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Get Rid of Snakes in the Yard

Virginia has years of experience with gardening and wild pests in New Hampshire, Kansas, Australia, and other locales.

A Large Cottonmouth in Florida

This one caught my eye. He was crossing the street and really stood out. Once it was on the mulch, it was harder to see this poisonous snake. Read more about dealing with a snake in your yard.

This one caught my eye. He was crossing the street and really stood out. Once it was on the mulch, it was harder to see this poisonous snake. Read more about dealing with a snake in your yard.

What to Do about a Snake in the Yard?

My neighbor in his bare feet stepped out of his house right onto a snake. Fortunately it was a harmless black snake but needless to say, both were pretty startled. Even a non-poisonous snake will bite in such a situation. Luckily my neighbor jumped back and the snake slithered away through the St. Augustine grass.

Some snakes are not so harmless. If you're seeing dangerous snakes in your yard, it's quite disturbing. You worry about one of the children getting bitten or the family pet suffering a bite while they play in the yard, Sometimes snakes even find a small opening and wander into the house. It has happened to me twice.

I've gathered together some of the methods for getting rid of snakes. Hopefully one will fit your situation.


Be Alert, Snakes Can Climb

I was dismayed to spot this snake in the bushes by my front walk. Recognizing it as a black racer, I calmed down. They are non-poisonous. I've heard that it's beneficial to have one of these as they will defend their territory from other snakes.

I was dismayed to spot this snake in the bushes by my front walk. Recognizing it as a black racer, I calmed down. They are non-poisonous. I've heard that it's beneficial to have one of these as they will defend their territory from other snakes.

Many Snakes Are Harmless and Beneficial - Know the Beneficial Snakes and How to Tell the Difference

Snakes eat rodents and other pests, so they help keep your yard free of these. If you know the snake you are seeing is not dangerous to your family, try learning to accept it as part of nature.

Snake on My Front Walk... Oh, No!

We recently had these evergreens removed and put more open plantings here that were less attractive to snakes.

We recently had these evergreens removed and put more open plantings here that were less attractive to snakes.

I Hope He Isn't Heading for My Yard - I took this photo in Florida

get-rid-of-snakes

A Cottonmouth in Our Garage - ACK!

Just a week ago, we found a young foot-long cottonmouth in our garage. We keep glue traps along the walls of the garage in case of mice. Instead, we caught a poisonous snake. I sure look around carefully now when I go into the garage. The venom from even a young snake can be serious.

Skip on down to the section on glue traps for information on using those.

Other Evidence of Snakes in Your Yard

While gardening, you might find a shed like this. The snake wiggles out of its old skin and leaves it behind.  It's possible that the critter was just passing through, but it means you should be alert in case it likes your yard and is still around.

While gardening, you might find a shed like this. The snake wiggles out of its old skin and leaves it behind. It's possible that the critter was just passing through, but it means you should be alert in case it likes your yard and is still around.

Snake Repelling Granules - How Do These Work?

Some contain naphthalene and sulfur which are supposed to deter snakes since they rely on their tongues to sense things around them. The two ingredients are intended to interfere with that and thus the snakes don't want to linger nearby.

Other ones use Geraniol, castor Oil, clove oil, cinnamon oil, and mint oil.

The names to look for are

  • Ortho Snake B Gon
  • Havahart 6400 Snake Shield Snake Repellent
  • Dr. T's Snake Repellent Hose End Spray
  • Dr. T's 28 lb. Snake-A-Way Snake Repelling Granules
  • Nature's MACE SNAKE Repellent
  • Liquid Fence HG-80261 Snake Repellent Granules

Ortho Snake B Gon - Repellent Granules

Video Showing Spreading Snake Away

A Black Racer Snake in My Yard - He's coming up from a French drain in the side yard.

black racer snake in Florida

black racer snake in Florida

I was fascinated that it could make its body rigid in this standing pose to look around. Now this is a harmless snake that does good by clearing out insects. I'd leave this one alone, though I would steer clear of it.

If you're phobic about all snakes, then try some of the products I've found and featured here.


If you spot one of these in your landscaping, back carefully and quietly away. Don't start whacking at it with a stick which will provoke it to attack you.

If you spot one of these in your landscaping, back carefully and quietly away. Don't start whacking at it with a stick which will provoke it to attack you.

Glue Traps to Catch Snakes That Get into the Garage

How a Glue Trap Saved Us From a Snake in Our Garage

This is how we found the cottonmouth that got into our garage. It was stuck fast to a glue trap that we had placed along the walls. I shudder to think what might have happened if we hadn't trapped it. There are so many places in the garage where a snake could lurk and then strike at us when we walked past or disturbed it.

You cannot remove the snake from the strong adhesive on the glue board, so this is not a catch and release method. Get a good batch of these and place them in out-of-the-way areas and along the walls. You don't want them where you will accidentally step on it. It's pretty hard to get unstuck from it.

UPDATE: After talking to my local pest control man, he told me that you can use baby oil to remove a snake from glue trap. Someone else suggested a small amount of vegetable oil poured around the snake will allow it to wriggle itself free after a while. This wouldn't be easy, as you need to move the glue trap (with the snake stuck on it) to the location where you want to release it. Then you need to pour or squirt oil onto the glue without endangering yourself. Tricky.

A friend tried this method when a lizard got stuck on their glue trap. She was able to free it and afterwards it showed no ill effects from having been stuck on the glue.

Cottonmouth (small one) on a Glue Trap in Our Garage

Once a snake is stuck on the glue tray, you can use a shovel to scoop up the glue board/tray and the attached snake and dispose of it.

Once a snake is stuck on the glue tray, you can use a shovel to scoop up the glue board/tray and the attached snake and dispose of it.

Make Your Yard Less Attractive to Snakes

We recently removed some low-growing evergreens from our front yard. A landscaper said they frequently see snakes under these as they are a good place for snakes to find small rodents or frogs and lizards that they like to eat.

In place of the evergreens, we installed more open plantings.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources offers suggestions on how to remove unwanted snakes from yards and buildings. Learn what they suggest:Removing unwanted snakes: Minnesota DNR

A snake fence, what a great idea. Watch the video to see how it works.

Where Are You Seeing Snakes?

Tiny Snake on the Patio - Ring Neck

This is a ring neck snake and it's slimmer than a pencil. I looked it up and found that although it is poisonous, its mouth is too small to bite a human. I scooped it into a plastic container and covered it to keep it contained.

This is a ring neck snake and it's slimmer than a pencil. I looked it up and found that although it is poisonous, its mouth is too small to bite a human. I scooped it into a plastic container and covered it to keep it contained.

Then I took it for a short ride in our golf cart to a grassy area away from our home. I released it into the grass.

Then I took it for a short ride in our golf cart to a grassy area away from our home. I released it into the grass.

What to Do if You Find an Exotic Snake in Your Yard

This happened to a friend of mine in Maryland. She discovered a ten-foot boa constrictor in her backyard. Since she is a talented writer, you'll enjoy her description of the incident on her blog.

Call the local animal control to come to deal with the snake. Keep your children and small pets in the house until it is removed.


You Don't Expect to See an Exotic Snake in Your Yard in Maryland

The boa constrictor found in a Maryland yard.

The boa constrictor found in a Maryland yard.

Visitors to This Page Come from All Over

(counter added May 28, 2012)

(counter added May 28, 2012)

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2010 Virginia Allain

Do Snakes Frighten You? - Now You Know Some Ways to Make Them Go Away

Virginia Allain (author) from Central Florida on January 27, 2020:

I talked with our pest control man about that and he said that copperheads are not seen in Central Florida. He also said that the markings on a young cottonmouth can be very similar to a copperhead. Either way, I don't want it slithering around our garage.

Tina on January 27, 2020:

The snake on sticky trap is a copperhead not a cottonmouth.

Susan Deppner from Arkansas USA on May 29, 2015:

Even with all the rain recently, we haven't seen snakes in the yard yet, though we've found a couple of snake skins. With the flooding in the south and plains states, many people are having encounters of the slithery kind. Glad you got that cottonmouth. Gives me shivers just to look at the picture!

gottaloveit2 on July 24, 2014:

We have fairly large snakes on our property but they're non-poisonous and I invite them in. They eat the mice and rodents. We just steer clear when we see the big ones or pick up the small ones and move them where we'd prefer they be.

Virginia Allain (author) from Central Florida on June 07, 2013:

@bizgrrl: I agree that it is not kind to let the snake die slowly on the glue trap from hunger and thirst. On the other hand, it did catch a cottonmouth in our garage. The risk of our being bitten by the poisonous snake was quite high as we unsuspecting walked about in our garage working at the workbench or getting in and out of our car.

bizgrrl from Vancouver, Canada on June 06, 2013:

Glue traps are inhumane.

anonymous on May 14, 2013:

I'm afraid I'm not much of a manly man when it comes to snakes. I am terrified of them. I even having trouble looking at pictures of them (blushes). I live about 100 yards from a creek where snakes are common, so I always have to be on the lookout for them. In spite of not being able to look at the photos, I liked your lens :)

Virginia Allain (author) from Central Florida on April 09, 2013:

@Loretta L: The next time I visit England, I must look for the adders and the grass snake. Snakes are fascinating as long as they aren't in your garden.

Loretta Livingstone from Chilterns, UK. on April 09, 2013:

Goodness me, I'm so glad I live in the UK. We do have adders but their bite is rarely fatal though they are poisonous, and I have never seen one. They tend to live near heathland, and I don't. I did once see the most beautiful grass snake slip into the canal and swim away. It was stunning.

Virginia Allain (author) from Central Florida on November 20, 2012:

@Lady Lorelei: I think we instinctively recoil from such creatures as a safety measure. Now I try to view it as a photo opportunity and subdue my fear (but keep a safe distance).

Lorelei Cohen from Canada on November 20, 2012:

I grew up in a very backwoods logging community which had snakes everywhere but now live in the city where (fortunately) I no longer have to deal with snakes. I just cannot bring myself to like spiders or snakes ;)

Virginia Allain (author) from Central Florida on November 04, 2012:

@anonymous: These are for snakes of all types.

anonymous on November 04, 2012:

I am phobic about snakes. I want a snake fence for my dog run. Will it work against copperheads and water mocs?

Virginia Allain (author) from Central Florida on October 27, 2012:

@anonymous: In Florida, that big snake might be a cottonmouth and quite poisonous. I've seen several.

anonymous on October 27, 2012:

My daughter was less that two feet away from a six foot black snake the other day while sitting inside the lanai. She saw it eat a lizard. I hate snakes with a passion and getting some of those traps!

Kellie-Ryan on October 25, 2012:

@Helene-Malmsio: Hi Helene! I mostly remove Australian Copperheads and Eastern Brown Snakes from homes here and release them back to the wild. With deadly snakes like that only a professional snake catcher like myself should go anywhere near them.

Helene-Malmsio on October 24, 2012:

I called Kellie Ryan, a professional snake catcher, when a deadly brown snake got into my yard - I'm not going anywhere near it!!!

anonymous on October 23, 2012:

i keep seeing copper head snakes in my yard. best way i have learned to deal with them is with my 870 express pump shotgun and 3 inch slugs. used to have king snakes but i guess the copper heads won that battle. oh and dr t's doesn't work any better than pissing on a snake....just saying!

anonymous on October 13, 2012:

I HATE snakes, they kill pets and i will try all the methods to see what works!!

Tony Bonura from Tickfaw, Louisiana on September 01, 2012:

I like your lens. I don't like snakes of any type. I especially don't like rattlers and moccasins! A long time ago I adopted a live and let live attitude toward snakes. I do not want to harm them, but I do not want them to harm me or mine either. When I come across a snake, if it will not go away, then I will! If they get aggressive with me, I get aggressive right back, no matter what kind of snake breed they are. Good lens, with some interesting information.

TonyB

Virginia Allain (author) from Central Florida on July 07, 2012:

@EMangl: Most people would be pleased to not see any snakes. They are environmentally important.

Virginia Allain (author) from Central Florida on July 03, 2012:

@gottaloveit2: Yikes, you sure wouldn't expect one of those in Maryland. Don't think my snake traps will handle that size of snake.

gottaloveit2 on July 03, 2012:

I don't generally mind snakes but I wasn't a fan of the 10' python in my backyard last year. He ended up going to the zoo (I hope) after I called animal control. Great lens.

Virginia Allain (author) from Central Florida on June 26, 2012:

@xriotdotbiz lm: Hmm, I'll have to check out the spray you mention. It might be a good addition here.

xriotdotbiz lm on June 26, 2012:

I saw where Billy The Exterminator on his show used a garlic based spray to create a perimeter around a house that was having snake problems. Found that interesting.

anonymous on June 25, 2012:

I was here last year but this just caught my eye and had to peek in...love the picture of the Black Racer and just read somewhere that it often travels with its head up like a periscope while hunting.

hntrssthmpsn on June 15, 2012:

I've always lived in areas with lots of snakes, and, having also always lived in areas with lots of rodents, learned to love the snakes! I was so happy to see that your first recommendation here is to learn to get along with mild-mannered species of snakes! For those who just can't stand snakes, the humane trap you show here looks great. Trap 'em and bring 'em over to MY yard, folks! ;)

jseven lm on June 14, 2012:

I am not in gardens anymore, but used to see them in there here in Michigan and would catch them with my brother as a child. Then one day it got out of the jar on the house and mom never allowed jars of anything in the house after that! :)

Bill Armstrong from Valencia, California on June 02, 2012:

Not saw any snakes around here yet but I know they are here, not sure what I would do so I am studding this lens more, thanks for sharing

VeseliDan on May 30, 2012:

Snakes often come to my yard and I am very afraid of them because they are poisonous. Thank you for your advices! *blessed*

Barbara Walton from France on May 14, 2012:

I feel that I'm lucky to live in a country with few poisonous snakes. On the radio today there was a feature about an island, somewhere near Tahiti I think, which had been invaded by brown tree snakes brought in by man (the army??). They had completely taken over and were causing all sorts of damage, plus they are mildly poisonous, apparently. The solution was to helicopter in poisoned mice and drop them over the island. Shame but I suppose necessary.

Pam Irie from Land of Aloha on May 12, 2012:

Thank goodness the only snakes we have here in the islands live at the zoo. yikes!

SharpLee on May 09, 2012:

I didn't know there was such a thing as snake repellent. We live on the edge of a canyon and ended up with a rattlesnake in our front yard. I might want to use the repellent on the side of the yard that backs up to the wilderness!

AlleyCatLane on April 13, 2012:

Hate snakes! One got in our house one time and our three year old daughte found it in the hall. We thought she was kidding. I also hate when I am gardening and one slithers out of the mulch. Enough to give me a heart attack!

Nancy Tate Hellams from Pendleton, SC on March 27, 2012:

Thanks for all this great info re Getting rid of Snakes in the Yard. I wish that my snake this morning had been in the yard rather than the closet. Fortunately, he got caught on one of the many Glue Traps throughout the house. I thought he was dead but when my husband picked up the trap, we realized he was still alive. All is ok. Every time the vacant lots next door to us are cleared we have snakes and mice. Later today we discovered the mice in the same closet. Yikes. I don't know which I hate the worse. I do like the glue traps and we are using Snake Be Gone, too! Copperheads are nothing to mess around with.

Showpup LM on March 22, 2012:

We had to hire an excavator to make our pond much larger as it was drying up considerably every year making it a wonderful, smelly habitat for snakes and other non-desirables. I, personally, LOVE snakes of all kinds but I don't want to be overrun by them in my yard.

Perrin from South Carolina on March 20, 2012:

Thanks for all the good info...this is a very thorough lens. Snakes are awake and out, now that it's spring. There are water moccasins in a pond about a block from us, and we have a child who likes to play in the yard. So, this was very informative!

anonymous on March 03, 2012:

@Virginia Allain: Just came across this since I am looking for a snake repellant. A black mamba 8 feet recently fell from our ceiling and my brother was almost trapped in the living room. luckily he escaped by we later killed it when it hid in one of the bedrooms. We think it was following a mouse. We live in an area with a lot of wildlife but I really need to keep the snakes from yard.

Cheap-Divorce on January 25, 2012:

Been collecting and keeping snakes for about 30 years now, a very interesting page that you put together here. Don't agree with using the glue boards and have never heard of snake repellant (probably because I spend my time trying to find snakes and not chase them away LOL) Does it actually work and and what's the main ingredient. Quite a few years ago they developed and marketed a shark repellant but when it was tested in the natural environment by an independent TV production company it did nothing to deter any sharks, they didn't even seem to notice anything.

Virginia Allain (author) from Central Florida on January 18, 2012:

@anonymous: I couldn't find any plants listed that reliably repelled snakes. There are sites that recommend clearing away low-growing plants that snakes might like to hunt or hide under.

anonymous on January 12, 2012:

Please help is there such thing that the is a tree you plant on your yard to get rid of your snakes? If the is I really need it,every time I see a snake I faint

thomasaden on November 15, 2011:

Once I had a snake in my courtyard, I just freezes after seeing the creature. After one minute he just moved away to the next yard. You have given such nice tips in this lens. Thanks for making this beautiful lens. Keep up the great work.

PhillipConte on November 08, 2011:

I enjoyed reading this lens. I had a black racer in my yard the when I saw it from afar I thought it was a "stick" in the ground. I went to pick it up and the "stick" moved with the speed of light to the next yard.

mrducksmrnot on October 20, 2011:

Never had a fear of snakes. I'm not a snake handler but did catch them in the wild (poison ones) and bring to the science lab at Western Carolina College in NC. They would milk them and make anti-venom for those who were bitten. The College would always release them back in the wild as they do have a purpose in the balance of nature. A 10 pound bag of lime poured out around the border of the property usually keeps snakes from crossing into your safe area. Only problem is you have to reapply after a hard rain but really inexpensive and good for the soil also. Snakes are territorial so if you have a black snake around it will fight off the poison ones for territory rights by nature. Keeps the rodents down to a minimum also. Great lens

hsschulte on October 04, 2011:

Snakes terrify me. I recently found a black snake living along the foundation of my house when I was doing some landscaping. I've heard I should keep him around, but I just find snakes so creepy. It is much better than a rattlesnake.

CanadaGear on August 09, 2011:

Was recently watching a snake show so the title drew me in - good ways to keep our sometimes not so friendly reptile friends at bay.

jokcoen on July 25, 2011:

this is actually an area of pest control that I am not too familiar with, thanks for the great resources!

phoenix arizona f on June 06, 2011:

I have a feeling one of my dogs would be on him before I would.

Monika Weise from Indianapolis, IN USA on May 29, 2011:

I like snakes, but not when they are sneaking up on me! Great lens.

MargoPArrowsmith on May 24, 2011:

I trust you had a telephoto lens when you took the picture of that snake! The little, not poisonous ones don't bother me at all.

I just heard the most awful story about what a 'pet' boa did to a client's sister! The joys of having a 15 foot killer roaming the house and sitting next to me watching TV is something I just don't get!

pinkrenegade lm on May 24, 2011:

I hate snakes, I'm scared of them. I would probably just ask for help. :)

Helene-Malmsio on May 21, 2011:

I was told that a deadly brown snake was seen going into my back yard last summer - Yikes! Luckily the local snake catcher came quickly and the checked all the yard and garage and convinced me the snake had gone. I've now done my best to snake-proof my fences by putting boards up that the would most likely not climb over, as they prefer to just follow straight lines - hopefully right past my front fence!

Cynthia Davis from Pittsburgh on May 19, 2011:

Yes, snakes frighten me. Even the gardeners. Great info on how to get rid of them.

gottaloveit2 on May 15, 2011:

I have a video somewhere of fishing a snake out of the pool last spring. He (or she) was pretty content to swim around which worried me as we have cottonmouths over here. Regardless, I let him go WAAAAAY out back. I don't really mind snakes - now, spiders are another issue!

Peggy Hazelwood from Desert Southwest, U.S.A. on May 14, 2011:

This lens is downright creepy. I hate snakes! It's nice to know there are this many ways to get rid of snakes!

Bella Stella on May 03, 2011:

As far as I know, sulphur keeps snakes away from your house and thatâs what my parents use for their garden in order to prevent them from getting in. I am scared of snakes, I cannot see them even in photos. Even though you have mentioned that some of them are harmless and despite the fact that I know that they get even more scared of me, I cannot stay calm when coming across one!

anonymous on April 25, 2011:

I've always been pretty comfortable with snakes but then have never had a POISONOUS snake in my garage, an advantage of living in northern states. Many others will certainly find your information very helpful.

Snakesmom on April 16, 2011:

Snakes scare me and interest me at the same time! lol

Laurel Johnson from Washington KS on April 16, 2011:

When we lived in Kentucky, one day I was washing dishes looking out my kitchen window.

A mother cat and six half grown kittens were sitting focused on our woodpile. Suddenly, an adult copperhead slithered out of the woodpile along with several small copperheads. The mama cat jumped on the big snake, the kittens on the little snakes, and in very short order the snakes were dead. After we told the neighboring farmer about the incident, he took the mama cats and kittens to his farm and they systematically rid an area of a copperhead nest. He brought them back a week later saying he'd tried everything but never had better results than he did with our cats.

Good lens. I hope our current batch of outdoor cats keep poisonous snakes away like our cats in Kentucky did.

anonymous on April 16, 2011:

Not too many snakes where I live....thank goodness. We have a strange amount of stray cats though...I think I would prefer snakes. =)

Annamadagan on April 16, 2011:

Snakes are beautiful, but scary!! And some are dangerous. Great lens!

Lorelei Cohen from Canada on April 16, 2011:

I had never heard of a snake fence before. We used to have these installed around our city's bird sanctuary to hold the turtles in though.

anonymous on April 15, 2011:

i live in australia, and we get a lot of snakes! and im not sure we have thos liquids or anything to get rid of snakes so im abit scared after seeing a dugite in my backyard.

anonymous on July 10, 2010:

Venomous snakes in one's own yard are so frightening, particularly if a suspect is spotted, then disappears to who knows where! Here in the southern US we have more than our fair share, with some wonderful snake stories to tell, too. This article provides some great tips with applicable solutions. Thanks!

Jennifer P Tanabe from Red Hook, NY on July 10, 2010:

We sometimes see a snake in our yard. I've always assumed it was a non-venomous garter snake enjoying the sun and just watched with interest (from a distance - not to scare it of course!)

reasonablerobby on July 10, 2010:

How different to the UK. We only have one venomous snake called the Viper. Its other name is the Adder. We also have the Grass Snake and the Smooth snake which are non venomous.