Your lawn is a sanctuary you happen to share with nature. But while the layout of your flower beds and the look of your lawn may be entirely up to you, the animals that choose to come and visit are ultimately not. And if you’re keeping your eyes peeled for a potential snake in your yard, experts say there’s one piece of evidence that can be a dead giveaway. Read on to see how you can tell there’s a slithering visitor on your property.
READ THIS NEXT: 5 Things in Your Yard That Are Bringing Snakes to Your Home.
Coming across a literal “snake in the grass” while doing yard work can be scary, especially for anyone with a deep fear of slithering animals. But even though the idea of snakes nearby may be unsettling, experts point out that they actually provide a wide range of benefits, posing no harm to grass or plant life while preying upon pests such as mice, toads, slugs, grasshoppers, and rats that can take a toll on your greenery.
“Snakes tend to get a bad rap from homeowners, but not all snakes are dangerous or even bad to have around your yard,” Burns Blackwell, owner of Terminix Triad in North Carolina, tells Best Life. “That being said, you do want to know when you have snakes around your property so you can keep your family and pets safe.”
As naturally silent and shy creatures, you may live right alongside snakes for a long time before ever realizing they’re even there. But even though they tend to do very little to disturb their surroundings, experts say there is still one specific piece of evidence that one is slithering nearby.
“A common sign that you have a snake infestation is finding snakeskin around your property,” Toby Cahoon from B&T Pest Control tells Best Life. “They shed their skin as they grow, so finding old skin around is a good sign that they’re currently living in your yard.”
Others point out that you’re more likely to find evidence of a snake’s presence in certain areas. “Snakes shed their skin about once every two months,” Blackwell tells Best Life. “Most often, they will rub against trees and shrubs to help remove [it].”
For more up-to-date information, sign up for our
A common misconception is that noticing small holes in the dirt can be a sign that snakes have moved in—especially if you happen to catch sight of one slithering its way inside one to hide. But according to experts, they’re not the ones responsible for digging up your lawn.
“Snakes generally can’t make their own nests because they don’t have paws and they don’t have the mental capacity to create nests. But they will take over old rodent nests as well as use underground burrows and holes,” Blackwell tells Best Life. “Snake holes are hard to identify because they often use leftover mole or vole holes, so you should look for snakeskin in and around these holes to identify that it’s home to a snake and not a mole.”
But it’s not just shed skin that can tip you off to a snake’s presence. Even though they don’t have feet, snakes do leave tracks on the ground you may notice in grass or loose dirt. Blackwell advises being on the lookout for a side-winding pattern, saying: “Because most snakes move in a very unique and distinct way, it actually makes them a bit easier to identify their trails and where they’ve been traveling on your property.”
And like any other visiting animal, certain types of droppings can also be surefire evidence that snakes are around. According to experts at Terminix, they typically look like “thick, pasty, dark-brown smears” with a chalky white tip at one end or can contain traces of prey such as bone fragments and hair.
READ THIS NEXT: If You’re Not Cleaning This Room, You’re Inviting Snakes to Your Home.