Concerned about pesky critters roaming your land or committing general mayhem in your backyard? Invest in animal traps! These devices trap reptiles, rodents, and other animal species for pest control and wildlife management, among other purposes.
Although it may be a matter of opinion, the least popular of all pests is the snake. This scaly, legless and oftentimes venomous creature is the bane of many homeowners’ existence. Trapping snakes is a safe alternative to poisoning the animal with pesticides.
Remember: not all animal traps are equal.
That’s why it’s important to learn about snake traps and how they work. Listed below are key factors to consider when investing in a snake trap for your home.
Q: Do I need a snake trap?
A: If you have children, pets, or livestock on your property and are concerned for their safety, then you may want to consider purchasing a snake trap. Even though not all snakes are venomous, there’s no harm in erring on the side of caution. Venomous snakes are dangerous, and sometimes lethal if trapped and handled in an inappropriate manner.
One way to determine the kind of snake trap you’ll need, or whether you need to trap a snake or not, is by identifying the species.
If you live in North America, be aware of these four venomous snakes:
- Copperhead – copper and black striped body
- Coral Snake – bright color with coral pattern on its body
- Water Moccasin – found in bodies of water, such as rivers or streams
- Rattlesnake – snake with rattle on its end
The most common snakes you’ll find on your property or in cool, dark spaces in your home (namely, the basement) are as follows:
- Garter snake – garden snake that’s non-life threatening to humans and pets
- King snake – can be large in body width and length, but nonvenomous
- Milk snake – species of King snake, striped body
- Rat and Corn snakes – small constrictor snakes that pose no threat to human life or pets
Q: Now that I know what kind of snake I’m dealing with, what kind of trap should I use?
A: There are many trapping devices to choose from. Let’s review a few of them:
- Glue trap – This trap is popular because of its effectiveness. The trap also poses no danger to the snake’s life. These box-shaped traps vary in size, and come with trap bait. The bait will lure the snake into the trap, where it will be stuck to the glue at the bottom of the trap. Once the snake is in the trap, open it in an area away from your property and pour vegetable oil on the snake’s body. The oil will loosen the snake from the sticky trap so that it can slither away.
Keep in mind that glue traps are most often used for trapping rodents in the home. This humane snake trapping method will work best when used indoors, but make sure you keep it away from children and pets to avoid injury or poisoning.
- Minnow trap – For homes playing host to more than two or three snakes, you’ll need a minnow trap. These cost effective, wire mesh cylinders are great when it comes to trapping several snakes at a time. Simply place a couple of eggs in the trap and wait for the snakes to crawl in. The cylinder has two large holes at either end that will close once the snakes are inside.
Even though minnow traps are effective, they may present a challenge once it’s time to handle the snakes. Snakes can slither away from the trap once it’s open with great ease. That’s why it may be best to use the minnow trap to catch and release nonvenomous snakes.
Q: Where can I buy a snake trap?
A: Home and garden or hardware stores sell all kinds of animal traps. Ask a sales associate for help if you don’t know what size to get.
Q: Where should I put the snake trap?
A: If you remember where you first saw the snakes, that’s where you’ll want to place the trap. Atypical places to put snake traps include basements, attics or other cool and dark rooms in your home. Other places include gardens and areas where there are small animals or fowl.
Q: Do I have to camouflage my snake trap so snakes will go into it?
A: No. You can set up your trap with bait and wait for the snakes to find their way into it.
Q: Should I check my snake traps often?
A: Yes. Once your snake trap is set, you’ll need to make sure that these reptiles are humanely contained. It’s normal to check the trap on a daily basis. Once they’re contained, you’ll need to release them into a safe environment, away from your home.
Please advise: do not let the snakes die in the trap.
Q: So, the snake trap worked… but do I have to handle the snake myself?
A: No. If you’re not familiar with snakes, or are simply squeamish, when it comes to slithering pests, it’s best to call your local animal control department. For those used to handling snakes, venomous or not, keep in mind that shaking the trap is ill advised.
When it comes to snakes, you always want to use caution and ensure you make an educated decision when it comes to handling these reptiles. It should go without saying that you want to keep children and animals away from traps when you’re ready to clear them out.
Q: Once the snakes are trapped and cleared from my property, how can I keep them away for good?
A: You’ll want to be realistic when it comes to clearing your property of reptilian pests. Some of them may be good for your ecosystem, and others not so much. After determining which are beneficial, you’ll want to introduce a few practical home protection methods:
- Seal all cracks and holes in your home. Most of the time, you’ll find this critter-friendly culprits in your attic and basement. Other areas prone to entry such as chimneys, door and window edges, and vents need to be maintained regularly to ensure that snakes won’t come into your home.
- Remain vigilant when it comes to lawn care by mowing your grass on a regular basis, and removing large natural objects from your yard (e.g., rocks and stones and other things that snakes can use as shelter).
- If all else fails, try an all-natural snake repellent. You’ll want to reach out to your local home and garden store associate for recommendations because not all repellents are created equal. In fact, some people prefer traps for their safety and effectiveness.
As you can see there are many factors you’ll need to consider when investing in snake traps that will keep your home and property free of these pests. In addition to using the right snake trap for the right species, remember that if you are unable to handle the snake yourself after its been trapped, call your local animal control center. Notify them of the type of snake you’ve trapped so they can assess how to remove it from your property.
Need more pest control information? Review articles written about trapping and wildlife management here.