Snake presence on your property can be unsettling and most of us don’t like sharing our space with slithery reptiles even though they are beneficial to Colorado’s ecosystem. For some it’s an anxiety inducing phobia while for others it’s a mild dislike. No matter where you fall on the love-hate scale, there are options for snake removal and control.
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Colorado is home to many different species of snakes – most of them being nonvenomous. In the Denver metro area, garden snakes (various species) and bull snakes are often encountered throughout landscaping, gardens and patios.
While these sightings may be alarming, they do not pose any danger to you or your pets. Garden Snakes and Bull Snakes are actually very beneficial as they feed of many nuisance insects and rodents.
Western Rattlesnakes and Massasaugas on the other hand are poisonous. These snakes can be distinguished from other nonvenomous snakes first and foremost by their rattle. They also have fangs and facial pits that can help identify them at a glance.
Western Rattlesnakes can be found throughout Colorado below 9000 ft in elevation. Typically, they enjoy rural habitats where rocky crevices and grasses are abundant, but they can be found in a wide variety of settings.
Massasaugas are primarily found in the southeastern portion of the state and prefer wet prairies/lowlands near rivers.
Despite the risk to humans and mammals, rattlesnakes are still beneficial to the ecosystem and play an important role in maintaining prey populations. They should be left alone in their natural habitats whenever possible.
The best way to avoid snake activity on your property is to minimize food sources and prime habitat. Listed below are a few key principles.
- Make Modifications to Limit Snake Habitat on Your Property:
- Keep all grass, including field grass, mowed – especially in rural areas where rattlesnakes are present.
- Keep shrubs trimmed or remove them.
- Keep wood stacked in an enclosed structure or box.
- Avoid bush piles or stacks of unused lumber where snakes can hide.
- Minimize the use of large rocks in landscaping as snakes like to “sun” themselves.
- Avoid rock beds or landscape walls with “dead space.” This is usually created when rock beds/walls are made with larger rocks or boulders where a void is created between rocks.
- Repair Possible Snake Entry Points:
- Keep all window wells covered.
- Repair any openings under porches or patios where snakes can hide.
- Make sure garage door seals and entry door seals are working properly.
- Make sure all vents and utility inlets are properly sealed on the exterior of your home.
- Minimize Snake Food Sources on Your Property:
- Schedule regular insect maintenance along the exterior perimeter of your home.
- Schedule regular rodent maintenance to control rodent populations that might attract snakes.
You may be able to tolerate snakes in the yard but entering your home crosses the line. So what can you do to get snakes out and keep them out?
Since your home has lots of cracks and crevices where snakes can hide, you may not always be able to locate them. The best course of action is to identify where the snakes entered the home. Then you can seal up the access point and place snake traps in key areas in case they haven’t gotten out. A few common snake entry points include: faulty garage door seals, missing or faulty door sweeps, and openings along the foundation line
- Snakes are an important part of Colorado’s ecosystem and most of them are entirely harmless.
- Our goal is to control snake populations on your property by limiting their food sources and prime habitat.
- We cannot completely eliminate the possibility of their presence on the exterior or your home but can work to prevent them from entering into your living space
- If you or your household is in danger of a rattlesnake strike, it is legal and appropriate to kill the snake. Be sure to seek immediate medical attention if you have been bitten.