10 Must-Know Facts About Snakes — Read to Stay Safe!

Black snake on ground
Black snakes are nonpoisonous and often found in yards and gardens.

During spring and fall, temperatures are perfect for snakes to be out and about during the day. Not too cold, not too hot, just right for startling unsuspecting gardeners who are also outside taking advantage of the pleasant weather. During the summer, you need to watch out for snakes more in the early morning and at night, but they’re likely to be hidden away someplace dark and cool during the heat of the day.

While most snakes are nonpoisonous and tend to avoid contact with people when given the chance, they can still give quite a scare. The best way to avoid trouble with snakes is to understand their habits and how to avoid close contact with them.

Follow these tips:

Rattlesnake ready to strike
Rattlesnake ready to strike!

1. Avoid Snake Habitat: In general, snakes hang out in damp, cool, protected areas. Watch out for them around rocky streams, wooded areas, retaining walls, garages, or anyplace around your house where there might be cave like conditions. Keep debris and wood piles far away from your house, and screen off underneath porches and crawl spaces to keep snakes out.

2. Watering Attracts Snakes: If you keep your lawn and garden well irrigated, you’re more likely to attract frogs, lizards, birds, and rodents which attract snakes. Well-watered, mulched areas (such as shrub beds and vegetable gardens) also offer cool shelter for snakes in summer, so be careful when walking or working in these areas.

Garter snake on ground
Harmless garter snake.

3. Control Rodents: Snakes eat rodents, small reptiles, and birds. To minimize snakes around your house, keep bird feeders and nesting boxes away from the house, and work to reduce the rodent population.

4. Know Where to Find Snakes: On hot days especially, watch out for snakes in shady, cool areas – such as under your car or beneath piles of wood or debris. On cold days, expect to find snakes warming themselves in the sun, on a warm rock, or even a driveway or car engine. On perfect spring and fall days, keep an eye out most anywhere!

Copperhead snake
Poisonous copperhead snake.

5. Understand Snake Temperament: Snakes are rather sluggish in early spring when they first come out of hibernation, and in late fall when they’re getting ready to sleep again. During these times, they may be too inactive to move out of the way or warn you before striking. During warmer months snakes are more active and fast-moving, so you may get more warning before they strike, but they can also be more energetic and aggressive.

6. Lift Carefully: When lifting something off the ground that could have a snake underneath, use a pole, and lift it toward you, so that the object will be between you and the snake. If you lift it away from you, the snake – if there is one – is more likely to run over your foot!

King snake
Nonvenomous king snake.

7. Don’t Tiptoe: Snakes don’t hear very well, but they’re great at picking up vibrations. Make plenty of noise when hiking or working outdoors, so that neither of you is startled.

8. Stay Vigilant: Watch where you walk and reach, especially in areas with rocks or crevices.

9. Remain on the Beaten Path: When walking outdoors, stick to open paths and steer clear of overgrown areas or fallen logs.

10. Respect Snakes Space: If you see a snake, don’t panic; just slowly move away. Don’t try to make the snake move; if it’s in your way, simply wait for the snake to leave. Snakes will move on once they’ve exhausted the food source, so unless you have a never-ending rodent population, they’re likely not to hang around your yard forever.

Further Information


  1. I have a black snake caught in some netting I use to put around my tomato plants to keep the birds from eating them. The netting is on the ground and the snake is stuck in it. what should I do?

  2. I found a snake of about 12 inch inside my living room. We are 5 adult & 3 kids, and we all scared and become so depressed. From our home we lived in almost save area in Glendale, AZ.

  3. My brother killed a brown and black colured snake near a sofa in our living room early this morning. Wonder how it ever got there?

  4. We have had a snake to get into our bathroom in 1 home and the livingroom in another home. We finally bought a home a home, and there we killed 1 chicken snake and 2 cooperheads and seen water moccasin in our pond.

  5. I was mowing & clearing some brush quite a ways away from the house on my property. It was sort of a wooded area. Well, I had to go to the bathroom so I squatted down in a clearing with my backside against the brush area. When I stood up and pulled my pants together, guess what? just a few inches away was a pretty good size snake with a great big lump in him. and he was in no hurry to go anywhere. This was in September. I guess he was digesting some prey so you can imagine my surprise. I keep my eyes open now, and I’m thankful I didn’t get bit in the butt!

  6. Came home from grocery shopping, my son said mum why is there a snake on the stove? Used tongs to grab it by the head took it outside and dispatched it. No idea how it got in

  7. OMG, I really hate snakes! I am always on the look out no matter where I am, a habit of having grown up camping and rock hunting from Canada to Florida. I was bitten by a 6 foot rat snake in Florida and became very ill, they say from the bacteria in the snakes mouth. So I am more nervous about snakes than I ever was! Recently we bought a newly renovated home in a wooded park land area of Maryland. Two snakes have shown up on my deck railing and I am afraid that they nested underneath. I should have known they would find me…lol…actually I may have to stop feeding the birds and clean up more of the leaves and wood piles from fallen trees near the house.

  8. I had a snake stuck in some knitting once. I just watched him and he finally wiggled his way out. I wasn’t touching Him!

  9. Hi this year April 2017, my maid saw a medium sized black snake entering my garage while I was inside the house. unfortunately we looked for it but it was nowhere to be found. we slept without knowing whether it went out or not till today but I managed to buy poisoning tablets to use for weeks in the garage which has many things inside. up to this far we don’t know whether its gone or dead inside.

  10. Yesterday and took a break from what I was doing and went outside to empty some bags of mulch and bark that I needed to spread. As I emptied a bag of bark by shaking it, a snake fell out. If I had something other than bark in my hand, I would have killed it. I don’t care how helpful the snake is. If I have a heart attack from the sudden appearance of a snake in my house, it wouldn’t be helpful to me. I can keep my rodents down with a good exterminator, which I already do. I also found the skin of a brown snake about a month ago, which I hope has moved on because of lack of food. I hope the snake yesterday moves on too.

  11. I have very serious phobia of snakes. I bought a piece of land on a hill near Kafue River in Zambia. The hill has a lot of rocks which we have started to remove but the challenge is where to throw the rocks. Our damping sites don’t allow rubbles. If I have to heap them I will be creating another haven for the snakes. What can I do?

  12. I grew up in the country and what we would do is mix kerosene and oil any kind mix together and spray the out side of your fence under and about a foot out the fence line. It also keeps weeds down.

  13. I had a lovely large kingsnake in my Georgia garden today. Took some photos and let him go on his way. Hope he stays around, he may be the same visitor from last two years.

  14. Say what they will i am not a fan of snakes have had encounters with cobras but bitten by many kinds of snakes including small nest pit of Birmingham Alabama rattle snakes and texas rattle snakes but me back for two weeks of bed rest.bit on left foot while mowing a few years back and still to the day have some good days and some bad ones where body bones muscles eyes blood bows head hurt and hearing.some say best snake dead or far away dead.my nephew just ask me last week uncle what does a snake bit feel like i told him it pains me to the day and some people dont make it threw it but he has so much to live so young.it hurt s some that at times like tattoo .like getting knifed or shot after a bit the pain goes.umfeeling but know tou got to do something.hopeing preying your life doesnt end and thinking what shape is it going to leave me in but i fear not.death just those left behind and those undone deeds dont wait to last moments to be right with who or what you believe in.at times i was told.return to fight.another day but at timea instead of leaveing from heavy shooting go towards to make it stop at any cost .know.if its m for me to die go out giveing it my all.but no place for heroes they say a smart one is alive one .but i told not all that to my nephew somerhing he meed not know soul that i love.him ans them all.but for you all sometimes the scary of snake seema worst thwn bit on the heart and nervous but some that instinct of them or me ans for scarring me you die but to be safe but usually when i get shook up or jumpy i call it a day or do something else.

  15. I had a four foot rattlesnake get in my air vent in my bathroom about ten feet from my bed. I made some calls and the fire dept was going to come but by then it was nine pm and he stopped rattling. I told them I put a dictionary on top of the vent so he cant lift it up and Im going to bed and would call them in the morning. In the morning he or she wasnt there. I know its the snake that lives under my house by the welcome mat…Ive stepped on him twice barefoot. They cant help being born a snake and to hate a snake because it is a snake is ridiculous. Sounds like a bunch of sissy girls here. Im a female and I love snakes, tarantulas and spiders in general. I live by myself out in the desert and I figured if you cant handle wildlife go get yourself an apartment with a big screen tv and lock your doors. Youll find me outside checking out the wildlife and happy they are here. I just have to snakeproof my chicken pen because I dont want my babies to become a statistic.

  16. I have a black snake living in a bird house. Of course he ate a ll the eggs in there. I am tempted to just let him stay, but it seems like my birds don’t come around as much. Can she lay eggs in there? What should I do? Should I just let her be, or should I release her- I would never kill her.

    • Hi, Crystal,

      When dealing with creatures of all shapes and sizes, we recommend checking with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service office in your area.

      Codes vary based on geography, and Fish & Wildlife staffers will know the best way to balance a homeowner’s and creature’s best interest.

      Good luck!

    • Hi, Crystal,

      When dealing with creatures of all shapes and sizes, we recommend checking with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service office in your area.

      Good luck!

  17. I was on our back deck of a recently purchased seasonal home on the east branch of fhe Delaware.. When the sun heated up, ring neck black snakes -4 of them-started carefully exiting one at a time, out of the soffit ( sp?) and dropping 8 ft to the ground. 4 garters and a milk snake peeked out-one atop the other, but retreated – dont know where they stayed. It was like an Indiana Jones movie. Creepy but I still stayed at the house.

  18. You will ALWAYS have snakes in Florida if you have a garden. They are harmless just leave them alone and they’ll wind up leaving as they are just passing through .

  19. A brown garden snake has been eating my Himalayan maiden hair fern and another potted pant. Is this normal or strange? Caught it eating it. It is destroying my plants. How do I get rid of it?

  20. We have a milk snake that took residence in our outdoor shower. They will bite so until we find a way to keep snakes from going in there none of us will want to take a nice outdoor shower. Does anyone know how to snake proof the shower – maybe mesh on the floor?

  21. My cousin thinks a poisonous snake has snuck its way into his garage and he asked me to come over and remove it. But, yeah, I think it would be a good idea for him to hire a professional for that job. We both don’t to get bitten!

  22. My wife was breaking up some soil next to screened porch with a spade .She hates snakes so that 12 ln. ribbon snake never had a chance.you ever heard of overkill .Screaming I got it I got it ! I had to go take a look.You would have thought she had slayed a fire breathing dragon .I ask her where ? In the bucket .So I looked in the bucket ,but there wasn’t one snake in the bucket there was 5 snakes in the bucket ,1 chopped up snake and 4 of the cutest lite brown 2 in. long baby snakes . I;m no expert on snakes and l always thought snakes came from eggs so I had to do some research . from what i found out snakes that can protect their self when first born dont come from egg and the ones that lay eggs .do so and get sway from the nest to not draw attention to the eggs . Man these 5 minute old snakes were aggressive . I poked at them with a twig and they were striking at it over and over again. It was real cool. As i walked off I tipped the bucket on its side and off in the grass they went. The next morning I blamed the bucket tipping on my Lab Lu sssshhhhhh he is always getting in trouble .My wife really hates snakes and if she knew I set them free I would be out in Lu’s house. Just another day in Louisiana

    • Great story! Thanks for sharing it with our audience, Joe. (And we won’t tell your wife that Lu didn’t do it.)

  23. So the caption about black snakes being nonpoisonous seems like a pretty dangerous thing to tell people. In some areas like West Tennessee, there are water moccasins, which are very poisonous and almost always solid black. There’s also a black rattlesnake, but you don’t see them as much around here.
    Obviously other places don’t have those, but trust me: there are venomous black snakes.


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