Jumpy big dog
Since last nite my Pit has acted scared to the point of trembling....Today she was very hesitant to walk across the kitchen and laundry room...I had to unplug an extention cord before she would come back inside....we are concerned that it could be a snake. Our next door neighbor killed a Diamondback Rattler in his yard next to us. She has encountered a rat before and chased it. She thinks all animals want to play. This is the first time she has reacted like this. Any ideas?Is there a way to get the snake, if that is what is out without actually finding it?
Thank you for your question. I can't say why your dog is anxious about crossing the kitchen floor. While it's certainly possible that a snake was in your home, it doesn't happen a lot. If a snake did crawl cross the floor, it may have left traces of chemicals called pheromones that animals use to communicate territorial boundaries, willingness to mate, etc. Try mopping the floor with a standard floor cleaning product. This should remove any traces of odor and may relieve your dog's anxiety.
There's no reliable way to get a snake to leave the house if, in fact, you have a snake in the house. There are no scientific studies that support claims by commercial snake repellents and "sonic" devices to repel snakes. I suspect if there is a snake in your home, hiding under the washing machine, for example, your dog would be standing nearby barking or giving some sign that something is not right. If your dog still seems upset after cleaning the floor, there are a couple of things you can try to determine if you have a snake in your home. Snakes usually prefer to remain concealed if there is a lot of activity going on, so they would be most likely be active at night, after things have quieted down in the home. You could try setting up a game camera in the kitchen to see if it captures any movement during the night. If there is a snake present, the chances are good that it's a ratsnake. Ratsnakes feed on rodents and small mammals, but they are also fond of eggs. People have had success trapping ratsnakes using a minnow trap (see attached photo) and fresh chicken eggs as bait. If you can get fresh eggs from someone who has a few backyard chickens, these work better than store-bought eggs. The snake crawls in the minnow trap after the eggs and can't get back out. You just take the trap outside and release the snake.
I hope this information helps, and thank you for contacting Ask an Expert.