will do you no favors if you overlook the less famous (but still potentially deadly) snakes that are literally in your back garden.

Find out what snakes inhabit your area and if possible, read a little about how these snakes behave. Some species are more outgoing than others, same as with people. Some will venture close to human civilization, while others will not.

Also, keep an eye out for how aggressive the snakes in your area are. For example, the timber rattlesnake (which usually lives in the eastern half of North America) is a very dangerous individual. He has long, menacing fangs, is very large, and has a potent venom. However, the timber rattlesnake is known for his patience. Considered one of the most patient snakes in the world, the timber rattlesnake will give you quite a long time to get away, issuing a lengthy warning with their obvious rattle, before actually attacking you.

Second, remember that not all snakes are created equal.
In other words, having a harmless snake inhabit your back garden can actually be a good thing, as they tend to eat pests such as slugs and even rats. This is why it’s important to know your snakes. The majority of snakes (2,400 out of 3,000, according to the WHO) are not dangerous, so bear that in mind before you judge.

Next, do all you can to secure your property. Think about what you’d do if you were a snake. You’d first want to look for a place in which you can hide, right? So the first thing you want to do is get rid of any potential hiding places.

This is great because it doesn’t only serve to deter snakes, but also other, less dangerous garden pests.

Snakes like to hide in:

  • Cracks;
  • Crevices;
  • Wood piles;
  • Damp areas;
  • Holes;
  • Darkness.

So you want to make sure you don’t have any dark holes around the house. Take your time in inspecting the outside of your property, to ensure you don’t miss anything. Make a note of all the potential nooks and crannies in which a snake might slither and repair them as soon as possible. Get rid of any wood piles in your yard and if you must, store all firewood in a secure, locked container.

Snakes might also make a hiding spot inside damaged pipes, ducts, and vents, so make sure you take care of those also.

Repair your screens.
It seems an obvious one, yet many overlook it. You’re probably in the habit of leaving your window or door open, with just the screen on. If so, you want to make sure there are no holes in these screens, because that might be an invitation the snake finds hard to refuse. This goes for other pests as well, so it’s a double win for you.

Trim your lawn.
It’s no secret that snakes prefer living in the tall grass, so by neglecting your lawn for months on end, you’re practically creating an ideal habitat for them. And that’s not what we want to do. So you want to mow your lawn often. Short, trim grass is unappealing to snakes for an obvious reason: it exposes them to predators. No, not you, but to coyotes, hawks, and that sort of thing. So snakes tend to avoid short grass for their own safety. Naturally, this applies to shrubs and trees also.

Don’t soak your lawn.
Sometimes, we tend to over-water our lawn. I mean, what’s a little water going to do, right? Well, as we’ve seen above, damp places are considered inviting by snakes, so by over-watering your grass, you might just be giving the snakes an open invitation.

Don’t leave pet food out.
It’s not the snakes themselves that care about your dog’s treats. It’s other insects and rodents that might be attracted by open food sources. These rodents then attract snakes, which unsurprisingly are also attracted by open, easily available food sources. And that’s how you get snakes. 

Remember: this also applies to bird food. So if you happen to have a bird feeder in your backyard, keep it clean and for safety move it as far away as you can from your house.

Maybe put up a perch.

Owls and hawks are mighty and beautiful creatures, and they can serve as highly efficient guards of your backyard. They can be attracted to a property by strategically installing a high pole, on which they can perch. Obviously, snakes are deterred by the presence of a hawk or owl, because they are natural enemies, so they obviously won’t go near your yard, but even if they do, the hawk or owl is likely to chase them away.

Put in a snake-proof fence.
There are many low anti-snake fences available out there. They are made from steel mesh and will need to be dug deep into the ground, but may we remind you that the effort is definitely worth it.

Overall, there is no sure-fire way to keep snakes away, but there are many, highly effective methods to deter them from approaching your property.