If you have a serious snake problem at home and other forms of snake deterrents aren’t working, it may be time to try out a snake trap. Where other devices such as snake repellers and snake repellent may scare a snake away with the possibility of it coming back later, snake traps remove the problem altogether.
WHAT IS A SNAKE TRAP?
A snake trap, like most other animal traps, is effectively a cage or box of some sort used to catch snakes. There are a lot of different size and designs of the traps ranging from cardboard boxes to plastic tubes and wire mesh (the popular minnow style). It is even possible (and not too hard) to make one yourself.
Although the type of trap may vary a lot, the principal is the same for each one. The traps are laid out in the house or yard; some kind of food or attractive substance is placed in the trap to entice the snake; the snake enters and gets caught. The wire mesh designs hold the snake by giving it no way to exit, whereas the flat box designs often use a glue to physically hold the snake in the box.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
First of all, you need to identify what kind of snake is hanging around. The size, behaviour, and diet of your unwelcome guest will offer some clues as to what kind of snake trap you’ll need.
For example, if you have a gigantic python living under your house, you aren’t going to catch it in a small box!
Next you need to place the chosen trap in the location the snake/s have been seen the most. So if you often catch a glimpse of that scaly predator in the garden, guess where you’ll put the trap?.. In the garden.
To attract the snake to the trap you need to add the bait. Some snake traps come with their own source of bait which also varies as much as the actual traps do, but rest assured even if it looks or smells disgusting to you, snakes are going to love it. Other traps you will have to supply your own bait. The most common and effective snake baits are chicken eggs and mice or rats (something high in the snakes food pyramid is going to work best).
Now comes the easy part. Simply place the trap with the bait inside wherever you think the snake is likely to hide and sit back and wait.
WILL THE SNAKE GET HURT IN THE TRAP?
This probably sounds silly to a lot of people as most people live by the philosophy, “The only good snake is a dead one” but in some countries such as Australia it is an offence to kill a snake other than in self defence and at the end of the day they didn’t choose to be born so scary and disgusting so why treat them inhumanely?
Luckily most snake traps will not actually harm the snake. Even the glue that some traps use to hold them will wash off and won’t cause long term harm. The idea of the snake trap is to catch it and hold it while you relocate the snake somewhere far, far, far away.
THERE’S A SNAKE IN THE TRAP…. WHAT NOW?
Good question! This is perhaps the only dangerous part of the whole trapping process as this is the step that takes you up close and personal to the snake. At this point you might recognise that the box design traps have an advantage over other designs as there is no way you can come into contact with the snake until you open the lid. Despite the type of trap it’s important to handle it very, very carefully and don’t stick your fingers into the trap to pet the snake! (I know, who’d be that dumb?)
Take the trapped snake a long way from your home and other homes before releasing it. 5-10 km would be far enough to ensure the snake won’t make its way back to you.
Once that’s done, store the trap, or set it up again for another catch.
WHAT BAIT WILL ATTRACT SNAKES
Snakes do have a varied diet depending on their species. Doing some quick research to find out what snake species live in your neighbourhood will give you a good place to start. A google search for ‘what do rattlesnakes eat?’ for example will show you a rattlesnakes natural prey is.
If you’re still not sure what the resident snakes eat and what will work best in your trap, you can try some classic menu options. Think of these like the bangers and mash or Sunday roast of the snake world.
Typical Snake Food
When you set your traps, keep in mind snakes don’t eat every day. Just because you don’t catch a snake in the first day doesn’t mean it’s not there. Keep setting the trap for a few days. You can also try different bait. If eggs don’t work, get some rats or mice (most pet shops stock frozen ones for pet snakes). You may also need to move the trap around to find the ‘sweet spot’. Try areas you may have spotted a snake, along stream edges, near rocky outcrops, under high set houses, near animal shelters and other areas a snake is likely to frequent.