Author Topic: There's a snake in my basement  (Read 2882 times)

Duchess of Stratosphear

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There's a snake in my basement
« on: May 11, 2019, 07:51:47 AM »
Now that I've stopped screaming, I'm wondering how I can DIY (and humanely) trap it and take it far far away. Also, how can I figure out how the hell it got in and plug the holes? I'm 99% sure it's just some garden variety non-venomous snake, but I don't want to touch it in any way, so I need a trap that insulates me very well from any contact with Mr. Twisty.

Upside: I'm awake now.


Knapptyme

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Re: There's a snake in my basement
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2019, 07:54:10 AM »
Upside, and potential downside: you likely don't have rodents in your basement if it chose to make a home down there, but you may have rodents in the future without it.

Agreed, however, that I would also freak out and want it out of my house. Best of luck!

JLee

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Re: There's a snake in my basement
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2019, 08:12:18 AM »
aw, snek :D

Call your local animal control and see if they can trap it and relocate it for you?

Duchess of Stratosphear

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Re: There's a snake in my basement
« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2019, 08:24:49 AM »
I called a guy who says it's really hard to trap snakes and that the best thing to do is wait for a sunny day when he's likely gone outside to sunbathe and then plug all the holes. Not sure how much that's gonna cost me, but I'm not sure I want to go digging around in my basement trying to plug holes knowing that Twisty might be down there. This may not be a time for frugality.

wenchsenior

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Re: There's a snake in my basement
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2019, 08:34:56 AM »
For years I had our old pet gopher snake (Lurk) loose in our small studio. She used to occasionally crawl into bed with us at night when she was cold.  She also liked it under the fridge b/c it was warm (though she had a sun lamp and hot rock in her terrarium). Sometimes we entertained ourselves by dangling mice or house sparrows near the floor next the fridge and she would shoot out, grab them, and drag them under.  We used to call her the land eel.  Ah, memories...RIP Lurk, big old girl.

In seriousness, it IS hard to trap snakes, but it isn't that difficult to catch them if you know where they are. Unless you are in an area with rattlesnakes/venomous snakes, all that's required is a snake handling stick/prongs and a large box or sack (or pillowcase).  Or a fast grab with a glove.   Any decent local animal control should have the gear.  You could also look up your local Game and Fish/DNR/Parks & Wildlife/Fish & Wildlife office (names of the state wildlife agency varies by state) and ask for advice/help.

ETA: I appreciate how the average humane public response to wildlife around their home is to 'relocate it', but moving small critters more than a mile or so from their home range is usually a death sentence for the animal. 
« Last Edit: May 11, 2019, 08:36:58 AM by wenchsenior »

Indexer

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Re: There's a snake in my basement
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2019, 08:49:04 AM »
My experience:  I had a pet constrictor in college and I've run into snakes, including the poisonous kind, while hiking. I've even had to grab an agitated snake(not poisonous). I don't recommend the last part.


Catching a snake is very hard. They can get out of most wire traps and they are only really interested in live food. You need a trap that can contain a live mouse, that the snake can get into, but can't get out of. You can see the difficulty here.

Plugging holes while it is out sunbathing is a good idea. Another way to speed this up, make it colder in your basement during the day. Snakes can't regulate their temperature without external sources. A small AC unit might work. You want the temperature under 55 if you can, but even 60 is better than 70+. This will encourage the snake to leave, discourage coming back, and if they stay it will make them much more docile.

Related:  That is how some religious preachers will handle dangerous snakes without getting bit. It's a con. God isn't protecting them, they keep the snake in a really cold box so the snake is paralyzed.

Malcat

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Re: There's a snake in my basement
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2019, 08:50:13 AM »
Well, obviously you have to burn the house down.

I'm sorry, there's just clearly no other option.

Sibley

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Re: There's a snake in my basement
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2019, 08:56:38 AM »
My I just say I'm impressed you stopped screaming? Pretty sure I'd be over pounding on the neighbor's door.

bacchi

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Re: There's a snake in my basement
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2019, 09:07:08 AM »
Get a few more and you're on your way to a snake farm. It's a good side hustle.

Cranky

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Re: There's a snake in my basement
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2019, 09:13:05 AM »
I would just move.

CowboyAndIndian

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Re: There's a snake in my basement
« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2019, 09:24:51 AM »
Did anyone else check the space under their feet for snakes when reading this?

Ophidiophobia is a curse, I know these reptiles kill vermin and probably are more scare of us ....

Trifele

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Re: There's a snake in my basement
« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2019, 12:03:03 PM »
I agree that the only real solution is to find the holes and plug them.  Our house had lots of snakes living in it when we moved in three years ago.  (Old house, had sat empty).  They were big harmless rat snakes, a/k/a the "Farmer's Friend" and they were living here because the house was full of mice.  It wasn't until we found the holes and buttoned the house up that (a) we got rid of the mice, and (b) the snakes moved out.  We still see them sometimes; they're living in the rock wall behind the house and in our woodpile. 

I agree that ideally you should release the snake near your house, not far from it.  Your house is apparently its home (sorry), and it will likely not be able to cope if it's taken far away.   

Good luck! 

Rosy

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Re: There's a snake in my basement
« Reply #12 on: May 11, 2019, 12:55:36 PM »
My first encounter with a Florida snake was when the cat dragged in a 4ft thin black snake which immediately hid under the fridge. Talk about freakin' out:), but it turned out to be harmless and eventually we managed to sweep it out into the garden with a broom.

We have a couple of black racer snakes living in the garden. Sometimes I'm only a foot or two away wherever they happen to sunbathe before I see it.
One of them has taken to resting his head on the skeleton head I have on display in the Secret Garden. (bleached from the sun - some wild critter my son found).

They are beneficial since they keep the mouse and rat population down and they are not aggressive in any way - however - it scared the hell out of me when only last week it climbed up the gazebo chasing a lizard.
I had no idea those racers can climb - scared the daylights out of my visiting friend since she only stood like two feet away.

One year I pointed it out to our garden guy and he killed it with his shovel before I could even blink - damn him.

Having one in my house - oh no! Wait for it to sunbathe and close all the holes.

Duchess of Stratosphear

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Re: There's a snake in my basement
« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2019, 01:25:58 PM »
So, over the weekend I had to go down into the basement to do laundry, etc., and I didn't see the snake again. I also haven't seen mice lately, so I think I may have talked myself into believing that snakes are better than mice. They don't carry diseases (that I know of) and they don't chew through the wiring, so I'm kind of thinking that unless he scares the shit out of me on a regular basis (my voice is still raw from all the screaming), this might sort of be a win (that is, better than rodents). Am I crazy?

With that said, I have occasionally slept in the basement when I had guests. Doubt I'll be doing that again.

wenchsenior

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Re: There's a snake in my basement
« Reply #14 on: May 13, 2019, 01:51:49 PM »
So, over the weekend I had to go down into the basement to do laundry, etc., and I didn't see the snake again. I also haven't seen mice lately, so I think I may have talked myself into believing that snakes are better than mice. They don't carry diseases (that I know of) and they don't chew through the wiring, so I'm kind of thinking that unless he scares the shit out of me on a regular basis (my voice is still raw from all the screaming), this might sort of be a win (that is, better than rodents). Am I crazy?

With that said, I have occasionally slept in the basement when I had guests. Doubt I'll be doing that again.

Yes, snakes in the bed are very chilly (as per my comment earlier lol). 

couponvan

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Re: There's a snake in my basement
« Reply #15 on: May 13, 2019, 01:53:59 PM »
OMG - that is a huge fear of mine. 

My sister put a dead rattler in my water bed as a child.  When I went to bed I felt a cold something....then pulled the covers back....then saw the coiled up snake. I don't think my feet hit the ground flying out of the bed to the door screaming.  My sister about that time woke up, and realized she'd forgotten about the prank.  I'm screaming about the rattler in my bed and my sister's telling my dad it's dead. Bed/dead.  She got a massive whooping and had to clean my room for a month.  I still check the sheets at night before getting in.

Today was our home inspection - the crawl is conditioned.  The inspector said he was really happy to be going into that space because the unconditioned ones often get snakes through the vents.  GROSS.  I am so happy I spent the extra $ for the conditioned version with no vents.

nessness

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Re: There's a snake in my basement
« Reply #16 on: May 13, 2019, 04:45:44 PM »
We used to have a whole bunch of snakes living in our basement window well. My teenage nephew was living with us at the time and sleeping in that bedroom. Naturally, it was pretty terrifying for him to open the curtains and see a bunch of snakes. What we did was wait for the snakes to come out on a sunny day, then poured a bunch of snake repellent in the window well. It worked - the snakes didn't come back. But I don't know whether snake repellent is safe to use indoors.

Whatever you do, please don't use glue traps - they're super inhumane.

NorCal

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Re: There's a snake in my basement
« Reply #17 on: May 13, 2019, 05:04:54 PM »
I've done this before.  You need a big bucket or a clean trash can.  You can usually pick up a snake with a stick or shovel (assuming it isn't too active) and put it in the trash can.  Bring the trash can to a good open space and dump it out.

Or you could find a friend less terrified of snakes to pick it up.  Most snakes you'd find around the home are easily moved.

In the US, all venomous snakes are pit vipers or coral snakes.  Pit vipers have a triangular head, and what appear to be nostrils.  Coral snakes have a distinct color pattern.  Image searches can help you identify the difference.

http://www.wildlife-removal.com/snakepoisonous.html

Jane Dough

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Re: There's a snake in my basement
« Reply #18 on: May 13, 2019, 05:15:14 PM »
Snakes have very sensitive bellies, and we plugged our snake hole with a Brillo pad we pulled apart and spread around and into the hole. I have heard of people using broken glass but we decided the Brillo pad was a better choice. It worked.

Gremlin

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Re: There's a snake in my basement
« Reply #19 on: May 13, 2019, 05:43:08 PM »
I'm an Aussie.  We have some of the deadliest snakes in the world native in our neighbourhood.  The idea of DIY-ing it scares the shit out of me, even if I'm "pretty sure it's not venomous". 

Buffaloski Boris

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Re: There's a snake in my basement
« Reply #20 on: May 13, 2019, 06:13:14 PM »
Well, obviously you have to burn the house down.

I'm sorry, there's just clearly no other option.

No. Nuke it from space. Itís the only way to be sure.

Malcat

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Re: There's a snake in my basement
« Reply #21 on: May 13, 2019, 06:45:33 PM »
Well, obviously you have to burn the house down.

I'm sorry, there's just clearly no other option.

No. Nuke it from space. Itís the only way to be sure.

I don't know any fucking astronauts!!!! I have matches and gasoline, that's all I have!!!

PatronWizard11

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Re: There's a snake in my basement
« Reply #22 on: May 13, 2019, 07:17:35 PM »
at least it's not in your boot

Duchess of Stratosphear

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Re: There's a snake in my basement
« Reply #23 on: June 04, 2019, 02:04:42 PM »
Here's an update:

There were actually (at least) two snakes down there. I went down and saw them writhing around in between the ceiling joists where there is some fiberglass insulation in the boiler room. I heard them before I saw them, so they didn't freak me out quite so badly this time. I snapped a picture actually. They slithered over and down behind some blue board along the back wall. After some googling, I called the state Wildlife Help Line and talked to a wildlife biologist who made me feel much better about this whole situation (although I'm still not sure I'll ever sleep down there again). She identified them from the picture as rat/black snakes and said they won't stay in there forever because they need sun to process calcium and regulate temperature. Now that the days have warmed up, I haven't seen any sign of them. Of course, winter is coming, so maybe the snakes will come back too? Hopefully they'll find a nice place to hibernate or whatever they do outside over the winter. I don't know how they're getting in, and I imagine I could spend the rest of my life trying to plug all the potential entrances. If they eat the mice and don't scare me, I guess I can live with the possibility that they are down there. Crazy, I know. I can't even believe I'm saying this.

But I am never going to Australia: https://www.australiangeographic.com.au/topics/science-environment/2012/07/australias-10-most-dangerous-snakes/

GuitarStv

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Re: There's a snake in my basement
« Reply #24 on: June 04, 2019, 02:19:40 PM »
Most snakes are harmless.  Pick it up gently with one hand behind the head and one hand somewhere in the middle of the body, walk it outdoors, and release it.  Snakes can worm through holes then drop into basements and get stuck.  If you wait until they're cold they'll move much more slowly.

It's worth spending the time to go around plug all the holes/cracks into your home.  This should be something you do and check on a couple times a year.  Not for snakes, but because mice will get it.  Mice are much worse than snakes.  They crap everywhere they walk, the breed like crazy, carry diseases/parasites, and will chew and damage all kinds of stuff.

  - Had a summer job in pest control

Gremlin

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Re: There's a snake in my basement
« Reply #25 on: June 04, 2019, 07:18:16 PM »
But I am never going to Australia: https://www.australiangeographic.com.au/topics/science-environment/2012/07/australias-10-most-dangerous-snakes/

As an Aussie, I would hasten to say that most tourists fret about our snakes more than is necessary.  Please come and experience our beautiful country.  You generally shouldn't be worried about our snakes as you almost certainly won't see one.  If you do, there's a simple rule.  DON'T TOUCH THEM!  Same goes for our spiders, jellyfish, crocs, sharks and drop bears.

I still wouldn't DIY a snake removal here though nor would I let it remain in my house, but I'm happy you've found a working solution...

Trifele

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Re: There's a snake in my basement
« Reply #26 on: July 18, 2019, 10:51:01 AM »
I posted above about how we are renovating our old farmhouse, and as we tightened the house up and had fewer mice, we saw fewer and fewer black rat snakes. Their food was gone so most of them have moved on.

Well we found this guy/gal in our garage today, in a box on a high shelf.  I believe this is a copperhead (poisonous), the first one we've seen since we bought our place three years ago.  I guess it crawled in the open garage door(?)  Maybe not a coincidence that we are seeing it now, for the first time, since black rat snakes eat copperheads.   Now that most of our big black rat snake friends have left our house and yard, maybe we will be seeing more of these little guys. 

This snake was quite calm and docile, btw, and we simply carried the box away from the house and tipped it on its side.  S/he slowly crawled out and away.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2019, 11:06:23 AM by Trifele »

wenchsenior

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Re: There's a snake in my basement
« Reply #27 on: July 18, 2019, 12:03:47 PM »
I posted above about how we are renovating our old farmhouse, and as we tightened the house up and had fewer mice, we saw fewer and fewer black rat snakes. Their food was gone so most of them have moved on.

Well we found this guy/gal in our garage today, in a box on a high shelf.  I believe this is a copperhead (poisonous), the first one we've seen since we bought our place three years ago.  I guess it crawled in the open garage door(?)  Maybe not a coincidence that we are seeing it now, for the first time, since black rat snakes eat copperheads.   Now that most of our big black rat snake friends have left our house and yard, maybe we will be seeing more of these little guys. 

This snake was quite calm and docile, btw, and we simply carried the box away from the house and tipped it on its side.  S/he slowly crawled out and away.




Oooo, pretty!

ericrugiero

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Re: There's a snake in my basement
« Reply #28 on: July 18, 2019, 02:34:33 PM »
I would kill the copperhead.  Non-venomous snakes I leave alone if they are outside.  If I saw one inside I would move it outside if I could catch it. 

I saw a black snake a couple times about a week ago.  They are good to have around because they kill mice.   

TrMama

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Re: There's a snake in my basement
« Reply #29 on: July 18, 2019, 02:54:56 PM »
Well, now you know they're not poisonous the next time you see them you can just pick them up (right behind the head so you don't get bitten) and take them outside. No big deal. The writhing you saw them doing was probably mating. They're starting a family!

Source: I grew up in an area with timber rattlers, bull snakes and garter snakes. We used to play with any garter or bull snake that came within reach. Totally harmless child's play. My parents used to kill any rattlesnake they could, but knowing what I know now (they're endangered), I wouldn't kill any snake.

We once had a rattler come in the house. That was exciting!