Renovating an outbuilding or shed into a home office may seem like the answer to your dreams, until you discover a den of snakes have taken up residence under the building. Before you can call the contractor and get to work on creating that private office, you will need to get rid of the snakes. You could call an exterminator, but if you'd rather take things into your own hands, try these techniques for getting rid of snakes under a building.
Expose the Den to Sunlight
Snakes prefer cool, dark places to create their dens and often crawl under buildings to hibernate. If snakes have found access and set up camp under the floors (or in the foundation) of your soon-to-be office, exposing the area to sunlight may be enough to encourage them to vacate the premises. Remove floorboards, open crawl spaces and remove flashing or banking around the foundation to expose the area to light and ventilation. Cut back brush and weeds around the building and get rid of woodpiles or other debris to make the area uninviting to snakes.
Get Rid of Prey
Snakes are attracted to small rodents, like rats and mice, and will happily set up camp where the food supply is bountiful. Eliminating their food source is often an effective way to get rid of unwanted snakes under buildings. You'll be killing two birds with one stone with this one, as you will eliminate rodents from your new office space and get rid of the snakes, too. Use traps or bait to get rid of rats and mice.
Physical removal of snakes is an effective means to vacate the den, but it does require getting up close and personal. You can buy snake traps at the hardware store, but making your own snake traps is quick and easy.
- Wet several old burlap sacks.
- Place the sacks around the building.
- Check the sacks daily for snakes. Because they like to hide in cool, damp places, the snakes will crawl under (or in) the sacks to hide when they come out to hunt in the heat of the day.
- Deposit the snakes in an old bucket or tie them in the sack and release them at least two miles from your new office space. Be kind. Choose an area away from homes and buildings when releasing the snakes.
This method may take a while to complete. If you are in a hurry to get the snakes out so you can start construction on your new office, try these home remedies for a quicker solution or call a pest control professional.
Several home remedies are reported to be effective in getting rid of snakes.
- Mothballs or Moth Crystals: The scent of mothballs or crystals is thought to repel snakes by confusing their sense of smell. The odor may also mask the scent of prey, sending snakes away to find a better hunting ground. Use mothballs or moth crystal in the den to force snakes to move on.
- Sulfur: Mix equal parts powdered sulfur with moth crystals to make snake repellent, but beware! The odor of sulfur and mothballs may repel snakes, but it will wreak havoc with your nose too. You can use this mixture in the den to evict snakes, but the odor may linger long after the snakes are gone.
- Kitty Litter: Mix equal parts cat litter and mothball flakes in a container. Spread the mixture around the perimeter to keep snakes way once you have driven them out of their den. The scent of mothballs works to deter the snakes, while the cat litter sticks to his skin should he venture closer.
- Lime: Many people use ordinary garden lime to create a barrier to keep snakes out. You can use lime to prevent snakes from returning to the den. Snakes reportedly will not cross the lime as it burns their belly when they try to slither over it.
Note: Lime, mothballs or moth crystals, and sulfur all pose a risk to the health and safety of young children and pets. Use them in areas where pets and children cannot reach them and store the products out of their reach. Placing mothballs in a mesh bag keeps them away from pets, while letting their scent work its magic.
Talk to your contractor about sealing all access holes when he renovates the building to help keep snakes from returning to their old den.