What works and what doesn’t.

Spring is coming and the snakes are moving. Some people enjoy encountering snakes, while others don’t want to see them, especially near their homes. Search the internet for products specially formulated to fight off snakes. There are many household formulations, such as mothballs around the house to keep snakes away.But they Doesn’t work And you still find snakes slipping near your home.

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Does mothball really keep snakes away?

“There are over-the-counter snake repellents,” said Terry Van Deventer, a herpetologist at the Living Reptile Museum. “The best repellent in the south is mothball.

“They never work. I tested them.”

In one test, Van Deventer placed the mothball on the ground. Next, a cottonmouth snake was placed on one side and a mouse was placed on the other side.

“He crawls around the mothball and gets a mouse,” Van Deventer said. “They just don’t work.”

So what can you do to keep the snake away from your home? Vandeventer said it’s practically impossible to keep all snakes away from home, but there are many steps you can take to make the lawn unattractive to snakes.

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You can keep the snake away from the garden with a few simple steps

“We know that food attracts snakes,” Vandeventer said. “Snake eat rodents, so we want to get rid of them. Get rid of shelters, get rid of food, and the snakes will pass by and into your neighbor’s rattle house. to go.”

So how do you limit snake food sources and shelters? Here are some simple steps to make your home unattractive to snakes.

• Put your pet inside. No, snakes don’t like cats and dog food, but they do like rodents. Keep pets and limit rodent food.

• Remove debris and piles of leaves. Mountains of leaves and other grass debris not only attract rodents, but also protect them, making them a great place to set up a store.

• Mow the grass. This may seem basic, but tall grass covers snakes. Cutting it out not only makes your lawn less desirable for snakes, but also makes it easier for you to find them. Your neighbor will also appreciate it.

• Pay attention to the birdhouse. Everyone likes to see birds and hear young calls, but these are attractive to snakes. Some snakes, like the gray rat snake, are excellent mountaineers. The gray rat snake is also one of the most common snakes in Mississippi. Placing a birdhouse on a fence or tree branch is the same as sending a supper invitation to a rat snake. Instead, place the birdhouse on a metal pole of a wooden strut that is wrapped in a metal sheet or has a conical barrier.

• Limit bird feeding. Backyard bird watching is a popular activity, but birds are messy. They often slam food from the food to the ground, attracting rodents. Consider limiting bird feeding during cold weather when food sources are limited and snake activity is low.

• Burn firewood. There is no such thing as a fire on a cool winter night, but as the outside temperature begins to rise, the pile of trees can be a problem. A pile of trees is a good place for snakes to hide, so burn your wood before the snakes become active in the spring. If you want to store wood all year round, place it in a rack at least one foot above the ground.

• Pick up the fallen fruit. Fallen fruits are another source of food for rodents and can then attract snakes.

• Avoid root covering. Multis can make your lawn look more attractive as well as you and your neighbors. Mulch can be an invertebrate home eaten by some species of snakes. We can also provide snake covers. Therefore, if you don’t want to encounter snakes, it’s a good idea to reconsider putting out mulch or pine straw.

• Remove the garden pond. Garden ponds may look beautiful, but they can also be a problem. Garden ponds can attract frogs and other animals, which are food sources for snakes. Put the fish in it and you just added another attractant.

Related: Snakebites are painful and costly: how to avoid them and what to do and what not to do if bitten

The majority of Mississippi snakes are harmless to humans, and everything is beneficial, with or without poison. Therefore, Van Deventer said that people should not let fear of snakes direct their activities.

“Don’t be afraid to stop doing everyday things and enjoying the outdoors,” Van Deventer said. “Be careful”

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read more What you heard about snakes may not be true

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This article was originally published in the Mississippi Clarion Ledger: Keep snakes away with these simple steps