Snake

Asked July 18, 2016, 10:22 AM EDT

I have a 3' black snake in my camper and don't know how to get it out. I seen him in the floor but he went in the wall or somewhere before I could get him. Any suggestions on how to get it out. We're going to the battle at Bristol and the wife will have no part of it now. Can you help please

Montgomery County Virginia human-wildlife issues snakes

9 Responses

Thank you for your question. Sorry for the delay in responding, but I just received your question last night. I'm checking with some contacts I have on a possible solution to your problem. I will get back to you as soon as I get a response from them. Should be no later than Monday.

Jim

And we're back. Get one of those galvanized minnow traps that's tapered at both ends. I have attached a photo. Use either some fresh chicken eggs (get them from someone who has chickens, not from the grocery store. It's best if they haven't been washed), or get a small cage, put a live mouse in it, and place the cage inside the minnow trap to use as bait. Place the minnow trap in the camper in the area where you saw the snake. The snake will crawl in through one of the entrances to get the food, but once they're inside, they don't seem to be able to figure out how to get out again. Check the trap every few hours. If you are successful in catching the snake, you can take the trap some distance away from your house, open it up and release the snake unharmed. Here's a link to a You Tube video that show you how to set up the trap. The person in the video is using the trap outdoors, but the set-up method will be the same for using it in your camper:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xagv5SmcS4

Your snake is most likely a black rat snake (Pantherophis alleghaniensis). Rat snakes are non-venomous. This is a common species in Virginia and the Carolinas. As their name suggests, they feed primarily on mice and rats. They are excellent climbers,however, so they also raid bird and squirrel nests to eat bird eggs and young birds and squirrels. They are also fond of chicken eggs, which is why eggs are one of the possible baits in the minnow trap, and this has earned them another common name, chicken snake, in some parts of the U.S.

There are no guarantees, of course, but this is a low-cost method to try, and doesn't involve tearing walls out of your camper trying to locate the snake, or using moth balls or other so-called snake repellents, which aren't effective, but will make it very unpleasant for you and your wife in the camper.

Hope this information helps, and thank you for using Ask an Expert.

Jim

Thank you for your response. I've had the trap set for 3 days and no snake. Do you think it has gone away or just hasn't taken the bait?

If you're using fresh eggs and it's been three days, I would assume the snake has moved on, and is no longer in the camper. You can remove the trap for a couple of days and then replace it to see if you have any luck, but sounds like it's "left the building". Rat snakes love eggs, so I would expect it to have investigated the trap pretty quickly.

Let me know how it goes.

Jim

Thanks Jim. Now convincing the wife it's gone. Lol

Also one more question if I may. What is the difference between a black snake and a black racer here in Virginia

The use of common names for plants and animals is always a potential problem, that's why scientific names were developed. Black snake and black racer are both common names, depending on where you live, for Coluber constrictor - what I normally refer to as a black racer. People also use the common name black snake for the black rat snake (Pantherophis alleghaniensis), which is probably the snake you saw in your camper. So, people using these two common names may be referring to the same snake species, Coluber constrictor, or they're using black snake to refer to the black rat snake and black racer to refer to the racer species.

Because of exactly this type of problem scientific names were developed where you have only one recognized genus and species for each species of plant, animal, insect, etc. That way, when you use the name Pantherophis alleghaniensis everyone knows exactly to which species you're referring.

Thanks for your question.

Jim

Thanks so much Jim. You have helped with this tremendously. Greg

Hey Greg,

You're welcome. Contact us any time, and good luck on your trip.

Jim