Snakes don't need much space to find their way to the wrong side of your home–the inside, that is. Once one gets in, the options are as endless as the number of rooms in your residence. But experts tell us that a slithering visitor is quite likely to stop exploring upon reaching your laundry room—and, once there, find plenty of cozy places to lay low. Keep reading to find out why a snake might be scoping out your laundry room this very minute and the number-one way to tell if one has made themselves at home.
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What attracts snakes to laundry rooms?
Snakes can wriggle through a tiny space, and they often use vents for said wriggling. But even if their entry point isn't directly into your laundry room, they could still very well end up there.
"Snakes are ectothermic, which means they rely on the environment to regulate their body temperature," explains Georgina Ushi Phillips, DVM, advising veterinarian and writer for The Reptile Room. "The laundry room is a great place not only for keeping cool on summer days (since it's usually in a dark and cool part of the house) but also a great spot on cooler days thanks to the dryer."
Another reason is that snakes love any place that's hidden and not frequently disturbed. "Snakes enjoy hiding in dark, damp, and quiet areas such as closets, typically concealing beneath boxes, bags, or heaps of clothing if left alone for a long time," says Mark Valderrama, CEO and founder of the Aquarium Store Depot.
Do this to keep them out.
This is where we nag you to do the laundry. Snakes love a big, undisturbed pile of dirty clothes. The longer they've been sitting there, the better.
And as with any critters, head off a home invasion by barring points of entry. "Check for holes or gaps in doors and windows that a snake could fit through," advises Jennifer Mecham, snake expert and writer with Reptiles Blog. "These openings could be cracks in the foundation, gaps around doors or windows, or holes in the walls." And don't forget any vents that open outside.
READ THIS NEXT: The No. 1 Way to Keep Snakes From Getting in Through Your Toilet.
But here's the main way to know if one got in.
It's pretty much a tie between the top two giveaways, depending on whom you ask. Take your pick: Snake poop or snake skin (tough choice, we know).
According to Phillips, the former is a better indicator, though both are worth considering. "Snakes shed their old skin as they grow, so finding an old shed (which looks like dead skin roughly in the shape of a snake) is a good sign that there may be a snake in your laundry room."
However, Phillips adds that some snakes only shed four times a year, so it may not be the most reliable clue. "Finding snake feces is a clear sign that there's a snake in your laundry room," she says.
Unsure of what, exactly, you should be looking for? "You can tell snake poop from mouse poop, for example, since it has a lot of white in it," notes Charles van Rees, conservation scientist and editor-in-chief of Gulo in Nature.
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And here are some other signs.
There are a few other signs that a snake might be lurking behind those boxes of detergent and surplus toilet paper.
"Since snakes are most likely to enter through a vent or crack in the house, they're likely to be pretty dusty by the time they make it to the laundry room," says Phillips. "Look for snake tracks (which look just like you'd imagine) of dust or dirt." Or, if your laundry happens to be dusty in its own right, you may see snake tracks within the dust.
Hissing is another telltale sign. "If you hear this sound, look around and see if you can spot the snake before taking any further action," cautions Mecham.
And, finally, according to van Rees, your dog will certainly be able to smell a snake. If your pet starts acting funny in the laundry room, pay attention to where they might be directing their sniffer.
But above all, Mecham advises us to trust our instincts and call a professional if a snake is present. "If you're uncertain whether or not there's a snake in your laundry room, it's probably best to err on the side of caution and assume that there is."