Herpetology: Snake den

Asked January 17, 2017, 12:47 PM EST

Hello, I'm hoping that you can offer a little advice as to where to locate a snake den on my parent's property just outside of Waynesburg, Pa. They have lived 30+ years in their split entry home in the country with the closest neighbor 1/4 mile away, where in the last 10 years or so they've seen more and more snakes outside their property. They appear to be garter snakes and black snakes. Just this summer when my children and I would visit usually twice a week, I probably seen between 15-20 snakes very near the house as we would be walking on the sidewalk. On Thanksgiving day I saw what looked like a baby snake, only 6 inches or so. The week after that, my children and I were in their unfinished basement, used for storage only, getting Christmas decorations and I saw 5 snake skins up in the rafters, 2 of which were every bit between 5-6 ft. long. One of the snake skins looked just like a real snake, as the skin was all in one piece, face and all. This is when we realized there was a bigger problem than we thought. Snakes outside are awesome, snakes inside are unsettling to say the least. Also while my mother was home alone last thurs, her mastiff started growling from the living room looking towards the foyer. There was a black snake, and as soon as it seen my mother, it slithered under the nearby basement door. At this point we are desperate for advice on how to remove these snakes. We do realize the way they most likely got in the house was from a crack in the foundation. I called 2 pest control companies and both said we need to locate the den because they will continue to be a problem. Actually the one company added to their advice to burn the house down. This is very frustrating and we feel helpless. We don't know where else to turn. A professor at Waynesburg University thought maybe you can offer us advice. We would very much appreciate any info on how to locate a den or where to turn. Tyty, Tiffany

Greene County Pennsylvania

1 Response

Not sure why this question was sent to me. I am no expert on snakes, dens, or their winter hibernation spots but am familiar with the situation you are in. Snakes can enter and hibernate in the smallest niches and once there are extremely hard to find. Most are found by accident when seeing them emerge, cutting a log in half, or turning over a stump or rock. The best help I can give you is to get in touch with snake hunters or those who spend a lot of time outdoors looking for and identifying them. There are many Facebook sites that are dedicated solely to snakes. Here are a few: https://www.facebook.com/groups/569601646578703/?ref=br_rs or https://www.facebook.com/groups/snakeED/?ref=br_rs. You can try messaging the group at one of those sites and hopefully get an answer. Good luck.