There are 50 different species of snakes living in the United States, from mild-mannered garter snakes you might find in your yard to venomous copperheads. It's not just out in the wild that you'll encounter these often frightening animals, though—they can, and frequently will, take up residence in your home if they're given the opportunity to do so. If you don't want to encounter a slithering surprise in your space, read on to find out what could be attracting snakes to your home, according to experts.
You may think the mice in your house are a pain, but they're nothing compared to the snakes they may be attracting.
"Many species of snakes seek rodents for food, and if you have rodents living in your attic or property, it is very possible for snakes to be present, too," says Adrienne Vosseler of Trutech Wildlife Service and Critter Control Operations.
Even if you don't have mice, "Search for food like bird eggs, baby birds, frogs, lizards, and other smaller amphibians, which can also be an attractant for snakes," says Vosseler.
For more pest prevention news delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter!
Those leaf piles are doing more than making your yard look messy—they could be providing the perfect cover for snakes to make their way into your home, especially if they're near your foundation.
"Leaf piles and hedge trimmings provide camouflage for snakes, which allows a space for to hide from predators," explains Vosseler.
Using stones in your landscaping may give your home some aesthetic appeal, but if those rocks are directly against your house, it may also make your space more attractive to snakes.
"If you need a wood or rock pile, keep it far from your house so animals won't be tempted to sneak into your home while they are hiding out," Nancy Troyano, PhD, a board-certified entomologist with Ehrlich Pest Control.
"Be cautious reaching into those piles," she cautions. "You never know what you'll stumble upon."
Maybe you thought that shrubbery surrounding your home would help draw the eye away from the less than stellar paint job on your foundation, or maybe you just think it adds some much-needed color to your space. However, regardless of why you planted it, that dense vegetation provides the perfect cover for snakes.
"Tall grass and unruly shrubs attract rodents, as well as providing great coverage for snakes. These places are secluded, which allows snakes the ability to hide from predators and allows them to hide while hunting for food," says Troyano, who notes that unmanaged plant roots can also create cracks in a foundation that allow snakes access to your space.
Gaps in your home's foundation
If you've been waiting to re-caulk those gaps around your window frames or fixing the cracks in your foundation, there's no time like the present to reconsider.
"Snakes can get into your home through a gap the size of a pencil," says Troyano. "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."
You may have purchased that bird bath to attract birds, but you may find that it draws a less welcome kind of wildlife instead.
"Snakes do need water to survive, so if you have an easily accessible birdbath in the garden, chances are that you'll attract snakes," says Natalie Barrett, a pest control expert with Nifty Pest Control.