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.
Snakes 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.
Snakes 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.
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!