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Snake Control & Identification

Ribbon Snake Thamnophis Sauritus Coiled Up On Leaves

Snakes are long, legless reptiles that move by slithering along the ground. Their appearance can vary a lot depending on their specific species, with colors ranging from green to red, yellow, blue, black, or brown. Their lengths can be as short as ten centimeters to as long as dozens of feet. If you’re on this page, don’t worry, you won’t find any prehistoric titanoboas in your backyard – the most common pest snakes, like garter, ribbon, and corn snakes – are nothing to fear.

Take a look below to learn more about the most common pest snake varieties and how we can help you keep them away from your property.

To learn more about wildlife removal, take a look at our Removal & Trapping services. Also, visit our Snake Trapping page to learn more about snake removal solutions.



Structural and foundation gaps should be caulked or sealed to prevent snakes from entering. Crawlspace vents should be screened.


Snakes that have entered or escaped in a residence may be difficult to find. Snakes can be captured inside or under dwellings, in garages or warehouses and along buildings by placing several sticky traps. These traps are covered to prevent the elements from deteriorating the and reduce non target catches. Scent attractant can be applied to the traps. Once snakes are caught, they are humanely removed from the sticky trap with the use of vegetable oil and then released back into a suitable habitat far away from where captured. Water-style traps are used in circumstances where water snakes are present.

At the conclusion of a trapping program, Varment Guard offers a snake repellent granular to be placed around the perimeter of the area where activity was present.

Snake Stick And Hand-Capture

Varment Guard technicians are properly trained to handle and remove snakes by hand. This typically occurs if the snake is found inside the structure or home and is in an area where it can be reached. Snakes can be removed by hand or with a snake stick.


Garter And Ribbon Snakes

Upper body background color brown or black with 3 light olive green, yellow, red or orange stripes; alternating black spots on stripes; underside light green, white or yellow (pictured top left).

  • Adult body length: 22 to 35 inches
  • Eggs laid or young born alive: 3 to 96 young born alive per year
  • Birthing season: June through September
  • Activity period: Daytime
  • Behavior / disposition: Mild to aggressive
  • Primary diet: Earthworms, leeches, insects, fish, frogs, mice
  • Ohio notes: The common garter snake, Thamnophis sirtalis, is commonly found in yards by fields, woods and water

Corn, Rat & Fox Snakes

Upper body background color yellow, light brown, reddish-brown, gray or black with red, brown or black saddle-blotches or stripes; underside white to yellow with dark patterning.

  • Adult body length: 48 to 72 inches
  • Eggs laid or young born alive: 3 to 44 eggs laid June – August
  • Birthing season: Hatchlings August through October
  • Activity period: Night (pre-sunset to post-dawn)
  • Behavior / disposition: Threatening; will bite; moderate in captivity
  • Primary diet: Frogs, lizards, birds, bird eggs, small rodents, other small mammals
  • Ohio notes: The black rat snake, Elaphe obsolete obsolete, is most common by woods, fields and water (see pp.5&6)

Water Snakes

Upper body background color brown, gray or black; some species with alternating dorsal and side blotches, diamonds or crossbands; underside white to yellow with variable markings.

  • Adult body length: 48 to 69 inches
  • Eggs laid or young born alive: 7 to 58 young born alive per year
  • Birthing season: June through October
  • Activity period: Anytime (temperature-dependent)
  • Behavior / disposition: Aggressive; will bite
  • Primary diet: Fish, frogs, tadpoles, newts, mudpuppies, salamanders, crawdads and crabs
  • Ohio notes: The northern water snake, Nerodia sipedon (page 6), is occasionally encountered in and near Lake Erie and smaller lakes; it is often confused for the cottonmouth


Coppery-brown, reddish or pink head; body background color light brown or pink with dark outlined hourglass-shaped crossbands; underside white with dark blotches (top right photo, p.1)

  • Adult body length: 36+ inches
  • Eggs laid or young born alive: 2 to 17 young born alive
  • Birthing season: August through October
  • Activity period: Daytime
  • Behavior / disposition: Moderate to aggressive
  • Primary diet: Amphibians, reptiles, small birds, rodents
  • Ohio notes: Found sparingly on rocky banks of rivers and creeks. When nearby, a cucumber-like odor can be detected.

Massasauga Rattlesnake

Background color brown to black, marked with squarish dark blotches (sometimes indistinct) along the back; 2 or 3 series of small dark blotches on the sides; underside dark and heavily blotched; tail short, stout and ringed with dark brown and background color

  • Adult body length: 24 to 30 inches
  • Eggs laid or young born alive: 2 to 32 young born alive per year
  • Birthing season: July through September
  • Activity period: Daytime
  • Behavior / disposition: Moderate
  • Primary diet: Insects, frogs, lizards, small birds, mice
  • Ohio notes: Rare; prefers edges of swamps, marshes, streams, ponds, meadows, fields and fencerows; possibly blamed for actual sightings of corn and fox snakes

We can get rid your of snake problems safely and efficiently!

Frequently Asked Questions:

When Do Snakes Wake Up?

Snakes begin emerging from brumation as soon as the air temperature rises enough to heat them up. In general, most snakes “awaken” from brumation permanently starting in early spring, around the same time their prey becomes active. Snakes also tend to come out after periods of rain. Learn more!

How Do I Keep Snakes Away?

Keeping your lawn short, removing debris, fixing any moisture areas from hose drippage, and patching up any cracks are a few ways to keep snakes away from your yard. Additionally, checking for moisture in your basement is crucial to keeping snakes from inhabiting your home. Read more!

Where Do Snakes Go in the Fall?

Snakes don’t actually enter hibernation, but they do enter a hibernation-like state of suspended activity called “brumation.” As cold-blooded reptiles, snakes rely on brumation to maintain their internal body temperature during cold weather. Unfortunately for snakes, brumation can maintain temperatures and conserve energy, but it can’t actually keep them warm. Learn more!

What Do I Do if I Get a Snake Bite?

You should always take snake bites seriously. If you’ve been bitten by a snake, seek medical attention immediately. While you’re waiting for professional help, clean the wound but don’t flush it with water. Do not attempt to capture the snake, but remember what it looked like. Identifying the snake will help professionals treat you more effectively. Read more!


Almost any snake that finds its way indoors or is discovered in a home garden may, unfortunately, invoke mild hysteria in persons who have no appreciation for snakes. Beyond the connection between snakes (serpents) and Satan (evil) described in the book of Genesis, much fear and disdain for snakes stems from the possibility of encountering one or more of the several venomous or aggressive species that are native to this continent; although only 16% of the species in the United States can be considered dangerous.

Furthermore, the general public has difficulty in identifying snakes correctly. Two families of snakes are responsible for most of the fear expressed by the general public. Rattlesnakes, water moccasins (cottonmouths) and copperheads are the North American representative pit vipers (family Crotalidae, a.k.a. Viperidae),which possess heat sensors located in visible loreal (facial) pits between the nostril and eye on each side of the head. These sense organs mainly enable them to seek out and capture warm-bodied prey, even in darkness. It can be dangerous to pick up a recently killed rattlesnake or the head of a decapitated rattlesnake, for example, because the warmth of the hand may cause the snake’s mouth to open reflexively, with the extendable, hypodermic-like fangs ready to inject venom, if the hand is in position to be bitten. The eastern coral snake is the sole representative of the family Elaphidae – the only other family of venomous snakes found in the U.S. Coral snakes are not found in Ohio, except in captivity.

Practically all other snakes commonly seen in the United States belong to the largest family, Colubridae. This group includes bull snakes, various racers, gopher snakes, king snakes, garter, ribbon, green and water snakes, coach whip snake, corn, rat and fox snakes, to name some of the more common species. Nevertheless, few people are willing to tolerate any snakes on their property, especially if children frequently play in the area. In addition, some controls may be justified during the nesting season at bird sanctuaries, in duck-nesting marshes, and at fish hatcheries to prevent loss of fry.

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