Coming across a snake in nature can be a startling experience, especially in your own yard. But it’s an entirely different type of encounter when you happen to find one inside your house. Unfortunately, crossing paths with a snake in your home may be more likely than you think, as there are a number of ways these crafty critters can find their way in. Read on to find out the different sneaky ways experts say snakes can wind up entering your home.
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Certain wear-and-tear repairs on your home such as leaky roofs can be impossible to miss and prioritize fixing. But if you’re looking to keep unwanted visitors out, you should also be focusing at least some of your attention downwards on your foundation.
“Snakes can get into your home through a gap the size of a pencil,” says Nancy Troyano, PhD, a board-certified entomologist with Ehrlich Pest Control. “It’s important to close up any holes, cracks, or crevices in the home, especially near the crawl space. Drainage areas are a perfect entry point for snakes.”
The whole point of a door or window is that it’s supposed to limit what comes into your home. But experts warn that seemingly tiny gaps in your entryway can provide all the space a snake needs to make its way inside. Paul Osborne, owner of All Creatures Wildlife Services in Tennessee, told NBC-affiliate WBIR that this is especially true of garage doors, which can sometimes fail to seal correctly and allow the cold-blooded creatures to enter in search of warmth or food.
To avoid welcoming in any snakes, inspect your home for any gaps and install a door sweep or caulk any gaps closed. And it should go without saying that leaving your doors wide open can also act as an open invitation for anyone to slither in, so make sure to keep garage and screen doors closed tight—unless you’re trying to welcome much more than a cross breeze into your house.
We’ve all heard the urban legend about the unlucky homeowner who goes to use the toilet in the middle of the night only to find a snake awaiting them when they lift the lid. But while it can be easy to write such events off as hearsay, experts unfortunately point out that it’s not an entirely implausible scenario.
The reason has to do with the way plumbing works in homes, which often uses stack pipes that run all the way up from the sewer and through the roof to vent gas, per home improvement website Angi. These ventilation pipes are often dry and attach to drainage pipes connected to toilets, sinks, showers, and dishwashers. In some cases, snakes can enter the plumbing—sometimes in search of rodents—and become disoriented before finding their way out into your toilet bowl.
Angi suggests cutting back tree branches that might allow snakes to climb onto your roof and enter the ventilation pipes to avoid any traumatic surprises. You can also make sure any openings are sealed with a screen to prevent anything from getting into your plumbing.
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In most homes, exterior walls are made of flush, solid concrete at the base and sturdy drywall and wood above it. But the points where external hardware such as gas and plumbing lines enter the house can provide an unintentional entry point for pests.
“If your home has gas lines coming into your home, these pipes have to travel from outside your home through your foundation or exterior wall,” David Floyd, owner of ThePestInformer, tells Best Life. “This can sometimes mean there are small gaps between the pipe and the foundation of your home,” which can leave enough space for snakes to make their way indoors.
Your home’s subterranean level may provide that extra storage space you need, but it could also be granting entry to snakes who find their way indoors through gaps, cracks, or holes.
“In order to prevent visits from our resident reptiles, you’ll need to seal up that basement,” Andrew Christopher, owner of Western Mass Wildlife Removal, previously told Best Life. “Common entry points are leaky or open windows, rotted sills, and drafty bulkheads.”
By their very design, vents work by allowing the passage of air into or out of your home to keep things cool or warm as needed. But experts warn that animals can sometimes use these typically one-way corridors to work their way indoors—including snakes.
Appliances such as dryers and air conditioners can provide an accessible entryway into houses, especially if they’re left open or their guard mechanism isn’t up to snuff. “They can get through pretty much anything that is general ease of access,” Patrick O’Briant from Tennessee-based pest control services company Critter Wranglers told WBIR. “Everyone knows snakes don’t have hands. If they can push it, they’ll push it to get into a place,” adding that he’s found the reptiles in customers’ dryers after they’ve chased a rodent in through a vent.
If you’re concerned, do a seasonal inspection of your home’s venting and climate control inlets and outlets to ensure they’re adequately covered.
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