Equipped with extra joints and mobile jaws to swallow prey larger than their heads, snakes have earned the reputation of terrifying predators. While many varieties aren’t venomous, and some aren’t longer than 10 centimeters, snakes generally inspire dread and fear.
Unless you live in a place where they don’t exist, such as Hawaii, New Zealand, Iceland, Ireland, Greenland, and other small islands throughout the world (which we don’t), it may be a challenge to keep your pet safe from snakes at home.
What to Expect
Californians expect to run into snakes. The most commonly encountered varieties are not venomous to humans:
- Gopher Snake
- Coachwhip snake
- California kingsnake
- Sharp-tailed snake
- Racer snake
- Whip snake (striped racer)
- Ring-necked snake
- Garter Snake
The Western rattlesnake, on the other hand, is potentially dangerous to people and pets alike. With a large triangular head, the snake is usually heard before it’s seen by way of the rattling sound coming from the tip of the tail.
There is a rattlesnake vaccination that may be appropriate for your pet. Please call us for more information or schedule an appointment.
When to Be Careful
Most of us are on guard when we hit the trails, and rightfully so, but in reality snakes live all around us and the chances of your pet finding them are fairly high!
Protecting Your Pet
- One of the easiest ways to keep your pet safe from snakes is to reduce their potential habitat. Make your yard less attractive to snakes by removing any spots for them to hide. This includes rock piles, wood stacks, tall grass or bushy overgrowth.
- Minimize exposed compost or garbage heaps that attract rodents and snakes.
- It’s also a good idea to seal any cracks in your concrete walkways, cover areas beneath the house or porch, and secure storage sheds.
Keep Your Pet Safe From Snakes Indoors
Snakes find themselves inside homes all the time via open ground floor doors, basement windows, decking, or other openings. They can also get on top of rooftops by way of landscaping. In order to keep your pet safe from snakes, we recommend inspecting your property regularly – seal all openings, and check them periodically.
Nobody wants to find a snake inside their home, but if you’re able to identify it as non-venomous you can try to invite it to leave. Gently whisk it out with a broom, pick it up with gloves or thick blanket, or cover it with a large enough container until more experienced help arrives. You don’t want to scare it into deeper cover.
If the snake is venomous, seal off the area. Keep your pet contained and call animal control or a reputable snake removal service.
A snake bite can create a dangerous pet emergency that is made worse by panicking. Please stay calm, stabilize your pet, and call us for further details.
While the rattlesnake is venomous, the primary function of venom is to subdue and kill prey. Of course, they will use venom as self-defense if needed. Train your pet to “leave it” or “come” to prevent dangerous snake encounters.
Bowman Veterinary Hospital is always here to help you keep your pet safe from snakes, and hope you’re able to steer clear of them this summer.