From Carrie Gardner, On Quora
|Black Racer, Coluber constrictor
Really, there isn’t any. Products like “Snake B Gone” are junk. Anything that says that the scent drives them away is also a rip-off. They don’t care about any of that. Mothballs have been banned for outdoor use by the EPA and is toxic for people. Please don’t use any poisons because it sinks into groundwater and into bodies of water and poisons every animal and plant they come into contact with.
If your land is full of snakes, that means the area is full of rodents, which is what most snakes eat. And I would like to add that most prey species far outnumber the predators. So you probably have a much greater problem than just a lot of snakes and right now, they are your friends. Snakes only go where there is food so your best bet to lower the number of snakes in your yard is to get rid of the source of food.
If there a lot of snakes in your yard then chances are there is a good size rodent population. Snakes won’t stay if there’s no food.
The trick is to make your yard a deterrence for rodents.
- Keep your grass cut short.
- Keep your bushes trimmed a few inches off the ground and make sure your trees are trimmed.
- Move your woodpile somewhere where they can’t get it.
- Remove any debris from construction or from weather that brought branches down.
- Look for and seal any cracks or holes leading into your house. Likewise, look for any holes in your yard used as nests for rodents.
- Don’t water your yard as it will attract prey animals.
- Don’t use mulch or anything that a snake or rodent can borrow in.
- Move or get rid of bird feeders or bird nest boxes. Snakes will also eat bird eggs and birds.
- Install a perch pole for raptors. They are not only interested in eating rodents, but they dine on snakes as well.
- Fence in the area using 1 /4-inch fence or smaller and buried in the ground a few good inches.
I’ve already talked about the toxins but here are some other things that you shouldn’t do as well.
- Relocate snakes from your yard. They have more of a chance of dying.
- Relocate snakes to your yard. In other words, you can’t go somewhere else and capture king snakes and other species that will eat other snakes. This is illegal.
- Don’t use products like d-CON, sulfur, sticky traps, mothballs or weapons like guns, knives or shovels. You increase your chances of being bitten over 80 times. It’s not worth the possible risk.
- Sticky traps should be noted. Sticky traps are a horrible way to die for not only snakes but small mammals. They will pull and fight and literally rip themselves apart until they are too tired, or worse, the nose can become stuck and they die by slow suffocation. They can be stuck in the trap for days. If a predator comes around, he might get stuck, including pets. It is inhumane. There is a way to free an animal by using vegetable-based oils, massage the areas that are stuck. If you can, check the animal over and if there are any injuries, take them to a qualified veterinarian.
- If you keep chicken coops, don’t use ceramic or glass balls or golf balls for the snake to swallow. They will suffer an agonizingly slow death
- Never use guns, knives, or shovels to kill a snake. There is more of a chance that you may injure yourself or someone nearby. You are more than 80 times likely to be bitten.
If you must remove snakes, spray them with a water hose. They don’t like it and may just find you too inhospitable and won’t return.
Snakes are very efficient predators designed to do what they do best – control rodents by following scent trails and entering nests for a multi-course meal. Farmers have long recognized the importance of leaving snakes alone and allowing them to catch.
It should be noted that rodents carry horrible and life-threatening diseases. They can have the plague, Ebola, Hantavirus and so many others. Other predators don’t even come close to what snakes kill. Giving the job to cats won’t even work. Studies have proven that cats actually will not hunt rats. Probably because they are larger, intelligent, and will fight back.
As more of their habitat is taken away from them, the more they are going to move into areas located in a human’s yard. There isn’t one animal on this planet that recognizes the property lines of humans or the concept that money was exchanged to “own” property when there is no way that you will remain there for perpetuity. Someday, your land will go back to being in the state it was when it was carved out and bought centuries ago. It is an illusion that we own land.
Though completely unintentional, those snakes are benefitting you. They help prevent disease and keeps your electricity on longer. Some snakes can even eat venomous snakes.
I urge you to consider allowing them to stay, for their sake and your sake.
Read the original article, with comments here.