signs of snake(s) in house

janMDSeptember 30, 2004

Yesterday we discovered four (4!!) shed snake skins in our basement above the insulation near the ceiling. I put in a call to an exterminator, but they haven't returned my call. Anybody out there real knowledgeable about snakes? We have no idea how the snake(s) got in. Our house is 10 yrs old and pretty well sealed.

How do we know if they've left?

Is it likely there was more than one, or could one have left multiple skins? Guess that would mean he took up residence for awhile, right?

Our neighbors cleared out the woods behind their house recently with a bobcat. Our guess is that disturbed home for some of God's creatures. We do have copperheads in our area. That's what has me the most concerned.

If I get a professional to help us out, what will they do?

Any advice would be helpful.

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Last fall I worked at a house for two weeks. I saw over twenty snakes during that period. The contractors, when removing the soffit/eaves around the house removed snake skins. The entire house was encircled with snake skins! My low estimate is that there were at least 300 snake skins littered around the house. In my opinion they had a serious infestation. The electrician walked off the job, since he had to deal with snakes every time he went into their basement!
If you can, you may want to take a pic of the snake skin and send it to the maryland cooperative extension service provided by the U. of MD for identification. My guess is that you have racers. Non poisonous but aggressive about their territory. If you have 4 skins, in my opinion, you have a nest. An exterminator can remove the snakes but you'll have to find out where they are getting in and seal it up. I saw some workers remove snakes and take them over 700 yards away form the house. The snake was back in 20 minutes.
On the up side, you can be assured you don't have mice!
Good luck.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2004 at 5:58AM
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When we tore down the old house that was on our lot, they tore tar paper off of the walls. The walls were packed with snakes like sardines. I still shudder when I think about it. We dropped the walls into the basement and burnt the whole mess. An old lady lived in the house and just put up with them...just a little trivia..doesn't answer your question.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2004 at 7:05PM
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I am so creeped out by these stories! yikes!

I would definitely call in a professional. A friend of mine once woke up with a huge blacksnake in her bed. She STILL sleeps with the lights on, and this was almost 20 years ago.


    Bookmark   October 14, 2004 at 11:18PM
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eeeks. Now I'm sitting in my chair, with my feet up. We find skins in our concrete/stucco wall outside. You bet I will be a zillion miles away when we take THAT down for remodeling!

    Bookmark   October 25, 2004 at 11:51PM
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I once stayed at a very exclusive waterfront resort at their most expensive cabin on the water. My husband and I were walking back to the cabin and just as we reached it we saw a big snake disappearing into a hole on the side of the cabin. He ended up right inside the cabin!

    Bookmark   January 20, 2006 at 10:04PM
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Back in the 1960's, my friend "Levi" in Florida deliberately put a black snake in his house. His reasoning was that this snake would keep all other snakes out, especially poisonous ones. In addition, he would have no rats or mice. The snake would not try to eat his food supply nor leave droppings in his pantry. And black snakes will maintain a distance from humans. I just leave them alone around my outbuildings.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2006 at 5:15PM
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The number of shed skins is no indication of how many snakes you might have. One snake could have shed 4 times or several snakes could have shed.

The snake could be living there, coming and going and hunting outside. If he is trapped inside, he would have to have a source of food.

You are wise to get professional help. Catch it and seal up even the tiniest of ways in and out.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2006 at 4:43PM
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My friends in Cape Cod had snakes coming into their basement, just small garter snakes, but it was enough to make my friend's skin crawl. They figured out it was their mice problem bringing the snakes in. Once they got rid of the mice, they got rid of the snakes. YUCK!

    Bookmark   January 27, 2006 at 12:53PM
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OH. MY. GOD. I am from Nova Scotia and just moved to North Carolina in May of '04. I tell you this much...not a DAY goes by that I don't think of encountering a snake. I have such a phobia it's pathetic.

We only ever killed one little rat snake (well...the Mexican lawn guy killed it and laughed his rear end off at me for being so HE has seen some snakes) and we also fished a 6 foot King snake out of our tree in the back yard (hubby used his hockey stick with a beer in his hand-GO CANADIANS!) I'd sell the damn house if I thought there were any living with me. Luckily we're on a slab so the odds are slim but STILL! I've heard of neighbors with Copperheads in her home and we had a Copperhead in the community pool with the swim team kids last year....

I'm sitting in MY chair with my feet up now! I'll have nightmares tonight and with me being's not like I sleep much anyway...

Definitely get the experts over and KEEP US POSTED! I for one want to know how you make out. Oh, and don't watch Cold Creek Manor before you get this figured out.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2006 at 5:23PM
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This time of year in NC, one must be wary of snow snakes. But they are seldom seen after April 1.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2006 at 8:04PM
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Thanks for sharing that story. I don't care what time it is, where's the vodka?

    Bookmark   February 4, 2006 at 3:31PM
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we have had a very warm January here in Atlanta and on Tuesday I was out working in the yard and found a copperhead - only around a foot long- so I guess the warm weather brought them out. Hope they stay outside. I have killed several in the yard, but would DIE if i thought there were any in the house.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2006 at 6:15PM
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Oh gee thanks bmmalone - I've been cleaning up brush in the woods just north of you in Ellijay because this time of the year isn't "snakey".

Emmhip is right, there is a good chance that the reason you have a snake/snakes is because you have a food source (rodents). If you get rid of the food it will help keep away the snakes.

Two stories:

1) The only house I've ever found a snake INSIDE was built on a slab, sorry paintinggal, I just couldn't resist.

2) We own a cabin rental company (and I'm really hoping Rhodo Dendro wasn't staying in one of MY cabins!) A cabin owner just purchased a waterfront cabin that had been neglected. They were ripping out the insulation in the crawl space and a nest of Copperheads fell on the workers (no bites). So who does my husband send under that cabin a few months later to check the clothes dryer vent???? Yours truly...... I HATE snakes.


    Bookmark   February 9, 2006 at 3:15PM
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ok, y'all can all move back to the city, now...

me, I'd rather have snakes than roaches and rodents any day.

and, except for the diamondback who wandered in through the hole in the back patio screen, and wound up curled up in my parents bath tub, we've never had an actual problem with them (him, I called the park people, who put me in touch with a guy who came with a lasso on a stick, and that was that)

if the skins were all in the same section (between the same two joists) then their entrance is likely at the end of that channel, and since it's winter, and it wasn't hibernating in there, it may have split already.

but yes, do call for the critter controllers. no snake should ever have to endure living with people who don't like them, and vice versa.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2006 at 11:22AM
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O.K. guys,I had a dream (nightmare) about snakes Thursday night! yuck.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2006 at 8:15AM
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The book of Genesis talks about how evil snakes are. I hate snakes too.
Slab houses can be infested w/ pestilence and vermin more easy because they are built lower to the ground and the critters can just slither right in.
Be thankfull you don't have to deal w/ centipedes. Our place in Hawaii has been known to support em, giant 8" long centipedes that bite agressively, so painfull they say it feels like a gunshot and the only cure is to stay drunk for 3 days.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2006 at 1:08AM
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Snakes are welcome here in York Haven
Are you serious Beaglebuddy ? ... IMO, it is impossible for snakes, or any animal to be "evil".. As difficult as it may be, man must learn to co-exist; but the damned mice had best stay outdoors and be controlled by the snakes.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2006 at 11:05PM
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Well....thank God I live in snakes in Iowa!!! ( I hope!!)
Do snakes eat spiders? if so bring 'em on!
Linda C

    Bookmark   February 26, 2006 at 9:37PM
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no arms or legs, slithering on the ground, beady unblinking eyes, potentially poisonous, definately evil in my book.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2006 at 11:44PM
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We have a snake in the house. Not sure if he lives in the basement or the attic, but he sheds his skin in the basement around a water pipe in the springtime - two years ago the skin was six foot long. We have lived in this house (in Alabama) for ten years. First year we were in the house, my son found a small snake skin in the attic. The past two years the snake has been sited in the basement ceiling twice by my adult son. The skins are of a non-poisonous snake, but I truly want to rid out house of the snake all together! Critter getters are totally costly, so I have to figure out how to get rid of him ourselves. We live in the country, if you haven't already guessed.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2006 at 1:09PM
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I don't understand this comment:
Slab houses can be infested w/ pestilence and vermin more easy because they are built lower to the ground and the critters can just slither right in.

Our home is built on a full basement, crawl space, and we have a small laundry room 10x10 built on a slab because the contractors were too lazy to excavate by hand when we added on. I see no reason it would be easier for a snake to get in on a slab. Many of our neighbors have had black snakes in their basements. For some reason we have not, even though we had a mice infestation that took forever to clear up. Since then we have spent lots of money having holes sealed up.

I grew up here in NC and never saw a snake in the Triad part of the state (foothills), but here in Raleigh it is somewhat subtropical, we live across from a large park with a creek, and we see black snakes in the yard from time to time. Copperheads also live around here and I have spotted some on walking trails. Frankly, I'd really rather live someplace colder that has no poison snakes. Give me rodents - at least they are mammals - any day.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2006 at 4:35PM
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Not trying to highjack this thread (which is very interesting) but I thought everyone might find another thread on snakes currently in the "Building a Home forum" called "Rattlesnakes in Paradise" interesting as well. Lots of discussion on rattlers, copperheads, etc.

35 People have posted about their experiences being "snake charmers".

Beaglebuddy, Come visit SoCal some day. We got centipedes too!

    Bookmark   June 6, 2006 at 8:37PM
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On a horrible note.....
last night we were sitting out in our garage. Suddenly lots of police cars going past our street, then a MercyAir helicopter landed in a field about 300 yards from our house. Come to find out a 2 year old baby was bit by a rattlesnake in the neighborhood just above ours. MercyAir was flying the baby to Loma Linda Hospital. Don't know yet how the baby is doing.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2006 at 12:15PM
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I mentioned in the post above that a 2 year old child was bitten by a rattlesnake on 6/7. The baby was bitten on his finger and flown to Loma Linda Hospital. Wonderful news, he came home last night and is doing well. :)

    Bookmark   June 9, 2006 at 6:58PM
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I believe rattlesnake venom is a lot less deadly than the movies would have us believe, and it's also actually not that easy to get bitten, as most snakes will avoid people unless cornered or you get between them and nest.

As for evil? Following the bible reference, all animals are God's creatures are they not, and, IMHO deserve respect. Only humans are capable of evil, as they possess the choice thingy.

I used to live in paraphrase Crocodile Dundee, "call that a snake? Now THIS is a snake...."

    Bookmark   June 20, 2006 at 1:09PM
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My cousins had a boa constrictor as a pet and it got loose. My Aunt was going crazy around the house trying not to find It was gone but one day when they moved the couch, they noticed a hole in it and the snake was inside there couch the whole time. It did end up dieing there though but I would of been freaked out sitting on it.... ewwwwwwwwwwwww

    Bookmark   June 24, 2006 at 3:55PM
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Sometimes you cannot avoid them though. I know someone who was turning on his faucet and got bit. Someone I used to work with was doing laundry inside her home and reached down to get some clothes and got bit, they figure it came through the dog door. I went to turn the lights off in my garage one evening and turned the corner in my hallway and there was one (I didn't get bit).
Several species of rattlesnake will give you the chance to retreat but some like the Mojave green are just plain nasty. In the 20 years we've lived here I have dispatched more rattlers than I care to think about. My 4yr old g-son was less than 1/2 ft from one. Luckily it was injesting and couldn't strike. DH was weeding one winter and touched the back of one- thank God it was lethargic from the cold.
I went to get a sweater one night (7/4) from DH's truck- stepped down and heard a rattle. I had to wait in the dark until it rattled again and then I jumped the other way. That was a 3' diamondback- it was less than a foot away.
BTW, that 2 year old I posted about last month. The child is Dr. Sean Bush's little boy. Dr Bush who lives about 1/2 mile from us is the ponytail venom doctor from the TV channel Animal Planet's "Venom ER" show. Jude saw the snake in their backyard and tried to pick it up. Dr Bush keeps snakes, spiders, scorpians etc in his garage (well contained) and Jude thinking this was one of his daddy's snakes that got loose wanted to help. If you ever got bit Dr Bush is the man you want to take care of you. In fact he is on call if President Bush (no relation) ever gets bit at his ranch in Crawford.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2006 at 11:23AM
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Our puppy turned up this evening with a shed skin. Don't know where she found it. But I remembered from biology in college that you are suppoed to be able to tell if it's poisonous or not by the number of scales on the lower belly. I found a website that said if there is a single row of scales just above the tail then it's poisonous; if there is a double row it's non-poisonous. It had a single row! And it was pretty big. Yikes.

I live WAAAAAAAAAY in the country but I don't really want to encounter any snakes. They give me heebie jeebies, big time. But - thinking sanely - (inside the house with no slithery things around) I have to say that I really detest mice and rats and if snakes is what it takes to get rid of 'em...well, as long as they don't actually come IN the house. I can live with 'em under the deck or out by the garage. I grew up watching my step in KY. I can still do that!

    Bookmark   July 5, 2006 at 10:32PM
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you are so right, if you live in snake country (poisonous that is) then you don't "obsess" about every step you take- but you're always aware- and it's always there in the back of your mind

    Bookmark   July 6, 2006 at 2:14AM
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Here it is 9pm and we just got home from a beautiful evening ride with the dogs. DH was about to let them out of the car and I was heading to the mailbox when on my side...there it was!
Left the dogs in the car, took care of the "visitor" and now we are all heading to bed safe and sound :)

    Bookmark   July 7, 2006 at 12:02AM
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My brothers and I grew up with boa constrictors. I used to sleep in my 4-poster bed with one of the boas curled around the poster. I used to bike with the boa curled around my waist. As an adult, my kids and I have had a few ball pythons; delightful little snakes, and so gentle and cute. The last one got loose (permanently) in the house; a calamity of having kids and snakes. Snakes are a far cry from evil. So what if they don't have arms and legs; why is that evil? Contrarily, they are one of earth's most beneficial creatures. I have imported non-poisonous snakes from friend's yards into my yard, bec I want them eradicating the vermin. I heartily welcome any non-pois snake into my yard. (Sorry, but I do believe I would kill a copperhead, what with my dogs and kids etal). I don't want any snakes in my house bec they still can bite (harmless but maybe painful) if threatened. But I've recently had a rodent problem in the house, so... Snakes are beautiful wonderful creatures who suffer people's weird and unrealistic and undeserved phobias, probably thanks to the Genesis theme. Now an encounter with a huge centipede or spider, and I am outta here screaming like a little girl! (I am a woman BTW). PS: I donÂt kill spiders either, unless theyÂre in the house and REALLY big.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2006 at 11:16AM
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The people that remove snakes for a living will put traps in the basement or attic that are similar to those stickey mouse traps except flat and without bait. The snake "gets stuck" and then is removed and relocated along with the trap. The trap is sprayed with PAM which softens the adhesive and the snake slithers away free.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2006 at 8:57PM
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That's really cool. I've never heard of snakes being caught that way. In my area SoCal with rattlesnakes, all I've ever seen professionals use is the long hook and then they bag them.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2006 at 4:32PM
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I trap snakes and other wild animals out of houses for a living. We use the sticky boards with great success. It's not as easy as it sounds getting them off the boards though.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2006 at 9:51AM
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