Snakes are much more afraid of humans than humans are of them, which is saying a lot. Because of this, however, most snakes avoid humans, pets, and anything to do with them … for the most part. They would much rather slither away and be left alone than stay and fight a predator that is many, many times the size that they are.
Unfortunately, human-snake conflicts do arise from time to time, but there are ways that you can deal with it to keep yourself safe, and things that you can do to prevent snake problems from happening to you.
There are more than 3,400 snake species across the world, but only around 170 of them are said to be found in the United States (with many more subspecies). Very few of them are venomous (around 20), though there are venomous snakes found in almost every state with the exception of Alaska.
It can be hard to tell the difference between a venomous snake and a non-venomous one, and it is not immediately obvious just from taking a quick glance whether or not the snake is a dangerous species in terms of aggression. Even small snakes can be nippy and potentially life-threatening, so we don't recommend that you get too close if you find yourself in the same space as one.
The boa constrictor is a species of snake that can live for many years with the right conditions: up to 35, in some cases (captivity). In the wild, however, the snake's life is dramatically shortened: it has a lifespan of just 20 years. One of the oldest snakes was 42 years old: an albino ball python.
Between 5 and 15 years tends to be the norm for snakes in the wild, which can be half or even a third of the age it could reach in better, optimal conditions.
Just as different snakes have different markings, and different risk factors attached, they also reproduce in different ways. Some snakes give birth to live young, others lay and incubate eggs; it all depends on the species, the climate (sometimes), and other factors. If you live in an area that is prone to snake problems, or that has a high snake population, we recommend doing a little research into what you might find in your own back yard. It's always better to be over-prepared than underprepared.
Snakes live in a variety of habitats, with a species of snake for virtually every single one of them. A few of them live in water, a few of them spend almost all of their time on land, and all of them eat meat; they're carnivores.
Snakes like small crevices and holes in order to make nests and sleeping spaces, and it is actually quite common for snakes to take up residence in the abandoned dens, nests, and burrows of other animals. That's why it is important for you to seal up animal dens and burrows after the critters themselves have been safely and permanently evicted. Another reason: snakes regularly go back to the same nest sites, as do may other animals, to mate, birth, or to rear young.
Snakes eat insects, rats, mice, smaller mammals, frogs and toads, lizards, smaller snakes, and plenty of other animals. The larger the species, the larger the prey/food item; a snake will not usually attempt to eat something bigger than it can manage, nor will it attempt to kill or subdue an animal bigger than it can manage.
If you have a regular problem with snakes on your property, on even a one-off, it could be a sign that you have a rodent infestation. Snakes and other nuisance wildlife are almost always drawn to a property because of the plentiful sources of food it has to offer, so regular snakes would mean regular prey for them, and that's likely to be rats or mice.
Snakes aren't generally known to cause many problem, although it's never pleasant to come up against one in your home or on your property. For the most part, phobias are the biggest concern, with more than twenty percent of all US adults admitting to having a slight or great fear of snakes.
Although it is rare for humans to come face-to-face with a venomous snake, and even rarer for the snake to bite if it is left alone, there is always a threat of being bitten and injected with venom. In some cases, this can be fatal. Thankfully, with many snake species, anti-venom is available — but only when swift medical attention is sought out.
Snakes can cause huge problems with household pets, including rabbits and guinea pigs in cages. Dogs are frequently bitten by snakes when they come across them in the wild and sniff a little too closely, and large snakes can easily make prey of small pets.
Snake prevention is best achieved with property modification — and it often takes the smallest tweaks to make the biggest difference.
The first thing we recommend you do is to have a good tidy up of your property. The more ground coverage, shrubbery, and plant life there is around, the more cover snakes and other nuisance wildlife has to allow it to move around safely. Clean, tidy, and open spaces are more dangerous, especially for snakes; they have sky-borne predators to worry about, such as eagles, hawks, and owls.
Sealing all gaps, holes, crevices, cracks, and areas of damage is a smart idea, too. Snakes will often slither into small cracks, and if they can get right inside your property, they will. They don't always go inside to create a nest or to live permanently, but instead are drawn to the safe and warm spaces.
A fence can also work in back and front gardens, or even around larger properties. You do need to make sure that the fence is completely flush with the ground below to stop underneath slithering. Even better than that: extend the fence to beneath the ground, with an additional panel to keep underground slitherers and crawlers at bay.
Professionals will remove snakes in a number of ways, and they often have a wide array of tools and items that can help them to do the job safely. We have traps that we can use to safely and humanely capture slithering reptiles that have been spotted and then lost, and we can physically remove snakes with gloved, protected hands and/or long-length snares, to release them back into the wild in a location that best suits them.
1 - Snakes do sleep, but they don't have eyelids.
2 - Snakes can eat prey items that are much larger in size than they are, because they have jaws that come unhinged, top from bottom, to allow for larger items to pass through.
3 - Many snakes shed their skins very regularly, once every 4 to 6 weeks, to allow for growth. During this time, the snake will become grumpy, agitated, and will refuse to feed. They may even look glassy or milky-eyed and rather unwell, dull in color. They are more likely to be aggressive during this time.
To learn more about snakes, see: