When it comes to the level of headaches they can cause, bathrooms are typically near the top of the list for homeowners. From sudden leaks, seemingly endless problems with mold or mildew, or other potentially serious safety hazards, they present a unique set of challenges rarely found in other parts of the house. But when it comes to unwanted animal and insect visitors, they can also be the space a particular slithering intruder decides to hide out. Read on to see what could be a sign there’s a snake somewhere in your bathroom.
To most people, the idea of a snake suddenly peaking its head out of a drain, faucet, or toilet sounds like something out of a horror movie. Unfortunately, well-documented incidents have proven that this scenario isn’t limited to fiction.
According to experts at home improvement website Angi, this has to do with the plumbing layout of many homes, many of which use stack pipes that run from the sewer up to the roof to vent gas. Since ventilation pipes are dry and directly connect to drain pipes that run from toilets, dishwashers, bathtubs, and sinks, they provide a relatively easy access route into homes. In many cases, snakes enter rooftop vents searching for a meal before becoming lost and eventually ending up in your shower or toilet bowl.
Even if you manage to avoid the traumatic experience of coming across a snake when you least expect it, there’s still a chance the reptiles can go relatively unnoticed in your bathroom after they’ve made their way inside. But according to experts, they do leave behind signs that they’re slithering about your washroom.
According to Ray Mitchell from Mitchell Pest Services, noticing that “toilet paper has been chewed on or shredded” could be a red flag that a snake has made its way into your bathroom—especially if the roll doesn’t look like there are usual tear marks on it. And while it might seem like a careless mess left behind by a family member or roommate, Mitchell adds that finding water randomly spilled on the floor could be a sign of reptile activity. This happens when snakes enter through drains or toilets and leave a trail of wetness behind them.
Of course, there are also other signs of snake activity in your bathroom that might be harder to mistake for something else. Mitchell says that finding anything that resembles droppings near the toilet or in the bathtub can be a dead giveaway of their presence since the plumbing and tight spaces in those areas provide a perfect place for them to hide relatively undisturbed. According to experts at Terminix, snake excrement typically looks like “thick, pasty, dark-brown smears” with a chalky white tip at one end. They may even contain traces of prey such as bone fragments and hair.
As with any pest problem, experts advise that prevention is always a more straightforward tactic than removal. If you’re concerned that snakes may be making their way inside through your plumbing, Mitchell suggests pouring a cup of bleach down the drain once a week to get rid of any eggs that may have been laid in the pipes or near a sewer connection. More importantly, he suggests putting a screen over any vent openings in your home’s plumbing to ensure that snakes are kept out—and other animals, for that matter.
Besides that, experts point out that doing regular inspections of your home’s perimeter to spot any problem areas can help keep reptiles, rodents, and more outdoors where they belong. “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.”
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