Snakes in the House and in Richmnd Homes and Yards
Legend has it that Saint Patrick drove all the snakes out of Ireland. We could use a guy like that! There is no other animal that creates the panic, in otherwise reasonable people, that snakes do. There is a lot of bad information out there about snakes. Here are the facts:
The only poisonous snake you will run into in the Richmond area is the copperhead. We do have rattlesnakes in Virginia, both in the mountains and along the coast, but not around here. On rare occasions a cottonmouth (water moccasin) turns up in southern Chesterfield County, but this is very uncommon.
Snakes in buildings
Snakes do sometimes enter buildings. They usually stay in the crawl space, basement, or attic, but do occasionally come up into the house itself. Of the snakes that enter buildings, the vast majority are black rat snakes (“black snakes”), probably due to the fact that entering most buildings requires some vertical climbing, at which rat snakes are superb. Why snakes come in: Usually it will be for one of these reasons:
1) There is something to eat in the building. Usually this means mice, but it may also be birds, bats, lizards, large insects, etc. If the snake does find a good meal, it may stay for a week or so, and will make regular return trips.
2) To explore. Even if no prey species are present, a snake commonly scouts out the various hiding places within its home range (generally 10-50 acres) to see what it can find.
3) To shed its skin. The process of shedding the skin leaves the snake with limited eyesight for a day or so, just prior to the old skin actually coming off. This makes it vulnerable to predators, so it makes sense to seek out a safe place (such as a crawl space or attic) for a day or two while the shedding takes place.
4) As a temporary refuge to escape from a predator, rain, the hot sun, etc.
What to do: Snakes entering buildings are generally dealt with by:
1) Eliminating any prey species (mice, etc.) which are present.
2) To the extent possible, snake entry points into the building are found and sealed. Since black snakes are capable climbers, the roofline and upper portions of the building need to be included in this seal-up effort.
It would be great if we could just come out, find the snake, and take it away, but it is seldom that easy. While we certainly will search for snakes, actually finding one is more a function of luck than skill. Why? Most of the time the snake is either long gone, or is hidden in an inaccessible part of the building. Looking for a snake is like looking for a needle in a haystack, except that we only have part of the haystack to search, the needle can move at any time, and the needle may, in fact, not even be in the haystack anymore!
Again, the majority of calls we get for snakes in yards are black snakes. We get many calls for “copperheads,” but most turn out to be cases of mistaken identity. A few do turn out to be actual copperheads. Keep in mind that most snakes range over a 10-50 acre area, so the snake in your yard is either passing through, or has taken up temporary refuge while making the rounds.
1) Snake Away repellent. Used properly, this product will keep the majority of snakes out of the treated area. It is not magic, and will not keep out every snake in every situation. It needs to be reapplied every three months.
2) Removing large piles of firewood, stones, boards, brush, etc, or, in the least, moving these piles to the outer edges of the property. These piles serve as refuges for the snakes and as homes for small rodents, which attract snakes.
1) Relying on the expectation that the snake can be found and removed. As stated above, this is not all that likely to happen. Even if it does happen, there are other snakes around which can come into the area at will.
2) Mothballs and/or sulfur. Actually both have some repellent abilities when it comes to snakes, but Snake Away works much better. Mothballs are also toxic to humans and pets. We do not recommed using mothballs as a snake deterrent.
3) Drastic landscape changes. A lot of published advice for discouraging snakes focuses on “eliminating places snakes can hide.” This would be great advice if it was even remotely practical. Short of bringing in a bulldozer or flamethrower, there is no practical way to accomplish this. Get rid of the big piles or debris (as above), and try to minimize dense overgrowth, especially close to the house, but do not drastically alter your landscaping or think that you need to live in a moonscape.
Short of divine intervention (which brings us back to Saint Patrick) there is no way to absolutely assure that any area will be snake-free.
Wildlife Control Reviews
Our current technician is very good. He always calls us the day before so we know when he is coming. He also has done a very good job keeping pocket gophers in check.
- Espanola, NM
Mike did our service today. He was awesome! He addressed and resolved a couple of critter issues we were having. It's really helpful to be reminded when he was coming and texted me when he was on his way. Thank you for the great service!
Service: Rodent Control in Santa Fe
We appreciate that your company was able to rid our property of the squirrel activity that we observed. We were concerned that the squirrels would dig under the foundation of our house (which had happened to a neighbor in our area).
Thank you for doing what you said you would do to eliminate this squirrel activity.
Service: Ground squirrel control in Rio Rancho, NM
We personally have a bad infestation for a while, Critter Control has been stellar in the customer service/ communication department, We are still working on the infestation but CC has been absolutely above and beyond our expectations with some of our projects hurdles.
Services: Wildlife Control in Philadelphia
It has been very effective at reducing the number of mice, lizard, and snake sightings. During one visit Edgar removed a rattlesnake he came across. We may see a snake maybe two to three times during the spring and summer months, but it has been far less than before.
Serivces: Wildlife & Rodent Control in San Diego
Melinda is a true professional. She has helped us maintain a "critter-free" home. Whenever a mole decides to visit our property, she is right on top of it. Her recommendations about mosquito control made a big difference for my boys to be able to enjoy our backyard.
Services: Mole Control in St. Louis
We use Critter Control to deter snakes. We haven't seen any since using the monthly service. They are quick to answer questions and explain snake behavior. Also, if any are found they remove them with no extra charge.
Services: Recurring Snake Control in Destin, FL
Have been using for almost 10 years after a record rat invasion. The help I had back then was like a super-helpful friend taking a few weeks to rid me of that invasion. Over the years I have had a few other representatives. They are always nice and helpful.
Services: Rat Control in Austin, TX
Very informative and very knowledgeable staff in the field. Also they keep you up to date of how things are progressing.
Services: Wildlife Control in Detroit
Knowing my critter control professional & his familiarity with my property, especially when emergency wildlife issues arise.
Services: Wildlife Control in Quad Cities
On recommendations from a nearby pest control company, I called Critter Control for suspicious bat droppings
Madison came out the same day to do an inspection. She was knowledgeable, thorough, and highly professional. She examined the ‘matter’ that had been scattered on my threshold and thought it was foliage. But she then asked to go up to my attic space where the bats could be roosting. She had to walk up 3 flights of stairs with a heavy ladder. She again spent some time searching all the nooks and crannies and found nothing.
She seemed so interested in her craft, it was truly inspiring to see! She reassured me and is writing up a prevention strategy for my appraisal. She charged me NOTHING!! I am so impressed. We need more Madisons in this world!
Service: Bat Removal in San Diego
Daniel did a great job pigeon proofing. We have a huge pigeon problem in our neighborhood and the pigeons were roosting in the gutters of my house and my two next door neighbors, who also had nests in their gutters and under their air conditioner. Pigeon poop filled our gutters, and was piled on the outside floor when I bought the house. Since Daniel's pigeon proofing, and my neighbors also pigeon proofing their gutters, fireplace chimney, air conditioners, and removal of nest, I rarely see pigeons any more. Only the lovely native sparrows, robins, vermillion fly catchers, and mourning doves visit our property now.
Service: Bird Control in Albuquerque