Keeping Snakes Away This Summer

Many of Michigan’s 18 snake species–including our only venomous species, the Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake–begin reproducing in late spring. By summer time, they give birth and their young begin to grow and hunt. Both young snakes and adults become more active during summer time, which means they may become more active near you.

Chances are you don’t want that, to say the least. Luckily, you don’t have to let sneaky summer snakes slither their way around your property unimpeded. Just like every other kind of pest, your least favorite reptiles come to your home looking for specific things. Taking those things away will drive them out and keep them from coming back. Here are the three best ways to keep snakes from troubling you this summer.   

Cover Control

keep snakes from accessing cover to keep them away from your homeSnakes are cold-blooded, which means they can’t regulate their own body temperatures the way mammals can. During summer, they have to stay in cool places or they’ll overheat and die. Snakes survive the hottest times of day by taking cover in underbrush and other forms of shade and shelter. Some even burrow under topsoil or dig makeshift hollows beneath rocks, wood piles, porches, or decks. Snakes remain stationary for most of the day, emerging to hunt only when temperatures fall around dusk.

Snakes need cover to survive, so naturally they tend to stay around areas where they can access it easily. Depriving the reptiles of opportunities to stay out of the sun will make your home inhospitable and unattractive to them. Try to clear clutter around your property as much as possible, especially near your home itself. Fence off outdoor gardens, especially if you use mulch or loose, thin topsoil. Check for areas around your deck or porch where snakes could access shade and block them off.

Lawn Maintenance

Keep your lawn well-maintained to keep snakes away from your homeSnakes rarely move around in broad daylight without cover. Not only would this tire them out and heat them up, it would also make them vulnerable. They need to move from place-to-place without exposing themselves to heat or predators. They accomplish this by slithering under tall grasses, brush, plant life, fallen foliage, and other natural cover. The easier it is to move around your yard in cover, the more comfortable the pests feel approaching your home.

The harder you can make it for snakes to sneak and slither their way around your property, the better. First, mow your lawn regularly. The longer your grass, the more cover it provides. Some of Michigan’s snakes get surprisingly small, so even slightly overgrown grass may suit them just fine. Make sure you also trim your bushes, ornamental shrubs, and other greenery. Try to reduce the number of “avenues” they can use to move through your yard as much as possible.

Rodent Removal

Remove snakes from your home to drive snakes away Yes, unfortunately rats and mice won’t leave you alone just because it’s summer time. Rodents will try to infiltrate homes to access food, shelter, and nesting material pretty much all year. Rats find their way into homes using their highly-developed senses. These senses lead them straight to tiny openings they can use to squeeze their way into your home. Some rats even carve their own paths indoors by damaging weatherstripping or chewing through worn caulk or insulation.

Unpleasant as this all sounds, you’re probably wondering what it has to do with snakes. As rodents hunt for ways into your home, snakes hunt them. Sometimes, they’ll even follow rats into your home while hunting them. Then not only do you have a rodent infestation, you have snakes in your home too! Try to find places where rats and mice could get into your home and seal them off. Pay particular attention to door and window frames and openings around utility lines. Preventing rodents from getting into your home well also deter snakes. If you need help getting the rodents out of your home once and for all, give Griffin a call anytime! 


Most of Michigan’s snakes may not be dangerous, but they’re certainly unpleasant. To avoid dealing with any slithering reptiles this summer, keep up with the simple maintenance projects outlined in all three tips.

It’s harder to get snakes out than it is to keep them from getting in, so stay proactive to have a snake-free summer!

How Does Wildlife Survive the Winter?

How Does Wildlife Survive Winter?

If you think preparing for winter is a big hassle for you, imagine how it is for animals. They don’t exactly have the resources you do. Like a home. Or clothes. So how could they possibly get through a winter without freezing to death? How do they make sure their babies get through winter?

The answers are more varied, creative, and effective than you’d think. Life finds a way, after all. Here’s how four of Michigan’s most common wildlife species hustle their way through the coldest months of the year. After reading what these poor animals go through, you’ll never think about your home the same way again!


squirrels fatten up and stash food to survive winterAs soon as temperatures drop, squirrels scramble to collect as many nuts, berries, and seeds as they can get their paws on. You’ve probably seen the common eastern grey squirrel race around stashing every crumb of food that isn’t nailed down countless times. They stash their foraged horde in several hidden caches for when they need it. They’ll return to the stashes (well, the ones they actually remember) to snack all winter.

At least, they’ll go back if if they don’t gobble up the food they find before they get a chance to stash it. Squirrels are known to eat their entire body weight in a week or less in fall! By winter, most squirrels fatten up so much it’s a wonder they can move at all! Squirrels need that fat to keep them warm. Although they sleep a lot to conserve energy, very few squirrel species hibernate in winter. Even the fattest squirrel needs to wake up and munch a midwinter snacks to stay warm and healthy.


skunks burrow under structures in groups in order to survive winterSkunks don’t horde like squirrels do, but boy do they eat. Skunks spend fall hunting and eating insects, worms, lizards, snakes, mammals smaller than them, and more. All this eating builds thick layers of fat to insulate the skunk from the cold. When winter begins, skunks usually find burrows by digging under natural or manmade cover. Many skunk species create large, multifamily burrows and keep each other warm via proximity.

Contrary to popular belief, skunks don’t hibernate in winter. During the coldest times of the year, they enter a state of reduced activity called torpor. Torpor functions similarly to hibernation. The skunk enters a deep sleep, during which its metabolism drastically slows down. The big difference is, torpor doesn’t last. Like squirrels, skunks have to wake up and eat multiple times during winter to survive. When skunks wake up, they’ll take whatever food they can get. Skunks might react defensively if encountered after waking up. If you think you have a skunk spending winter under your porch, be careful!


moles dig deep underground to survive winterOk, we know we said these animals solve their winter problems creatively. But, look, creativity isn’t really what moles are all about. These mammals do one thing, and they do it very well: they dig. Moles don’t stop digging, even after the ground freezes in winter. Instead, they just dig deeper. Some mole species may dig as deep as 30 inches into the earth. They can also dig complex burrows deep underground to hunt and trap their food. Like squirrels, they may even store food in these burrows for when they need it in winter.

Most mole species seldom return to the surface during winter. They may not even be able to burrow through the hard ground. Instead, they remain in their burrows all season, relying mainly on earthworms, grubs, and subterranean insects for food. Moles rise back up through the ground as temperatures rise and the surrounding earth softens again. Sometimes, they may even return to the surface before snow melts completely.


snakes congregate together in shelters called hibernaculums to survive winterAs if winter wasn’t bad enough, snakes have to contend with an extra challenge: their cold blood. As reptiles, snakes rely entirely on their surroundings to regulate their body temperatures. And they don’t even hibernate! How could something like that possibly survive winter? Instead of hibernating, snakes enter a torpor-like state of reduced activity called “brumation”. Brumation is an extreme slowing of a snake’s metabolism. During brumation, snakes can survive without eating or drinking for long periods of time. They still can’t survive freezing temperatures, however.

Before they enter brumation, snakes have to find or make an overwintering site called a “hibernaculum”. Brumating snakes are completely vulnerable while they sleep, so the hibernaculum has to be hidden. It can’t be out in the open, either, or the snakes would freeze. Usually, snakes burrow under existing cover like hollowed-out logs, porches, or rocks. Snakes often make hibernaculum nests in large groups, to keep one another warm. Like skunks, brumating snakes wake up periodically to seek food on warm days.


As tempting as sleeping the winter away sounds, we’re guessing you’re pretty grateful you’re not wildlife right about now. Considering how much work winter survival is, it’s hard to begrudge the pests sneaking into your home this season. Just because you understand it doesn’t mean you have to tolerate it, however.

If you have pest problems anytime this winter, give Griffin Pest Control a call right away. We’ll make sure to take care of the problem, so you can get back to surviving the winter your way–in style.