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:

Poisonous Snakes

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.

Removing snakes

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!

Snakes outside

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.

What works:

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.

Not recommended:

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) Moth balls and/or sulfur. Actually both have some repellent abilities when it comes to snakes, but Snake Away works much better.

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.

 

Unrealistic expectations

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.

Testimonials

Mara
9/15/2021
Excellent communications, execution and friendly. I highly recommend this company!
Ellen
9/10/2021
The Critter Control team went above and beyond to make sure that NO CRITTERS could get into my home. We thought we had conquered the problem, but we still heard squirrels getting in, so they returned to reassess and finish the job. They actually pulled up our deck boards and found that the critters were getting in because of a rotted board underneat the cantilever. They replaced the insulation, rotted boards, and put a metal sheeting over everything so NO squirrels or critters could chew their way in! If you need critter control - you need to contact them. They stand behind their work 100%.... Thank you Rodney & Team!! Great Job. Ellen R. Haslett, MI
Joy
9/9/2021
Eric was grate,give him 5 stars and much thanks.
Flo
9/3/2021
Everyone is awesome!! Thank you!
Jan B.
8/28/2021
If you are in the market for this service, having Michelle and George take a look is a must! Unlike some other vendors, the people who come to the house and assess the job are the ones that will actually do the work, so you get to meet the people who will actually perform the work - no new people or subcontractors. Michelle and George are highly experienced, professional, and friendly - a pleasure to work with. They always came within the promised window, and were accessible by phone or text for any questions. Sincerely, highly recommend.
Kay's Dairy Bar
8/26/2021
Great job
Bilal
8/24/2021
Terrance was very professional. He was very thorough. I would definitely order this service again.
Pam
8/18/2021
Brandon from Critter Control was professional, courteous, thorough, and knowledgeable. We are very pleased with our service.
Ray
8/9/2021
Great job as always!
Ashley
8/9/2021
technician was great--explained everything well.
Sriram
8/8/2021
We had a great experience working with the crew from Critter Control San Jose. They patiently listened to our observations, we came up with strategies and ended up fixing suspect areas, trapping a couple of rats. Problem seems to have been solved and hope we don't need to call them again
Pam
7/30/2021
Brandon was extremely thorough and knowledgeable. He was able to figure out where our mystery smell was coming from, removed the carcass, and cleaned/deodorized the entire area. We are very pleased with the job performed and the professionalism shown. Highly recommend!
David
7/22/2021
The job was handled very professionally and done in a timely matter was very pleased with the removal of the critters that were beneath my home I would recommend you to my friend thank you.
STACY
7/14/2021
Great family company. I've used this company for many years and will continue to do so.
Marilyn
6/15/2021
Brendan is always good and he is friendly.thank you
Richard
6/11/2021
Y’all were responsive & personable… & caught 4 critters that were doing damage digging up our lawn. Thanks.
Sally
6/11/2021
Thanks for taking care of our "critters" so quickly and efficiently. It's not a job I want any part of, but I'm glad you are good at it!
Bill
6/11/2021
They did a really good job, very professional and courteous.
Lee
6/10/2021
Terrance showed up when he said he would and did a great job. Thank you for the help.
SMK Trust
6/10/2021
Excellent work. Kept us informed throughout and helped us control the problem.
Marshall
6/10/2021
Chris is great , courteous and professional
Bob
6/10/2021
Prompt service,very nice on phone.Glad to know about Crittercontrol.
Mica
6/10/2021
My whole interaction with Critter Control was very satisfying from making the appointment to Chris' 2 visits. He diagnosed the issue and returned several days later to finish the job with a creative solution. Many thanks!
Nancy
6/10/2021
Chris is excellent! He eliminated the flying squirrels and bats from our new home. He’s always professional and polite.
Brian
6/10/2021
Terry did a great job with the initial bird removal and covering up the hole where the birds had nested afterwards. He was also very polite and explained everything that he was doing. I couldn't ask for a better experience.
Bethany
6/10/2021
Great crew and service!
Phyllis
6/9/2021
Critter Control was EXCELLENT in helping us get an iguana out of our attic! The technician was polite, friendly and very responsible! He explained what he was doing and what had to be done to ensure success in removing the iguana. I would hire Critter Control again without hesitation. Thanks Critter Control for helping us!
Heather
6/3/2021
Thank you!..always on top of it!
Robert
6/2/2021
Great service to secure our home. We had a new roof installed but they never did Rescreen the vents to keep the critters out of the house. Nice job Brandon.
Daryl
6/2/2021
Thanks
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