A snake den on your property is a serious nuisance for most people. Though only about 10 percent of snakes in the United States are venomous, lore and popular opinion hold all snakes to be terrifying creatures. Many people would prefer to discourage snake habitation near their family and, if a snake has made its home near theirs, eradicate the den. There are numerous possibilities for discouraging den building and for removing a den after it has been established.
Discourage Den Building
Pre-emptively making your home and property an unwelcome place for snakes to live will allow you to avoid the problem of a snake den in the future. Snakes are ectothermic, meaning they use outside sources to regulate their body temperature. Snakes will often live underground, under porches or brush, in rock piles, or in nooks and holes around the house. To make your property unwelcoming to snakes, seal holes, remove rock piles and brush, and fill holes in the ground as you find them.
Break the Food Chain
Research the types of snakes in your area and what their predation habits are. Most snakes eat rodents, insects and birds. Controlling the population of food sources for snakes will encourage them to leave your property in search of more available food. Set up rodent traps and clean up outside messes that will attract insects.
Removing Snakes Humanely
There are easy options for humanely removing snakes from your house or property. If there are snakes in your basement or under your porch, place damp burlap sacks along the walls. Snakes will be attracted to the moist, dark space, and once inside they can be removed to an area far away from your house. If you are certain the snakes inhabiting your property are nonvenomous, they can be swept into a bucket and removed.
Because snakes rely heavily on their sense of smell to identify their surroundings, a perimeter of chemical scents around your house or property is a common method employed to keep snakes at bay. The smell of moth balls, sulfur and pepper spray are thought to be unattractive to snakes, signaling to them an unwelcome area to enter. The scent of animals that are predators of snakes, such as skunks or the king snake, will also warn the snake not to enter your property. These smells dissipate quickly, so applying the scent perimeter frequently is required.