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Question and Answer ArticleEliminating Snake Problems

By Jennifer T. Derrick
Published: August 31, 2011
gartersnake
Photo by dreamstime.com
Q: We love your magazine and own a cabin in the Thousand Islands region of the St. Lawrence Seaway. Perhaps other readers can help with this problem. My wife is deathly afraid of snakes – even the little garter snakes around the house. We have tried Snake-A-Way without much luck; they seem to just come back in a different area. And she really wants them gone. Any suggestions for keeping them from returning? Our neighbors have dogs, so we don’t want to try poisons. Any other suggestions? Thanks so much. – Tom & Pam, via e-mail

A
: The best thing you can do is eliminate snake habitat. But first, you asked about other products you can try. There are a few other devices out there on the market. The question is, do they work? Reports on the effectiveness of the following products are mixed:
    The Sentinel Electronic Repeller is designed to repel all types of snakes by giving off vibrations that are supposed to chase snakes away.
    The Snake Guard is a trap that can be used inside or outside along vertical surfaces that snakes are likely to be around. Think house/basement walls, garage walls, tiered garden areas and the like. The traps are humane, allowing for re-release.
    Before you buy any new snake traps or repellents, you may want to take a look at your cabin and the surrounding environment. Snakes will naturally be more attracted to a habitat that has rock gardens, weedy spots, leaf and brush piles, deteriorating structures and woodpiles because snakes are looking for food (rodents and such) and places to hide and rest. If your property has these things, you may have more snakes.
    By clearing out potential snake habitat areas, you might minimize the snake problem enough to give yourselves peace of mind. Just think like a snake: Any place that provides cover is a good place – rock gardens, ground hugging shrubs or plants, long grass, etc.
    While you’re at it, remember to clear out areas beneath and around your cabin or other outbuildings. And if you have stacks of wood or other items, you may want to keep them at least a foot off the ground and away from walls, giving snakes fewer places to retreat and hide.
    If you try these measures and still have a lot of snakes around, it may be worth trying out the electronic repelling devices or snake traps.
    Better yet, see if you can find a herpetologist in your area. He/she might come to your place and do some free snake removal for you and/or give you additional tips.
    Be aware, though, that if you are successful in eliminating your snake problem, your next problem might be the snake’s four-legged prey: mice.
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