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Texas, Florida, and Arizona are among the hottest housing markets in the U.S. They’re also the states where you’ll find more snakes lurking in yards and homes. (Snakes, of course, live all across the U.S., though Alaska is blessedly snake-free.)
The point is when new construction moves in, reptile residents get forced out. But where do they go? In some cases, su casa es snake casa.
Once snakes start nesting near or in your home, removing them is difficult. The best strategy is to snake-proof your home and prevent the problem from occurring in the first place. Ahead, find five ways to get rid of snakes, according to real estate professionals.
Clean up your yard and outdoor areas.
Snakes love to hide in outdoor clutter. A pile of stones, thick bushes, wood, or discarded garden supplies are like snake condos: small dwellings suitable for slithery inhabitants.
“Keep your grass short,” says Karla Eisele, a realtor in suburban Atlanta. “You want to mow your lawn frequently because snakes are more likely to travel through tall grass.”
Eisele recommends walking around the perimeter of your home and cleaning up any leaves or accumulated debris. “Snakes won’t want to stay in your yard if there’s no good hiding places for them,” she says.
Hughes cautions that, “having survived another summer, [rattlesnakes] are moving towards a suitable home hideaway for the cooler months. These dens are, in wildlife conflict areas, often human structures. Garages, sheds, concrete slabs, patio grills, and many more are spots we are called to, even on the coldest days, to retrieve rattlesnakes.”
Snakes can slither through the tiniest openings. Shortly after purchasing a new home, one 42-year-old Colorado homebuyer found snakes living behind the drywall. Slithering inside walls, into garages, and in basements is not unheard of for snakes.
“To a rattlesnake, a garage is just an insulated cave with some golf bags and fishing gear,” Hughes says. “Typically, they are discovered in the early springtime once the snakes tend to move towards the front of the garage, and are found coiled in the corner near the door.”
Hughes says snakes can spend an entire winter in the garage without the homeowners knowing. To prevent this, he says to inspect the exterior of your house for gaps in doors, windows, and vents. Replace damaged weather stripping and screens windows and doors with tears. Then, use steel wool or caulking to fill any holes near pipes and wires that enter the house.
Snakes like to live near a food supply. Trash attracts rodents and bugs, both of which are food for snakes. So, secure all garbage in plastic bags that fit into a large bin with a tight lid. Be sure to clean outdoor grills and firepits used to cook food. Pan drippings and scraps of meats and vegetables attract rats and bugs.
Discard any exposed pet food, including bird seed. Snakes don’t eat bird seed, but rodents do — and snakes are less-than-humane rodent control.
Install snake-resistant fencing.
If snakes persist or you’ve encountered venomous snakes, the University of Florida extension school recommends installing snake-resistant fencing. The idea is to place the fencing along the edges of wooded areas or margins of lakes and wetlands. The fencing can be made of aluminum flashing, hardware cloth, or silt; install it buried 6 inches into the ground, and extend it 2 to 3 feet high.
Whether you’re buying or selling a home, consider hiring a professional pest inspector as part of the home inspection process. A pest inspector can save you from a nightmare homebuying experience like the one suffered by two Annapolis, Maryland, homebuyers who discovered a snake infestation after closing on a $410,000 home. The couple spent $50,000 trying to get all the snakes removed before deciding to sue their real estate agent for $2 million.
If you live in an area with a high snake population, ask your home inspector if pest inspection includes checking for snakes and rodents. If pest inspection is not included, your home inspector could miss a major problem.