Snake-proof fences must be constructed of 1/4-inch hardware cloth at least 36 inches wide. The lower six inches must be buried underground, and the fence should be slanted outward at a 30-degree angle. Supporting stakes need to be placed inside the fence. The fence can be made sturdier by attaching wires from the fence to the stakes. All gates must fit tightly; they should open to the inside because of the outward slope of the fence.

Be sure to keep grass and weeds around the fence mowed closely to the ground to prevent snakes from using them to crawl over the fence.


Controlling Snake Problems

No fumigants or poisons are registered for snake control. Various home remedies, including moth balls, sulfur, lime, cayenne pepper, sticky bird repellent, coal tar and creosote, gourd vines, or musk from king snakes, have not proven effective in deterring snakes. There is a snake repellent registered for rattlesnakes and checkered garter snakes. The active ingredients are naphthalene and sulfur. Three field studies have shown it has limited effectiveness for most species. The only efficient method of discouraging snakes is to modify the environment so they find it unattractive.

Habitat Modification

You can modify the environment by removing the snake's shelter (hiding places) and its food source (rodents).

Lawns and fields that are kept clean and closely mowed are less attractive to snakes than are areas of tall grass, weeds, brush, and junk. Remove other hiding places such as old boards lying on the ground, rock and junk piles, and trash piles. Trim shrubs and bushes so limbs hang no lower than 12 inches from the ground.

Stack wood for your fireplace or stove away from your home on a rack (not on the ground) that sits at least 12 inches from the ground.

Cleaning around the yard also removes rodent (favorite snake food) habitat. Other suggestions for reducing a snake's food source include placing garbage in sealed trash cans (not bags) away from the house. If you feed pets outside, keep all dog and cat food cleaned up after each feeding and store feed so it is unavailable to rodents (steel trash   


To summarize, remove rodents, rodent food and shelter, and all objects that create a damp, cool, dark environment preferred by snakes. Exclusion Snakes enter buildings in search of cool, damp, dark areas or places where rodents and insects abound. To prevent these unwanted guests from entering your home, check the foundation for cracks and openings 1/4 inch or larger. Use mortar for poured concrete, concrete block, or brick foundations. Use 1/8-inch hardware cloth or sheet metal to seal holes and cracks in wooden buildings. Seal cracks and openings around windows, doors, electrical pipes, and wiring with caulk. If you have an open septic or sump pump drain outside, cover the opening with 1/4-inch hardware cloth. Be sure to check it periodically to ensure that the wire does not interfere with drainage.

If you have young children and live in an area where poisonous snakes are common, you may want to invest in a snake-proof fence (Figure 3). Snake-proof fences are expensive to construct, so fencing an entire yard is not practical. However, you can enclose a small area where young children play.