Solved! What To Do About Snake Holes In The Yard
Finding snake holes in the yard can be alarming, but knowing how to get rid of them can prevent further snake habitation.
Q: While working outside, I noticed holes in the grass, and I’m concerned there may be snakes inside them. Do snakes dig holes? How can I tell if these are snake holes in the yard, and what should I do about them?
A: Rodents and larger insects can create holes in the ground that are perfect spaces for snake nests. These holes can be found embedded in grass, in piles of dirt or sand, or under piles of logs or sticks. Snake hole openings are circular but can range in diameter and depth due to the snake’s size.
There are a few things to look out for that can help determine if there are (or were) snakes living in the hole. However, before dealing with any potential snake holes in the yard, it’s essential to wear protective gear, such as gloves, to avoid getting bitten if any snakes are present.
Look for nearby signs of snakes, like shed skins and feces.
It is challenging to assume a hole is from a snake unless seeing a physical snake or signs near or around it. If there are no snakes in the hole when examined, check around the area for snake skins or feces. Looking closely at the skin can reveal the snake’s size, shape, and activity level. This can help homeowners assess the situation and determine how many and what kinds of snakes they are dealing with.
To determine if there are snake feces in the yard, check for dark brown smears with a white end. The size of the feces correlates with the size of the snake—the larger the feces, the larger the snake. The placement of the feces can also tell you where the snake was recently active and, possibly, the general direction it traveled next.
Identify the snake holes in your yard and determine whether they are vacant.
There may be more than one hole around the yard, so before deciding how to handle the one found, scout out areas where there may be piles of leaves, dirt, or sticks. Check for snakes or holes where they may have hidden, under logs, and in any tall, grassy areas. If there are multiple, the snakes may be nesting in several holes or may have moved from one to another if there was a threat to their safety.
Once any snake holes have been identified, they should be examined carefully to see if the snakes are in there. Remember to wear gloves to avoid getting bitten by a potentially venomous snake. For a less invasive approach, cameras can be set up near the area to keep watch for any snakes that may move in and out of the hole over some time.
Leave the snake hole alone.
In the event where snakeskin and feces are found around the yard, consider the size and shape, as well as the type of snake that may be slithering around. In the United States, the most common non-venomous snakes are the garter snake and common water snake. Garter snakes are about 18 to 20 inches long, and common water snakes are about 24 to 42 inches long. Garter snakes can vary in color and pattern, while the water snakes are usually brown or black and spotted.
Most likely, the snakes found in the yard will not be venomous. The non-venomous snakes help eliminate insects like crickets, certain types of worms, and cockroaches. They also will feast on pests like rats and moles. In most cases, it is beneficial to let the snake continue going about its business. However, if the snake becomes a bother or threat to any person or pet, there are ways to get them to stay away. These include using snake repellent, setting traps, and filling or covering snake holes.
Cover a snake hole with dirt, netting, wire, or burlap.
Snakes prefer holes that offer a dark, cool space to slither into. The holes can protect them and help them catch prey. Before doing anything with a snake hole, be cautious that it is not occupied. If there are nesting snakes, and they are disturbed, they may become irritated and bite. Exercise safety by wearing gloves, and keep an eye out for any snakes in the immediate area.
Unoccupied snake holes can be closed by filling them with dirt or covering them with netting, wire, or burlap. The key point to remember if deciding to fill or cover the hole is not to pile up material, as this will create the perfect space for snakes to nest there again. Make sure the filling or covering is flat or as level as possible with the ground. Eliminating the hole will drive snakes elsewhere to nest and find food.
Take caution when working around snake holes, and check your local regulations.
It’s a common reaction to want to act aggressively against a snake out of fear; however, regulations may need to be considered before taking action. Some states have laws prohibiting shooting or hitting snakes. It’s important to also check if fumigation is a legal option.
There are several options for getting rid of snakes, one being the use of snake repellent. The repellent can be sprayed where snakes are spotted and at the edges of the yard to keep them out. They often take on a scent of cinnamon, clove, or ammonia. Make sure to find repellents that are safe for humans and pets, as well as ensuring it’s legal in the local area.
Another option for getting rid of any snakes is setting a trap. It won’t kill the snakes but will trap them so they can be released later on. Be careful when working around the snake holes and using traps because the snakes may become agitated and try to bite once released. Make sure to wear protective gloves to avoid getting harmed. If a snake gets trapped, make sure to release it at least 10 miles from where it got trapped to ensure it doesn’t end up back in the yard.
Eliminate hiding places and food sources to make your yard less hospitable to snakes.
The perfect environment for snakes to thrive in has tall grassy areas with large piles of dirt, leaves, or sticks. These environments are populated with insects and small rodents. Snakes will continue to stick around areas they know have food for them to eat; thus, it’s important to eliminate their food sources.
The first thing that can be done is to eliminate any piles in the yard where the rodents or insects may live. Burn firewood before the springtime, level out piles of dirt, and clear out leaves. The other option is to drive out rodents by using traps or smoking them out of the yard. Smoke bombs can be used, but take caution not to use them in areas with lots of trees, a wooden porch or furniture, and other flammable structures.
Call a pest control professional to keep snakes away.
Any type of snake can be harmful to people or pets if they feel threatened or become irritated. If there is any hesitancy when encountering the snakes or in knowing the best way to handle snake holes, it would be best to contact a professional for help.
Exterminators or local wildlife services can remove snakes from the property in a safe way. They’ll be able to assess the risks and provide the best solution to creating a yard free of snakes. They can also educate homeowners on what types of snakes are inhabiting their yard and tips on how to avoid future infestations.