Poisonous Or Not: Know Your Snakes

Whether you live in a snake-infested environment, or in a place where the only snakes you'll ever see are behind glass enclosures, it is useful to have a rudimentary knowledge of the poisonous snakes in your part of the country. That's unless you live in Ireland of course, which claims to be the only place in the world that doesn't have snakes. Whether or not that's true, knowing which snakes are typically found where you live can be useful, live-saving information. A quick internet search should tell you what to look for when you spot one. If you can at least dentify a coral snake, a cottonmouth, a copperhead and a rattlesnake by sight, you're a lot safer than the average american.

Snake Control: Don't Let Them In

The best precaution has always been prevention. Remember, snakes are very timid creatures and all they're looking for is a safe place to stay, feed, and probably reproduce. There are several places that they love to crawl (or creep) into for safety and comfort. By eliminating any possible safe havens that they may consider making their temporary or permanent home, you drastically reduce the risk of harbouring these potentially dangerous reptiles.

Snake Hideouts: Where To Look And What To Do

Snakes favour locations with restricted access, low light, a good amount of warmth (remember they are cold-blooded creatures that need to manually control their body temparatures), and possibly a nearby source of food. A private garden with either a shrub border or undergrowth is one of their favorite places - it allows them to camouflage themselves to an amazing degree when moving around. A simple preventive method is to make sure that any undergrowth is cut away regularly. If you haven't trimmed your bushes for a while be careful when doing this, as they may have already made a home there. The next location that makes an ideal residence for snakes is any kind of woodpile, compost heap, pile of raked leaves, etc. Make sure that these are always as far away from the house as possible. Where practical, always used enclosed storage facilities that are sealed when shut. The third danger zone is an overgrown lawn. For obvious reasons, this is a perfect hideout. The fourth cause of snake infestation is the presence of rodents or insects - the natural diet of legless reptiles. If there's any way to clear the area of potential food, then it goes a long way in preventing an undesirable situation.

How To Catch A Snake

So now you've done all your yardwork, stashed away your firewood in a snake-proof shack, paid the kid next door to mow your lawn, and hired professional exterminators to do away with anything that crawls on four or six legs (excluding pets of course). But the very next day you see a sleek, shiny form slithering past your screen door and you're thinking, wait a minute, I need to find that guy who wrote that article and give him a piece of my mind. Before you do that, understand that there's no fool-proof way to stop a slithering friend from paying you a visit. You need to go to Plan B - capturing a snake. The first thing you need to do is to not panic, and make sure that someone always has an eye on where it was last seen. If you're uncertain about whether the snake is venomous, be sure to immediately call animal control for expert help - they can usually send someone over in a jiffy in this type of situation. If you're sure it's non-poisonous and you feel you can handle it, one of the easiest ways is to lay a trash can on its side and gently sweep it in with a long-handled broom or something similar. If the snake is indoors and the trash can method won't work, you can take a shirt, a pillowcase and a container. gather up the sides of a pillow case (like how you would put on a sock) and place it on the floor. Then, throw the shirt over the head and upper body, which should make it coil up. Immediately place the pillowcase, inverted, over the snake along with the shirt, sliding the edges in a firm manner along the floor until you're sure it's inside. Place it quickly into the container and close it shut. Once you've done this, you can either call animal control or take it to a wooded area away from residential areas and release it there. Make sure you sterilize your hands as well as the shirt and pillowcase, as the snake may have been carrying harmful bacteria.

You can now pat yourself on the back for a job well done. You deserve it.