by Meaghan English, TrueSouth Properties Wildlife Specialist
Wildlife Damage Control is not only limited to rodents and pesky mammals; it can also be extended to snakes and amphibians. Damage management methods can also be practiced to keep snakes and toads away from houses, places of recreation, and other common places that attract snakes and other reptiles, but due to mixed emotions stemming from social media and cultural beliefs, some people hesitate to come into close contact with snakes and other reptiles or amphibians.
The first damage management method is habitat alteration. This method is sometimes frowned upon because it an “ecological disturbance” but it is the cheapest method. According to many experts, removing over grown vegetation and filling in rodent burrows is one step to deterring unwanted reptiles or amphibians. Also keeping stray pieces of wood and tin elevated off the ground removes hiding places for large rattlesnakes and Copperheads. Remember to keep leftover corn and other grains in sealed containers or you will attract rodents and snakes. Removing these habitats will force the snakes and other inhabitants to relocate and abandon the area. Placing hardware cloth around openings in crawl spaces and other small areas will also keep snakes out of unwanted areas. Although this method, along with fencing, is more costly, it is very beneficial.
Most chemical repellents have been taken off the market due to social uncertainty and concern about the number of snakes that were dying from the repellents, but some chemicals can be mixed and used. Poisoned water can be successful if there is a limited amount of available drinking water (many combinations can be found in scientific papers). Another option is to pour chemicals down burrows made by rodents, but are usually inhabited by snakes. This will either poison the snake or force them to move out of the area.
A more socially accepted control method is that of human odor, but usually snakes only react to that odor if they come into direct contact with it. An example of this would be placing human hair around the perimeter of your house or barn. Other odors, such as predator odors (Minks and Skunks) made venomous snakes more aggressive and more ready to strike, according to one expert. At one time, a pest control operator found that gasoline forced snakes out of the area, however this method is only acceptable when gas is NOT $4 a gallon.
The listed methods are just a few, simple control practices that can significantly reduce the snake population in a certain area. Most methods are quick and cost efficient and allow people to control from a distance! Yesterday I encountered a very large rattlesnake that was too close to comfort…I will now be resorting to chemicals to displace any relatives that may still be lingering!!
Brock, Elbert M. and Howard, Walter E., “CONTROL METHODS FOR SNAKES ” (1962).Proceedings of the 1st Vertebrate Pest Conference (1962).Paper 4. http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/vpcone/4
Fitzwater, William D. “Reptiles and Amphibians-A Management Dilemma” (1974).Proceddings of the 6th Vertebrate Pest Conference (1974). http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1011&context=vpc6
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