Snakes can become pests if they make themselves at home in your house or garden, but they may not do any actual harm. Some snakes, however, are poisonous and can pose a threat to both pets and people if they are not controlled. There are many chemical and physical ways of eliminating and repelling snakes, but sometimes all it takes to keep snakes away is the introduction of the right predator. By introducing natural predators into your yard or the property around your house you can keep snakes away.
The Dangers of Snakes
Snakes come in all shapes and sizes and only a few of the snakes that you are likely to encounter near your home are in any way dangerous. Common garter snakes, king snakes, and bull snakes can grow to be several feet long but they are relatively harmless. Only four types of venomous snakes are found in North America: rattlesnakes, water moccasins, copperheads and coral snakes. There are natural ways to discourage these snakes from entering your property but if you happen to come across one yourself, do not attempt to catch it or chase it away. Contact a professional from your local animal control service to remove any venomous snake from your property.
Felines, including domestic house cats, can be very effective in keeping snakes away. Outdoor cats, even house cats that are allowed outside for several hours a day, will prowl around your property in search of prey of any kind. Cats will not fail to prey on even large snakes but use caution if you have spotted venomous snakes near your property. Though your cat may attempt to attack a venomous snake and may, in fact, be able to defend itself, a venomous snake could claim your cat's life if you are not careful.
Pigs are one of the most effective animal snake deterrents. If a snake has the misfortune to enter a pig pen, the pigs will most likely go into a frenzy and kill the snake as soon as possible. To utilize pigs as a natural snake deterrent, build a pig pen near the area where you have seen snakes most frequently. If you have a raised deck, consider converting the under-deck area into a pig pen. Snakes will naturally be drawn to the dark, cool space under the deck, so placing a pig pen in this location will be an effective way to deter snakes.
Introducing a few large bull snakes onto your property can be a very effective way of repelling venomous species like rattlesnakes and decreasing the population of small snakes. Bull snakes move the tips of their tails very quickly in a way that imitates the sound of a rattlesnake's rattle. This mechanism alone may be enough to ward off other snakes, but bull snakes also prey on smaller snakes and have been known to kill rattlesnakes. King snakes, which can grow up to 70 inches in length, frequently prey on snakes and may be used to control the population of smaller snakes on your property.
Other Natural Predators
Several other creatures act as natural predators to snakes, but it may not be practical or possible to house them on your property. Skunks, weasels, hawks and owls are all natural predators of snakes but they cannot be confined to your property lines. You may be able to create an environment attractive to these animals by sprinkling food for them around your property and by building nesting sites, but you cannot guarantee that any of these creatures you succeed in drawing into the area will stay. If, however, you are able to cultivate a population of these animals near your home, they will help to control the snake population.