I have a black rat snake living near my front porch and have found several snake holes around the porch. I understand that they are non-venomous, but I am concerned if they can still bite or hurt one of my kids. The youngest kid being 4 and the oldest being 15. I also have pets, the smallest dog weighing in at 2lbs.
I understand that they are helpful to the environment and that they only stay near a food source. I just don't want that food source to be one of my kids or the Chihuahua. Should I be concerned enough to find a way of repelling him from yard?
Hardiness Zone: 7b
By Cathryn from Warner Robins, GA
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By Natalie Steele06/05/2015
Rat snakes are fine. I live in northeastern Alabama, and they are very common. I actually have one living under my porch right now. I too have a young child. Aubree is three years old, but she understands not to go near it, and to watch where she walks around the area it stays. It rarely comes in the yard. It comes out for a few hours a day to sun bathe on the porch. It bothers nothing. We also have several dogs. They are large dogs and stay inside, but I stay outside with them when they go potty. They may want to be friends with the snake, but I do not allow them to get close to it due to possible severe infection from a bite.
We had a major problem with a mother ground hog and her babies, but our little friend scared them off. I know he didn't kill them because they are way too big for this guy, but I haven't seen them since the snake showed up, nor have we had a single rat or field mouse. (We live in a farm house with pastures all around.)
My opinion: as long as it's not getting too close to your door and your children and pets don't bother it, keep it. Even if it does become a problem, don't kill it. Just relocate it. They are more of a friend than a foe.
By Paul H.08/08/2013
I agree, they are great to have around. Due to their size they usually scare off others like copperheads. However a bite is more than just an owie as someone suggested. It will cause an bad infection if not dressed properly. The is true for both man and dog.
Having the snake is a good thing. Keeping him there will only help. As you give 'him' a home he will keep mice and rats from breaking into your home and defecating in your food and making your family sick.
And those pests hes eating and scaring away can be a lot more violent. Mice voles, moles and other small rodents would be much more likely to bite your pets or children. and can produce copious amounts of babies in your home and walls eating threw wires and potentially jeopardizing the safety of your house.
Just remind your children to not run up and grab him. And even if they do a bite wouldn't do any damage besides a small 'owwie'.
As for your pet your small dog should always be watched outdoors. Any dog under 20 lbs should since birds of pray can easily lift up a 5 lb rabbit or 10 lb raccoon to bring to their nest to eat. and small foxes wolves alligators would happily pick off a small dog.
The snake will also probably keep other snakes away besides other of the some kind. Getting rid of this one would only open up that den for a more dangerous snake.
Only if a more dangerous snake comes should you worry. but if that happens it means you obvious have an incredible amount of small furry mammals running around your home. Ones you may not like. So once that happens try to repel the snakes and their food (mice and rats) by picking up loose branches and other items they may make there nests. And regularly 'disturbing' anything on your property like bushes and wood piles to make them feel unwelcome.
By Vicki 09/08/2010
I wouldn't worry about him. He won't eat the chihuahua or likely bite the kids or you unless you directly threaten him. They are not poisonous. They do eats rats and mice and such as that, so my guess is you have a supply of those near the porch.
Black rat snakes are the good guys. You do want them around as they will help keep down unwanted guests like mice.
Be forewarned though that they are climbers as most snakes are. My mom is deathly scared of snakes. She came home one day and almost grabbed coiled up on her front door sunning itself (hanging on to the door knob with its tail). She fainted. Moral is just be on the lookout for it hanging out where you wouldn't expect it so you too aren't frightened if you find it.
By Jill 09/07/2010
I agree! Count your blessings and teach your child to respect an appreciate him. You may rarely see him, or may be treated to him sunning himself on occasion. If there is not enough food for him, he will move on; but if he hangs around, it means there are mice/voles/etc. that he is taking care of for you! If cornered, he might strike out at you, but he doesn't have "fangs" and his bite would be minimal, though it is very unlikely he would even manage to reach you. He would much rather escape!
I would love to have one around!
By Suntydt 09/07/2010
Don't worry about him. He will not let your dog or your child get close to him if he can help it. And it would be beneficial for him to be under your house as the weather gets colder. The mice will start looking for winter homes (your home) and he will take good care of them. :)
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