6 Home Remedies to Get Rid of Garter Snakes in Your House

Get rid of garter snake in house

The garter snake is a limbless, scaly animal that often slides in your yard or home!

You will usually see them in your garden, especially in summers and spring when the temperature is between 80 to 90-degree Fahrenheit.

Even the hibernating snakes come out to bask in the sunshine and will often surprise you with their appearance.

Although they are cute and virtually harmless, they can sometimes be exasperating and seem to be a pest.

If you see a garter snake in your home, then calling a professional pest control company is the best way to get rid of them from your property.

But by the time help comes, you can use some home remedies and tips given below to repel them out of your yard.

Home Remedies to Get Rid of Garter Snakes

Garter snakes can become a real nuisance, especially for those raising baby chickens or other small animals in the yard.

Plus, they can be kind of stinky, and you will certainly not like their smell if they are present in larger groups.

If left ignored, they could get overpopulated before you know that they have already made a shelter for themselves under your house.

Worry not, as you are not alone.

The good news is there are ways to get rid of garter snakes, and you can still eliminate them without killing them.

Here are a few ways you can try out:

1- Use smoke to keep them out

Garter snakes are extremely sensitive to bad odors, fumes, and other smells like smoke.

They really hate the smell of smoke and repel fast to keep them away from it.

So, what you can do is dig a fire pit and allow it to smoke.

You can add some moss, compost, or dry leaves to get the best results and keep them smoking for some days.

Many people try smoke bombs to repel the snakes, but this can create many other problems than good, leaving the problem untreated.

2- Trap the garter snake

Another good way is to trap them in simple, humane traps to relocate them away from your property.

The good thing I like about getting rid of garter snakes in this way is it can be done without harming them.

Traps for snakes can be built yourself in a DIY way or can be bought online at a very low cost.

Baits you can use to trap garter snakes may include:

  • Rodents
  • Live lizards
  • Small eggs of lizards

If you are buying a commercial snake trap from the store, most probably, it will come with bait, and you will not need to find any elsewhere.

To catch the snakes, you will need to hide the traps close to where you’ve seen the snakes before.

It’s usually under the foliage where they like to live and feel comfortable.

After a day or two, check the trap, and if you find the snake trapped, you can relocate them to an area that is a few miles away from your garden and house.

Note: Garter snakes release foul-smelling musk when threatened, which can cling to your hands.

So, make sure that you wear disposable gloves when moving them.

3- Get rid of food supplies

Snakes are commonly seen where rodents live around your property as these are the major food supply for them.

Snakes also prey on fish, insects, frogs, slugs, minnows, and birds.

So, if you have these animals around, then you should get rid of them first to prevent snakes from entering your premises.

Well, I understand that it would be impossible to get rid of them all for you.

But you can at least try by NOT making your property a buffet for them.

You can spray some insecticides or can call a pest control help that will make your yard inhospitable to their prey.

controlling garter snake infestation

4- Amend your landscaping

Snakes get attracted to debris, holes, rocks, and overgrown grasses.

Some gardens are more susceptible to snakes especially if they tend to find a shade to bask in the sun all day.

Hence you should make amendments to deter these reptiles from entering inside.

It’s good to keep your grasses short and eliminate their hiding spots like rocks.

Additionally, install net, mesh or sheet fencing to prohibit their entry inside.

The fence you are installing should be at least 4ft. deep and 3ft. high.

You can also consider planting snake repellent plants that serve as natural repellents.

Some of these plants are lemongrass, marigolds, and wormwood.

5- Get rid of their hiding places

Snakes reside in cool, dark places, especially in cracks, holes, and crevices.

If you seal these hiding areas, you can easily deter snakes from housing on your property.

Check all the damages and cracks and repair them as soon as possible. Also, mend the broken doors and windows.

Do not forget to also seal the piping and ventilation ducts properly in your attic, ceiling, and basement.

Also, if you find any hibernacula or a snake den (where they hibernate during the winter), make sure you clear and seal the area to keep them from coming back.

6- Take the help of natural predators

Raccoons and foxes love to prey on garter snakes.

Turkey, pigs, cats, as well as guinea hens are also helpful in keeping the garter snakes in your yard at bay.

The urine of foxes serves as a natural turnoff for snakes as well.

So, if you can attract these natural predators and can make use of them, you will see that the snakes will soon repel off of your property.

7- Use natural products in your house

In addition to the above home remedies, there are a lot of other DIY natural household products that can easily work to repel garter snakes.

Most of these are non-toxic, easily available in your home, and can be tried whenever you want.

Some of the products you can use as a natural repellent for garter snakes are:

 a) Naphthalene:

Used commonly in several snake repellents, naphthalene has a smell that irritates these reptiles without causing any harm to them.

You can use mothballs and put them in cracks, crevices and holes, or anywhere snakes come from.

However, mothballs may be hazardous for your pets or kids. Hence you should use them cautiously.

b) Ammonia:

Snakes don’t have much fondness for ammonia, so if you spray it around your house, then it will deter snakes.

You can also soak a cloth in ammonia and put it in an unsealed bag in the infected area.

c) Vinegar:

Vinegar repels snakes. You can use it in water bodies like ponds and pools.

d) Lime:

Mix lime, peppermint, and hot pepper and pour them around your house.

Snakes hate the odor of this mix, and the fume creates itching on their skin.

e) Sulfur:

Powdered sulfur can be spread across your house, and once the snake passes through it, it will cause irritation to their skin, and they will never come back.

But sulfur has a strong smell, so make sure you wear a mask when spreading it.  

f) Clove and cinnamon oil:

Mix both the oils together in a spray bottle and spray on snakes for best results.

They are excellent snake repellents and will surely make all of them go away from your house.

You can even use them in an oil diffuser inside your house.

g) Garlic and onions:

The sulfur in onion and garlic is hated by snakes.

Mix them with rock salt and sprinkle them in the area where snakes are likely to be seen.

You can also mix garlic with essential oil and fumigate your attic, basement, garage, and other uncommon locations of your house.

h) Human hair and laundry:

Snakes hate the scent of a human.

So, it’s worth trying sprinkling your hair clippings (from your hair-brush or drain) around the yard where you usually catch sight of the snakes.

If possible, you can also dry your clothes outside for a few days.

The human scent from these clothes will again act as a DIY natural repellent for them.

are garter snakes good to have in your yard

Signs of Snakes in Your Home

Like other reptiles, garter snakes are cold-blooded creatures.

For this reason, they like to dwell at locations that can easily offer them food and warmth.

They can even get in your house through a fairly small opening in the kitchen, toilet drains, bathroom, bedroom, etc.

The problem is most of the time, even when they are not spotted, they can be present inside your home.

Since snakes do not cause damage as mice or rats do, once they are in, they often remain in a hiding mode for weeks or even months without you noticing.

While hiding inside the room’s bookcases and cabinets during the daytime, they will generally come out at night and tend to move along the walls, floors, or baseboards.

So, how do you know if you have a snake in your house?

Well, there are a few signs that can help you out if you look for them around your house.

1- Odor:

Garter snakes emit a very distinctive smell.

So, if you notice any strange foul that wasn’t before, you should get an alert.

2- Droppings:

Snake feces will often look like bird feces.

It may sometimes also include small bones and hairs from the prey they have consumed.

So, if you find any inside your house, most probably it’s a sign of a garter snake inside.

3- Snakeskin:

Younger garter snakes will grow rapidly. And as they grow, they shed their skin every 4-5 weeks.

If you find any signs of dry, scaly skin near the walls of your home, it can be a good sign of a young garter snake.

4- Snake slithers tracks:

Snake tracks are wavy, and they often leave them back while slithering inside your house.

You will find them, particularly in dusty areas such as crawlspaces.

If you notice these tracks, it can be a good indication that you have a snake nearby.

Remember, finding this snake evidence isn’t always easy.

Especially in winter, when they might be nesting inside the walls in your living room or near the fireplace to protect themselves from the cold.

how to catch a garter snake

Should You Kill Garter Snakes in Your House?

At first sight, you would just run the other way, but you have a number of benefits to keeping them with you in your yard, the first being they keep rodents away.

If you are wondering whether the garter snakes are dangerous for humans and whether you should kill them, the short answer is NO.

Most of the time, garter snakes are not a problem for humans at all and should not be killed.

They are elusive and will disappear on their own as they can easily feel the vibrations of your steps from far and get threatened.  

If you work in your backyard or mow your garden regularly, most probably, they will not come near due to the vibrations of the mower.

Are Garter Snakes Poisonous? How Dangerous are They? 

Generally, they will hiss or bite you when annoyed, provoked, or stepped on by mistake.

Unlike the bite of cottonmouths and rattlesnakes, which are the most dangerous/venomous species in the United States, the bite of a garter snake may hurt you but will not kill you as it’s very less venomous.

The poison is usually released out of their teeth, not on a single bit but when chewed repeatedly.

If you are mildly bitten by them, it’s good to completely clean the wound and get a tetanus shot as soon as possible.

can garter snakes hurt you

Other Related Questions:

What Do Garter Snakes Look Like? 

Garter snakes are common in North America. They are around 2-3 feet long and found in a variety of different colors; greens, browns, and grays are most common.

The unique feature that tells them apart from many other snake species is their “garter”-like stripes that come down the length of the body.

The presence of these stripes down their back is why they get their name “garter snakes.”

Will Your Dog Keep Garter Snakes Away?

Since your pet dog is naturally gifted with an amazing sense of smell and hearing, it can help sense snakes better than you.

In fact, they can know if you have a snake in your house by hearing a snake far from a distance.

Your dog can bark, howl or whine at them, which will keep the snakes away and make you cautious.

However, depending on your dog’s reaction and what they did to the snake, the snakes can be dangerous for your pooch and other pets, even if they’re not venomous.

They are safe if your dog hasn’t killed or ingested any part of the snake.

What’s the Difference Between a Garter and a Garden Snake?

Simply saying, there isn’t any difference between garter snakes and garden snakes.

People generally name them in place of one another, and they both describe the same type of snake species, the Thamnophis sirtalis.  

Since garter snakes are commonly seen in gardens, homeowners began referring to them as “garden” snakes.

And this is when garter snakes started getting the name “garden snakes.”

The Conclusion

Although not very dangerous, garter snakes can be annoying when you find them hanging out in your place.

They may particularly find the junk in your yard enticing and will come around, although not welcomed.

If you find that garter snakes are giving you the willies, it’s good to try the home remedies and steps mentioned above.

These will hopefully keep your home clutter-free and hence safe from these creatures.

Do not hesitate to call a pest control company near your home, especially if you find a group of snakes around.

Dealing with a group can be dangerous and is not as easy as it’s with a single snake in your house.

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