If you’ve found a snake in your home, you’re probably wondering if it will slither away on its own or if you need to take action to remove it. Snakes entering homes is not uncommon, especially in rural areas. While startling, a surprise snake encounter doesn’t need to be cause for panic.

Read on to learn whether that uninvited serpent will leave your house voluntarily and what you should do if not.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: While not impossible, it’s unlikely a snake will be able to find its way out of a home on its own. Most often, human intervention is required to safely capture and remove unwanted snakes that find their way indoors.

Snakes Typically Enter Homes by Mistake

Attracted by Food Sources

Snakes often end up in houses by accident while out searching for food. They pick up scents of small rodents or insects inside walls, basements, attics or crawl spaces and simply follow the trail inside.

According to wildlife experts, over 75% of snake intrusions into homes start with the reptile catching a whiff of a potential meal. Once inside, the confused serpent likely realizes the prey scent originated somewhere inaccessible.

But now the snake finds itself lost amid strange, foreign surroundings.

With over 3,500 species globally, snakes consume varied diets (National Geographic). Rat snakes pursue rodents; garter snakes eat frogs and earthworms. Kingsnakes even feast on other snakes! This wide diversity of food preferences compels snakes to investigate an array of possible meal sources.

Unfortunately, that investigative nature sometimes leads them astray into houses, especially older homes with plenty of entry points.

Seeking Shelter

In addition to food, snakes also enter houses when searching for shelter. Reptiles are ectothermic, meaning they rely on external heat to regulate body temperature. A nice, insulated human dwelling provides warmth snakes simply can’t refuse!

Places like heat vents, insulation in walls, and dark spaces under appliances offer prime real estate for a wayfaring snake in need of a comfy place to hunker down.

Springtime especially sees a spike in snake shelter-seeking. Emerging from brumation after winter ends, snakes actively forage for food and scout safe havens to digest meals. With famished snakes on the prowl earlier than usual due to climate change, UCLA researchers note considerably more snake-human run-ins happening in recent years as well.

So if you spot an uninvited guest snake this spring, understand it likely entered simply seeking refuge from the elements in your pleasant home!

Snakes Have a Hard Time Navigating Inside

Lack of Scent Trail

Snakes primarily rely on their sense of smell and their tongue’s ability to pick up chemical cues to find their way around. They constantly flicker their forked tongues to collect scent particles from the air and ground to determine their path.

However, these chemical trails leading outside become diffused inside human dwellings with all the unfamiliar smells (like laundry detergent, food odors, humans and pets). Without a clear scent path to follow, snakes can become disoriented inside a home.

University of Florida herpetologist associate professor Steve A. Johnson highlights, “Snakes use their forked tongues to collect airborne particles and drop them into very sensitive smelling organs in the roof of their mouths. They normally follow scent trails left by prey or mates.

Once these chemical trails become confused inside a home, the snake loses its compass.”

Unfamiliar Surfaces and Obstacles

In the wild, snakes are highly adapted to moving stealthily over dirt, rocks, grass, tree branches etc. But the modern human home presents a maze of unfamiliar smooth floors, carpets, steps, furniture and appliances which hinder the snake’s movement.

Smooth surfaces like tiles, linoleum, finished wood or vinyl provide very little traction for a snake to grip onto. And deep plush carpets can fully engulf and entangle the snake. University of Florida wildlife ecology professor Darrel Frost remarks, “A snake moving across a slick surface is like a person trying to walk across a sheet of ice in socks.

It is nearly impossible for them to get grip and traction.”

Stairs and elevation changes also barr the snake’s path unlike their natural flat habitats. And clutter from furniture and appliances impedes their ability to squeeze through tight corners. Darrel explains, “All these obstacles leave the snake exhausted and stressed.

It will search for the nearest small dark hiding spot to recover before attempting to explore further.”

Methods for Removing Snakes from Your Home

Professional Removal

Calling a professional snake removal company is often the safest and most effective way to get rid of snakes that have invaded your home. Snake removal experts have the proper tools, experience, and know-how to humanely and efficiently extract snakes from difficult locations.

Here are some key advantages of professional snake removal:

  • Proper equipment – Snake removal professionals use special tools like snake tongs, hooks, and secure containers to safely capture and relocate snakes.
  • Snake identification skills – They can accurately identify whether a snake is venomous or nonvenomous, which determines the removal approach.
  • Access to hard-to-reach areas – They can remove snakes from crawl spaces, attics, basements, and other areas that may be dangerous or inaccessible to homeowners.
  • Humane techniques – Responsible companies use gentle control techniques to minimize stress and injury to snakes during removal.
  • Adherence to laws – Licensed wildlife removal experts follow regulations regarding the handling and relocation of snakes.

Hiring a professional snake catcher may cost between $75 and $250 on average, depending on your location and the complexity of the job. This modest investment helps ensure the snake is properly extricated and prevented from returning or posing ongoing risks in your neighborhood.

DIY Removal

For homeowners comfortable dealing with snakes, it is possible to remove small, nonvenomous snakes from your house yourself. Here are some tips for safe and effective DIY snake removal:

  • Identify the snake – Use guidebooks or websites to confirm the species before attempting removal. Leave venomous snakes to experts.
  • Use proper tools – A long stick or snake hook allows you to keep a safe distance. Have a pillowcase or bucket ready to contain the snake.
  • Look for entry points – Check areas like small cracks in foundations, gaps around pipes, torn window screens, or holes in siding. Seal openings after removal.
  • Create barriers – Sprinkle flour in crawl spaces to see snake tracks. Apply snake repellents around the perimeter of your home.
  • Remove food sources – Secure trash, eliminate rodents, and remove bird feeders or debris that attract snakes.

When grabbing a snake, avoid the head and let it wrap around the stick. Then gently place it into a sealable bucket for transport and release at least 5 miles from your home into a suitable habitat. Never pick up venomous snakes – it’s safest to let professionals handle these dangerous species.

Preventing Future Snake Encounters

Seal Up Entry Points

Snakes can enter homes through small cracks and holes, so sealing up potential entry points is crucial to keeping snakes out. Here are some tips for snake-proofing your home:

  • Install weather stripping around doors and windows to seal gaps snakes can slither through.
  • Caulk cracks in your home’s foundation and close openings around pipes and vents.
  • Make sure door sweeps go all the way to the ground to cover gaps under doors.
  • Use steel wool or copper mesh to plug holes inside and outside the house.
  • Repair cracks in walls both inside and out.

Snakes typically access homes near ground level, so focus on sealing cracks lower down on walls. Maintaining good seals can prevent future snake encounters.

Remove Snakes’ Attractions

You can also make your yard less inviting to snakes so they’re less likely to approach your home. Here are some tips:

  • Clear away piles of debris like wood, rocks, and leaves that provide hiding spots for snakes.
  • Keep your grass mowed short since tall grass attracts rodents that snakes prey on.
  • Remove brush, vines, and dense vegetation snakes use for cover.
  • Eliminate standing water from sources like bird baths, pet dishes, and flowerpot saucers.
  • Store woodpiles away from your home’s perimeter.
  • Install fencing around your yard to deter snakes.

Making your yard less hospitable to snakes and their prey removes attractions bringing snakes near your home. Starving snakes of food and shelter outside can prevent them from venturing inside.

By sealing entry points and removing snake attractions, you can reduce the chances of future unwanted snake encounters in your home. Taking preventative measures provides peace of mind and a safe living space free of uninvited scaly visitors.


While startling, most in-home snake encounters are harmless incidents where a snake has simply lost its way after being drawn inside by food or shelter. With some diligence, snakes can be safely removed and further break-ins prevented.

Understanding snake behavior and proofing your home will help ensure any indoor serpent sightings remain rare and manageable occurrences.

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