Spring has arrived, temperatures are rising, and the snake population is ready to wake from their long winter’s nap. That means it’s time to think about ways to protect your dog (and you) from snakes. Read on for tips to keep unwanted slithering visitors out of your yard and away from Fido.
1. Keep Grass Short
Snakes, in general, favor tall grass because it offers them a nice place to get cozy and hide from predators. So, keeping your grass short will help to deter snakes from hanging out in your yard. In case one does decide to slither through, though, the short grass will also help make it easier for you to spot the unwanted visitor.
2. Patch Holes In Your Grass
If you see any holes in your yard that were made by little critters, make sure to fill them in with either soil or sod. You’ll want the area thoroughly compacted to discourage snakes from calling it home.
3. Keep Trees And Shrubs Pruned
Keep your trees pruned so the branches don’t blanket the ground. Why? To eliminate any hiding spots! When you look around your yard, you want to be able to see under every bush and shrub. So keep everything pruned and avoid thick foliage. Also, be careful when inspecting tree limbs and branches before you reach your arm in to do any trimming. Snakes like to hide in trees!
4. Avoid Leaf Piles, Mulch, Brush, And Pine Straw
All of these provide snakes with a place to nest, hide, and hunt. So, clear any unnecessary piles of debris from your outdoor areas!
5. Keep Your Dog On A Leash
If you happen to notice a snake slithering through your yard, you’ll know to stay away. But, seeing a snake wiggle across the ground is usually enough to peek Fido’s curiosity … which can get him into trouble. Snake bites happen quickly when a snake feels threatened or startled. So, if you suspect there are snakes in your yard then keep your dog on a leash. Don’t let him explore, go under trees, play in piles of mulch, brush, pine needles, ground cover, or any other place he is likely to encounter a snake.
Snakes are especially aggressive during mating season, and if you see baby snakes then keep Fido away. While many assume baby snakes are safer since they’re smaller – think again. The bite from a venomous baby snake can be even more deadly than a larger snake in some instances because a baby snake does not yet know how to control the release of his venom and may release his whole supply in one bite.
6. Watch Out For Woodpiles
Snakes commonly make woodpiles their home. They offer numerous hiding places to stay cool, dry, and out-of-sight. Plus, you can compare large wood piles to outdoor eateries for snakes since little critters like mice, rats, and squirrels like to hang out there as well. If you must have a woodpile, keep it away from your house and stack it at least a foot off the ground.
7. Lookout For Rock Piles
Snakes love rock piles. They too offer unlimited hiding spots, temperature regulation, and a mini menu of food options (AKA small critters and bugs).
8. Inspect All Outside Vents, Exhausts, Or HVAC Units
Be sure to protect any openings that lead into your home through the outside walls or roof, such as outdoor fireplace or dryer vents, exhausts systems, or heat/air conditioner units. These are common ports of entry for snakes and other critters.
It happens all the time. In fact, just a few weeks ago, a neighbor of mine came face-to-face with a copperhead that was staring at her from behind the glass window in her gas fireplace. Needless to say, a whole lot of craziness was going on in that house. It turned out, the snake had made his way in through the fireplace vent on the outside wall of her home. Be sure to seal off any openings with 1/4″ metal mesh to keep unwanted snakes and critters out!
9. Check, Inspect, & Repair Any Cracks Around House Or Foundation
Walk around your house and thoroughly inspect the foundation. Make sure there are no cracks, crevices, or openings. Snakes will take advantage of any opportunity. If you find any vulnerable areas, repair them ASAP.
10. Be Mindful In Garages And Sheds
Keep your garage door closed. Snakes love to set-up home in a garage or outdoor shed where the food supply from critters and insects are often plentiful. There’s nothing worse than you or your pooch walking into the garage and accidentally stepping on a snake. Remember: Most snake bites occur when a snake is startled.
11. Install A Fence
You may want to install snake fencing. Watch This must-see short video to learn the correct mesh material you can use to keep snakes out:
Video By: Rattlesnake Solutions, LLC
12. Rattlesnake Vaccination
Okay … so I’m not someone who likes to promote unnecessary vaccines. I believe in keeping things as natural as possible. However, I think it’s important to mention that a rattlesnake vaccine does exist. Depending on what part of the country you live in (if you live in a high-risk area), you may want to talk to your vet about the rattlesnake vaccination. It can decrease the effects of rattlesnake and copperhead bites. But, if your dog is bitten he will still need treatment.
If you follow the tips above, you’ll be well on your way to snake-proofing your yard and home. Of course, this won’t guarantee that you’ll never see a snake or one won’t find somewhere on your property to nest. But, you’ll be making it much more challenging for a snake to make your home his home too.