The Snake-Rodent Connection
By Chris Williams on August 10, 2011.
If you’re having an ongoing problem with snakes around your home, even getting into your home, your real problem might be rodents! The primary food of many snakes, especially the larger ones, is rodents (mice, voles, rats). When a property develops a healthy population of rodents, snakes can move in as well.
Mice and vole populations typically increase when residents feed birds. The rodents feast on spilled bird seed, often nesting in burrows near bird feeders. Pet food left outdoors, compost bins, or rotting fruit or vegetables also support large populations of rodents. If your property also has plenty of nesting/hiding places (debris piles, wood piles, heavy mulch, tall weeds), the conditions are right for an explosion of rodents.
Even if the mice never find their way inside, the snakes might. Snakes may enter a building looking for prey or to find a secluded place to hibernate. Snakes can enter through openings under doors, holes around pipes or electrical lines, through vents, pet doors, or holes in masonry foundations. Sometimes the family dog or cat will bring a snake inside only to have it slither away. If you have a mouse problem inside your home, a snake can enter looking for those mice. And, if there are plenty of mice inside, the snake may just decide to stay inside.
Bottom line is, instead of trying to get rid of the snakes, you should be trying to get rid of the rodents (poisonous snakes are the exception). Snakes are beneficial and are doing you a favor by feeding on the mice and voles. But if you really can’t stand the idea of snakes around your home, then you need to take steps to get rid of the rodents. The snakes will follow.
First step is to eliminate the rodents’ food sources. Clean up spilled bird seed regularly and use bird feeders with catch trays. Don’t leave pet food outside. Make sure garbage cans are tightly closed with no spillage. Pick up fruits or vegetables on the ground.
Second step is to eliminate hiding and nesting sites for rodents. Remove piles of bricks, wood, stones, debris, topsoil, mulch, or loose trash. Mow areas of tall grass, weeds, or brush. Heavy vegetation should be thinned. Close old rodent burrows so they don’t become snake dens.
Give Colonial a call. We can inspect your property, set up a rodent control program, and advise you on steps you can take to get rid of the rodents (and snakes) on your property.