Snakes are incredibly beneficial for the ecosystem. They control the population of several pests, including mice, rats, cockroaches and other insects. However, many species are venomous, and some of these can be dangerous for humans and pets. As such, depending on where you live, it might be important to keep snakes out of your yard. Additionally, you might be concerned about keeping snakes away while hiking or trekking. source
Method 1/2 of keeping snakes away
1. Keep your yard free of clutter. Snakes are ambush predators, meaning they like to attack their prey from dark hiding places. As such, clutter is essentially an open invitation to snakes, giving them perfect hiding spots. Piles of leaves, compost piles, straw mulch, wood chip mulch, stacks of firewood, and piles of cut grass are all comfortable places that snakes like to hide in, so these should be removed from your yard. Instead of wood mulch, consider crushed stone. It’s not as comfortable or effective for snakes to hide in.
2. Avoid low-growing plants. Just like clutter, certain shrubs and other plants provide the perfect hiding spot for a neighborhood snake. Keeping your grass mowed is a good way to prevent snakes from slithering around your yard. Shrubs and packed gardens with thick plants will also attract snakes. If you are very concerned about a potential snake problem, remove or thin these plants out. If you want to keep these plants, however, consider transplanting them to the far side of your yard, away from the foundation of your house.
3. Get rid of any possible source of food. Snakes will only hang around your yard if there’s something there they can eat. Depending on the species, this could mean a problem with large insects such as cockroaches and grasshoppers, or small mammals such as mice and rats. Try laying traps or spraying repellents designed to keep these pests away from your house, and the snakes should stay away as well.
4. Patch up any holes. If you have spotted snakes in your yard and are worried about keeping them out of your house, the best thing you can do is locate and repair any holes in your property’s foundations, the garage, or screen doors. Carefully inspect these areas and if you notice any holes, no matter how small, patch them up immediately. Even holes as small as a quarter are large enough for certain types of garter snakes to squeeze through. Beyond allowing access into your home, any holes or cracks in your building’s foundations provide great hiding places for snakes.
5. Put up snake-proof fencing. The effectiveness of snake proof fencing might depend on the type of snake you have in your area and how it commonly travels, but there are specialized types of fencing that have proved effective against many types of snakes. Snake-proof fencing usually follows three broad types: plastic sheeting, steel mesh or catch net fencing. No matter the construction, these fences should be flush to the ground and angled outwards. This prevents snakes from slithering under the fence or climbing over. It might not be practical to fence your entire yard this way. Instead, consider fencing specific areas commonly frequented by children and pets. 2/5 You should consider putting up similar snake barriers around any buildings on your property elevated off the ground. This will keep snakes from hiding underneath.
6. Create vibrations. If you have spotted snakes in your garden or yard in the past, and suspect that a few might be hiding in there even now, run the lawn mower or tiller around the area before working in it. You do not want to push the mower or tiller through the area, because the idea is not to kill the snakes but simply to scare them off. The vibrations produced by these machines are usually enough to warn and frighten off many snakes, especially common garter snakes. Note that this won’t keep snakes away permanently, but if you need to work in a garden, this can scare off snakes long enough to let you work.
7 Lay traps. If you suspect that you already have a snake, or are worried about any snakes that might have snuck in before you took measures to repel them, you can set up mechanical traps or glue traps in your basement or garage. Before setting these traps up, though, you should contact your local animal control officer or state wildlife agency to make sure that the procedure is done safely and legally. Make sure not to use glue traps outside. This could inhumanely trap wildlife other than snakes.
Method two of keeping snakes away
1. Use trekking poles when hiking. These poles look very similar to ski poles, except they’re usually adjustable to adapt to the terrain. Trekking poles allow you to push tall grass and other brush out of your way, potentially scaring off any hidden snakes. As you hike, your pole hitting the ground and banging against rocks will also deter snakes. They can feel the vibrations in the ground, and will usually leave when they sense your approach. If you can’t afford or otherwise acquire a trekking pole, a ski pole will do fine.
2. Stay on cleared, popular trails. Snakes tend to hide under stones, logs and in dense foliage. Trails cleared of clutter are less likely to attract snakes. Additionally, if you stick to well travelled trails, the frequent foot traffic will already keep snakes away. They have no desire to approach humans, and if they know people frequent a particular area, they’ll tend to stay away from it.
3 Watch your step. Many snakes, such as the rattlesnake, are colored in a way that blends in with their environment. Keep your eyes open while on a trail; you might spot and effectively avoid a snake encounter before it happens. Be especially careful if you’re traversing rocks or fallen logs. Both of these are favorite hiding spots of various snakes. If you need to traverse these fallen objects, step up on them, then down, rather than simply stepping over. This gives you the chance to scan the area around the object, to ensure no snakes are hiding nearby. Avoid picking up stones or wood while on a trail. This might disturb any snakes hiding underneath and provoke an attack. If you need to lean on something while hiking, such as a rock face or a tree, pay close attention to where you place your hands.
4 Choose the time of your hike carefully. Snakes are cold-blooded, meaning they can’t regulate their body temperature the way humans can. They have to expose themselves to sunlight to warm themselves up, and hide away from sunlight to cool down. Consequently, snakes tend to be more active in warmer weather. If you’re really concerned about encountering a snake on a hike, consider planning your hike for the cooler weather of fall and winter.