How to Avoid Snakes in Your Yard and Garden

By: Julie Day

Black snake on ground

Black snakes are nonpoisonous and often found in yards and gardens.

During spring and fall, temperatures are perfect for snakes to be out and about during the day. Not too cold, not too hot, just right for startling unsuspecting gardeners who are also outside taking advantage of the pleasant weather. During the summer, you need to watch out for snakes more in the early morning and at night, but they’re likely to be hidden away someplace dark and cool during the heat of the day.

While most snakes are nonpoisonous and tend to avoid contact with people when given the chance, they can still give quite a scare. The best way to avoid trouble with snakes is to understand their habits and how to avoid close contact with them. Follow these tips:

    Rattlesnake ready to strike

    Rattlesnake ready to strike!

  • Avoid Snake Habitat: In general, snakes hang out in damp, cool, protected areas. Watch out for them around rocky streams, wooded areas, retaining walls, garages, or anyplace around your house where there might be cave like conditions. Keep debris and wood piles far away from your house, and screen off underneath porches and crawl spaces to keep snakes out.
  • Watering Attracts Snakes: If you keep your lawn and garden well irrigated, you’re more likely to attract frogs, lizards, birds, and rodents which attract snakes. Well-watered, mulched areas (such as shrub beds and vegetable gardens) also offer cool shelter for snakes in summer, so be careful when walking or working in these areas.
  • Garter snake on ground

    Harmless garter snake.

  • Control Rodents: Snakes eat rodents, small reptiles, and birds. To minimize snakes around your house, keep bird feeders and nesting boxes away from the house, and work to reduce the rodent population.
  • Know Where to Find Snakes: On hot days especially, watch out for snakes in shady, cool areas – such as under your car or beneath piles of wood or debris. On cold days, expect to find snakes warming themselves in the sun, on a warm rock, or even a driveway or car engine. On perfect spring and fall days, keep an eye out most anywhere!
  • Copperhead snake

    Poisonous copperhead snake.

  • Understand Snake Temperament: Snakes are rather sluggish in early spring when they first come out of hibernation, and in late fall when they’re getting ready to sleep again. During these times, they may be too inactive to move out of the way or warn you before striking. During warmer months snakes are more active and fast-moving, so you may get more warning before they strike, but they can also be more energetic and aggressive.
  • Lift Carefully: When lifting something off the ground that could have a snake underneath, use a pole, and lift it toward you, so that the object will be between you and the snake. If you lift it away from you, the snake – if there is one – is more likely to run over your foot!
  • King snake

    Nonvenomous king snake.

  • Don’t Tiptoe: Snakes don’t hear very well, but they’re great at picking up vibrations. Make plenty of noise when hiking or working outdoors, so that neither of you is startled.
  • Stay Vigilant: Watch where you walk and reach, especially in areas with rocks or crevices.
  • Remain on the Beaten Path: When walking outdoors, stick to open paths and steer clear of overgrown areas or fallen logs.
  • Respect Snakes Space: If you see a snake, don’t panic; just slowly move away. Don’t try to make the snake move; if it’s in your way, simply wait for the snake to leave. Snakes will move on once they’ve exhausted the food source, so unless you have a never-ending rodent population, they’re likely not to hang around your yard forever.

Further Information



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13 Comments on “How to Avoid Snakes in Your Yard and Garden”

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  • David Njovu Says:
    July 24th, 2017 at 12:27 am

    I have very serious phobia of snakes. I bought a piece of land on a hill near Kafue River in Zambia. The hill has a lot of rocks which we have started to remove but the challenge is where to throw the rocks. Our damping sites don’t allow rubbles. If I have to heap them I will be creating another haven for the snakes. What can I do?

  • Sandra Says:
    July 11th, 2017 at 12:59 pm

    Yesterday and took a break from what I was doing and went outside to empty some bags of mulch and bark that I needed to spread. As I emptied a bag of bark by shaking it, a snake fell out. If I had something other than bark in my hand, I would have killed it. I don’t care how helpful the snake is. If I have a heart attack from the sudden appearance of a snake in my house, it wouldn’t be helpful to me. I can keep my rodents down with a good exterminator, which I already do. I also found the skin of a brown snake about a month ago, which I hope has moved on because of lack of food. I hope the snake yesterday moves on too.

  • Nkulie Kuse Says:
    July 11th, 2017 at 7:45 am

    Hi this year April 2017, my maid saw a medium sized black snake entering my garage while I was inside the house. unfortunately we looked for it but it was nowhere to be found. we slept without knowing whether it went out or not till today but I managed to buy poisoning tablets to use for weeks in the garage which has many things inside. up to this far we don’t know whether its gone or dead inside.

  • Beverly Murray Says:
    May 21st, 2017 at 12:43 pm

    I had a snake stuck in some knitting once. I just watched him and he finally wiggled his way out. I wasn’t touching Him!

  • Anthea Conlon Says:
    April 27th, 2017 at 3:02 pm

    OMG, I really hate snakes! I am always on the look out no matter where I am, a habit of having grown up camping and rock hunting from Canada to Florida. I was bitten by a 6 foot rat snake in Florida and became very ill, they say from the bacteria in the snakes mouth. So I am more nervous about snakes than I ever was! Recently we bought a newly renovated home in a wooded park land area of Maryland. Two snakes have shown up on my deck railing and I am afraid that they nested underneath. I should have known they would find me…lol…actually I may have to stop feeding the birds and clean up more of the leaves and wood piles from fallen trees near the house.

  • G Says:
    March 13th, 2016 at 3:58 pm

    Came home from grocery shopping, my son said mum why is there a snake on the stove? Used tongs to grab it by the head took it outside and dispatched it. No idea how it got in

  • chaya Says:
    January 20th, 2016 at 4:19 am

    why would a snake visit my house of all houses? How can we know whether its left any more snakes or eggs around our garden?

  • Millie Says:
    November 20th, 2015 at 9:29 am

    I was mowing & clearing some brush quite a ways away from the house on my property. It was sort of a wooded area. Well, I had to go to the bathroom so I squatted down in a clearing with my backside against the brush area. When I stood up and pulled my pants together, guess what? just a few inches away was a pretty good size snake with a great big lump in him. and he was in no hurry to go anywhere. This was in September. I guess he was digesting some prey so you can imagine my surprise. I keep my eyes open now, and I’m thankful I didn’t get bit in the butt!

  • willene brown Says:
    September 27th, 2015 at 6:48 am

    Great information.

  • samantha Says:
    July 14th, 2015 at 10:12 am

    We have had a snake to get into our bathroom in 1 home and the livingroom in another home. We finally bought a home a home, and there we killed 1 chicken snake and 2 cooperheads and seen water moccasin in our pond.

  • BEEBEE Says:
    June 25th, 2015 at 3:00 am

    My brother killed a brown and black colured snake near a sofa in our living room early this morning. Wonder how it ever got there?

  • Faeda Says:
    June 23rd, 2015 at 4:41 am

    I found a snake of about 12 inch inside my living room. We are 5 adult & 3 kids, and we all scared and become so depressed. From our home we lived in almost save area in Glendale, AZ.

  • kim Says:
    April 28th, 2015 at 2:45 pm

    I have a black snake caught in some netting I use to put around my tomato plants to keep the birds from eating them. The netting is on the ground and the snake is stuck in it. what should I do?

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How to Avoid Snakes in Your Yard and Garden