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How to Get Rid of Garter Snakes

Category Snakes
Although these innocuous snakes are not poisonous, they can still be undesirable in a yard or garden. This is a guide about getting rid of garter snakes.


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By 4 found this helpful
September 15, 2011

To get rid of any snake, use sisal rope. Put it where you don't want the snake. Because of the soft underbelly of the snake, it will not cross over the rope. This is an old cowboy trick handed down by my family.


My husband had been plagued by snakes in his shop for about a year now. I finally remembered this and since he has put the rope around doors and places where they come in, he has not had any snakes in his shop. He did average about three a week.

By Lynn from Dallas, TX

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 2 found this helpful
June 4, 2010

Do moth balls or Clorox help keep garter snakes away from the house and yard?

By Cindy from Omaha, NE


June 4, 20100 found this helpful

I am very very afraid of snakes regardless of what kind and I have a beautiful flowerbed surrounding my home. I used to have many garter snakes hiding in my plants, mating, etc. I put moth balls down in early spring and no more snakes the rest of the summer. It does work.

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June 4, 20100 found this helpful

What's so bad about garter snakes? They're not dangerous.

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June 5, 20100 found this helpful

If you want to get rid of garter snakes, get rid of what attracts them such as mice and other pests. Without the snakes you will have more pests in your yard and possibly your house.

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June 5, 20100 found this helpful

While Garter Snakes are completely harmless and I personally wouldn't worry about them, snakes dislike cedar. If you mulch your garden with cedar chips, it will repel snakes.

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June 5, 20100 found this helpful

Moth balls have very dangerous chemicals in them. Please don't use them. They eventually break down into the ground and contaminate it. Garter snakes will do you a lot more favors than moth balls!

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June 27, 20100 found this helpful

We lived in an old farmhouse with a poor foundation. Had garter snakes in my clothes hamper, my laundry room. Later when we added a basement room found them there,too. Nothing scared me more than finding a baby snake in my washer(still alive)flashing his little forked tongue at me while sitting on top of the clean clothes. Problem was solved only by sealing up the foundation tight. We had found out a huge garter snake was having her young under our house. She must have been a 5-6 feet long. Access was by holes in the old foundation. New foundation fixed the problem. I have had a snake phobia all my life so understand your fears.

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July 7, 20100 found this helpful

I am from the old school of thought that when you had garden (garter) snakes, you did not have mice. I personally prefer the snakes. I do not have either. Snakes love rock gardens, places in the heat yet can be cool. Flower beds made of rock will hold alot. Our other house had plenty until we removed the rock formations from the property, also then the mice moved it.

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July 19, 20100 found this helpful

I came here to find some relief because when I opened my front door this morning to go get my mail, there was a happy go lucky garden snake about a foot away. I gave up the idea of getting my mail, and rushed back into the house terrorized. I started reading the comments here and found myself screaming at some of the disgusting stories of 4 or 10 snakes or snakes on a pile of laundry lol. Agggghhh, I would die! I found myself looking around my place in case one was hidden here too. I don't want them any harm but I hate them, they are disgusting to look at and scare the hell out of me not matter how hard I try to rationalize facts.

Just realized that if I'm too scared to get out of my house to go grocery shopping, I may lose the few pounds I've been struggling with for months. lol. Hum garden snakes may not be that bad after all. :-)


All jokes aside, I hope the one I saw this morning will vanish right away, it is the 3rd one I see in 2 years and I want to keep it that way. It's more than enough for me! Hate them, hate them, hate them.

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August 6, 20100 found this helpful

I found 5 garter snakes in my bathroom yesterday. I'm not sure where they came in or how long they have been there, but how do I get rid of them and could you tell me why they are in my home and how they got into my house. Please and thanks, because me and my 2 sisters are terrified of snakes and bugs and my brother has to like kill everything for us but we didn't kill the snakes he thinks there cute. Anyways my sister got out of the shower and almost died cause there was a snakes on the floor. Then we found four more later that night, please, please help.

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October 30, 20150 found this helpful

I returned all of the rocks I had used around my raised beds to the woods behind my property. What a job! Those rocks were a lot heavier than they were 10 years ago! I'm hoping the elimination of their habitat will discourage the snakes' from returning to my yard. I have no worries about mice and such. My cat will take care of that!

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June 30, 20168 found this helpful

Yes I have a snake phobia too, I move into a house that had quit a few snake dens. If I would of known I would not have bought it. It took six months to get ride of some 300 of the little buggers. Here is what you need to know.

It's a waste of time to catch and release. They know where you live and will come back.

You have a great environment they that's why they like/love your place. So make it un friendly. Cut the grass, get ride of wood piles and compost on the ground piles, or rock piles. Make sure you stack every thing off the ground. No rock walls or wood decks. No cracks or wholes around the house, garage. Go to hardware store and get a bucket of premix cement filler or calk. Fill in everything. Mine were coming in where the cable guy didn't seal the hole for the wire. If you have vents around your house replace bent or damage, I took mine off, added screen door mesh to the inside with a calk gun the put it back on and sealed the edges. This was to stop crickets and small things getting under besides a cool and warm place that is desirable. Get rid of their food source and there habitat, that's a good start.

Pheromones, they leave an invisible trail to your house and entryways. So if you don't get rid of this more will come it's a road sign for them. You must wash patios, garages, sidewalk with bleach. Be carful it will kill flowers and grass. I just clean out a small greenhouse I have it took two gallons, just pour and use a stiff brush. Also I bought a large pump sprayer filled it with bleach and went around the house and garage and spray the ground and three ft up the walls, I have a stucco house so it worked well. I also raked the dirt and sprayed that to. Yes I killed 300, if you are up for it, use tree lopers and have a garbage bag ready, I have three kinds of loppers the best was the extended ones, go fast and aim at the back of the head, I can't touch them or catch them. They move slow in the morning or when its cool.
I have a detach garage, I use a metal pie pan and fill it with car gas and place one by the corne of the inside door, used car oil in a low container works good too. They smell with their toungs so any thing chemical nasty works. I did the old rope strick but soaked it with gas and laid it along the inside garage door. Mothballs and products like that don't really work well, mice eat the mothballs. I did try crushing moth balls adding some water and mixing it with kitty litter and made my own repellent, the smell isn't all that strong so so worked. You don't want to put gas in your house or near furnaces or hot water heaters. I was very determine to get rid of these pest, one in the back yard is not a problem, 300 wanting to share my house and give birth is. They have lots of babies and have known predictor, ( except for me) I think they taste bad. Oh I did start putting some cat food out at night for feral cats, befriended one and he would go after them plus be my watch dog and protector while gardening. Cat food is cheap. I think snakes don't like the cat piss smell either.

So the rule, don't freak out get mad and go to war, you will win, if you make your place unliked they will go some where else. I still have dreams about them, but I know that they just represent fear in my life, so I work on that. You will win, it will take some time, and just make sure you clean up and be mindful of creating habitats for them. Btw, I had lots of snake, and I had lots of mice too, so heck with that theory.
Please repost this as much as possible, I really feel for these folks with no real solutions. Mine are well tested, I only get pone poking around a year to see if the coast is clear. So not 100% proof but I'm around 99% proof and sleep well at night and can walk around my house with out fear.

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July 15, 20160 found this helpful

How to use mothballs & Cloris to keep snakes away in my yard?

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February 18, 20150 found this helpful

My boyfriend lives on the river and we are having a problem with gardener snakes. We have sealed holes under the sink and everywhere else one would not be okay. Now we are up to 7, I am ready to no longer stay here. Any suggestions?

By Connie


February 19, 20154 found this helpful

Garter snakes are part of the natural environment, especially near a river, lake, etc. They, too, have a problem-with humans moving into the territory that they have been living in for millions of years before humans.

My husband is a biologist and reptile specialist and I am still not fond of snakes, after many years. However, garter snakes are some of the nicest and easiest snakes to live near. They are small and non-venomous, love to eat mice (a plus in my book!), worms, frogs, etc.

They like small holes and cracks for security, which is why you find them in houses. If you live in an older house, there are many holes and cracks for the garters so you will find them occasionally. Please do not hurt them-put them into a box and simply move them outside to a grassy or woodsy area.

I hope that you can find a way to live with garter snakes.

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February 19, 20151 found this helpful

Garter snakes won't harm you. The little ones eat crickets and large insects. The large ones eat mice. There are fewer large adult garter snakes since they themselves are prey to other animals such as raccoons and large birds.

The best way to keep them out of your house is probably to repair or replace all window and door screens, and close and fill holes where they are getting in. If the place you're living in has that many openings to the outside world, I don't really blame you for wanting to move.

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March 3, 20160 found this helpful

All you have to do is get few barn cats. I mean outside cats the ones that live outside. We live in Va when we moved in this mobile home we had so much snakes. All kind of snakes even copper head also garden snakes some people say they don't live together that's not true. We also had mice problem. Not anymore we got what I call wild cats. I feed them once a day. But I don't see snakes anymore. I've seen how they catch and eat snakes grous.

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March 26, 20120 found this helpful

I have a family of garter snakes living in my concrete patio off my family room. It has cracks in it and that's how they go in and out. They really wouldn't bother me at all if my little dog didn't think of them as toys. If I don't watch him every minute he's outside (which I can't because I need to use a doggy door when I'm out of the house for work), the next thing I know there's a dead (or mostly dead) garter snake or two in my family room.

I called someone who deals with things like this and all he said was I should pour bleach into the cracks. That this would either kill them or make them leave the area. So I did what he told me to do. I didn't see any snakes for 2 days, but now they're back! There has to be a better way. Please help.

By Susan S.


March 26, 20120 found this helpful

moth balls

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March 28, 20120 found this helpful

Be very careful with moth balls. If the little dog can get to them in the cracks and eat one, he will die from it. I know from experience!

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September 3, 2007

I have a problem with garter snakes between my storm door and the door to my house on the lower level. They like to lie there to sun themselves. Also, they have been known to have their young in the crack between the concrete pavement and the cement slab of the basement for the house. It is very annoying. I'd appreciate any input anyone might have as this problem is recurring yearly. Thanks in advance.

Hardiness Zone: 5b

Carol from Wyoming, PA


By guest (Guest Post)
September 5, 20070 found this helpful

If you don't have other pets, mothballs or flakes will repel these snakes.

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September 5, 20070 found this helpful

When I lived in Arkansas, we used Sevin Dust. It's a powder you sprinkle around your yard or house to keep the bugs and crawly critters away. You can buy it at Wal-Mart, any home improvement store, Ace Hardware ect...

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June 15, 20130 found this helpful

Is there something about strawberry plants that garter or garden snakes don't like? I have had problems with snakes in my yard and house, but have never seen one in my strawberry patch which is about 8 ft. x 12 ft. Are there other plants that repel snakes?

By Denise


June 17, 20130 found this helpful

I don't know of any plants that keep snakes away but we have snakes and the only one I avoid at all cost is the Rattlesnake. The rattlesnake will give you warning to get away from him. The Garter and Garden snakes are harmless and they eat small rodents so if you can share your garden with them they will not hurt you unless you bother them. Remember they are afraid of you as much as you are afraid of them.

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May 15, 20080 found this helpful

I have snakes in my basement. I am deathly afraid of snakes. I know they are just garter snakes, but now they have babies. I want to get rid of them, not just repel them, but kill them. I have put down the sticky traps with no results. Do moth balls kill them? Does gravel kill them? Does bleach kill them? I am not able to get around much, I have a heart condition and don't want to end up passed out on the floor in the basement with those creepy crawlers. Any and all suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Thank you,
Miss Liddle from Jamestown North Dakota


Getting Rid of Gardner Snakes

Hi Miss Liddle...

This probably isn't a solution if you only see them once in a while. I live in SD. The kids in our neighborhood like to hunt for snakes. They take them out to the corn field and let them go.

The snakes should be in hibernation now, so you probably won't see them anymore till spring. The only way I know of to kill them is to hit them over the head. I don't think you'd want to do that when you are afraid of them.

By mousie

Getting Rid of Gardner Snakes

If you put down the mothballs while they are not active, they will be driven out of your basement. For some reason this does not work with poison snakes like rattlers, but does get rid of the non-poison type. My sister-in-law had a similar problem and that worked for her (11/09/2005)

By Maureen

Getting Rid of Garter Snakes

Boy, do I understand how you feel! I had a nest of garter snakes in the crack between the sidewalk and foundation last year. What I learned about it is that snakes are very sensitive to smell. I bought a product from Australia to spray there, but now that I know that I use ammonia, moth balls, bleach... anything with a strong smell. You need to keep putting it where your snakes are living. They wont like it and will leave. This summer I had a copperhead snake in the same place and knew what to do so he went away. BTW, my cousins wife pours cold water on them... lol But because they are in your house I think more drastic measures are required. Good luck. Let us know how you made out. (11/09/2005)

By Carol

Getting Rid of Garter Snakes

I live in Manitoba, Canada. Here we have garter snakes which are not poisonous. Killing them. I wouldn't cause if the snakes can get into your basement then the mice can also get in. Do you have problems with mice? Probably not cause the snakes are eating them. Then again, garter snakes don't bother me. I was the one that picked them up in the summertime and brought them to the house to show my mom.

My brother in law was mentioning that he also had snakes in his basement. His solution...find the hole that they were getting a crumbling wall next to a window and seal it tight.

As the other poster mentioned, they are probably in hibernation now so you may have to wait until spring before you can find them again in your basement a thorough cleaning of the basement and have a friend who can pick up/get rid of the snakes for you. (11/09/2005)

By valleyrimgirl

Getting Rid of Gardner Snakes

These are very beneficial snakes and are harmless. I would try and call your local game commission or your local humane society and they may tell you someone that can come and rescue them. Snakes have a bad reputation, that is because the public is not educated on them. They are in hibernation now, but I hope you find an answer, verses killing them. (11/09/2005)

By Malinda

Getting Rid of Gardner Snakes

I wish I could come and get those snakes for you! Plugging up holes, cracks, etc. is probably all it will take added with some sealant. People call these snakes Gardner as well as Garter and I wish you the best in clearing them out of your house :) (11/09/2005)

By Anonymous

Getting Rid of Gardner Snakes

Make sure the traps are near warm areas like the hot water heater the dryer or the crack of the door, any window sills or places they would bask in sunlight. Near pipes or places with water are also good places for the glue traps, my mom is having the same problem and you can take them out with a shovel once they get their heads stuck. (11/12/2005)

By Sereta

Getting Rid of Gardner Snakes

I had a snake problem and was so scared so I understand fully. The house I purchased was left empty for a couple years. Moth balls, bleach, hot pepper flakes, soap flake, bowl of antifreeze, and boiled tobacco didn't work. Spraying them with a hose didn't because they just came right back. I had black snakes which are like north eastern garter snakes but bigger. Close up any and all holes. spring time eggs will be hatching so get yourself a couple cats to get rid of any babies. (I borrowed neighbors cats) big ones I used a outdoor/indoor vacuum cleaner. I could suck them, then run - my daughter could empty it in a trash bag but couldn't suck them. Together we got the job done. We had to put them in a trash bag because at first we put them outside but they would be all around the house trying to get back in and when I had one in the engine of my car, any mercy from me left. To keep them out, I purchased bricks of this rat poison I purchased at a feed store. More powerful than dept store rat posion. soon I found dead rats outside. I had no idea the house had rats in it. These darn snakes didn't even run from me. They thought they owned this place, but I showed them. (12/02/2005)

By Debbie

Getting Rid of Gardner Snakes

I agree with mousie. Let the kids in the neighborhood come in a get them for you, or get a cat to take care of them. I hope they will leave you alone (04/06/2006)

By donjr107

Getting Rid of Gardner Snakes

Today I was mowing my lawn and I noticed they were climbing out of my siding into a hole under in the sidewalk! I killed two and my neighbor came and fetched them out, but I seen like 4 more. How do I get rid of em?


By Maria

Getting Rid of Gardner Snakes

Please do not kill these snakes. They are an important part of our ecosystem. It's understandable that you do not want snakes in your house but instead of killing them find alternative methods to remove them from your home, one I suggest is: if you have a national/state park near you, call and see about a naturalist coming to your home and removing them. These people are in a field that cares for all animals and their importance; I'm sure they would be happy to help you out. (06/29/2006)

By Katie

Getting Rid of Gardener Snakes

I rarely see snakes but I when I was running I found one all ripped apart in a field and I freaked! The next day a huge brown and white striped one was slithering through our stone wall and it scared me! It looked too big to be a gardener and it was odd colors. (07/26/2006)

By Scuba Steve

Getting Rid of Gardner Snakes

Go to the hardware store and ask for sulfur to put around the outside of the house or yard. It works on all kinds of snakes (10/20/2006)

By joe

Getting Rid of Gardner Snakes

Call the local animal police or pest control and they will get rid of them without killing them. :) (03/17/2007)

By someone helpful

Getting Rid of Gardner Snakes

Thanks for the info
I've got an old dead tree that I need in my yard to keep neighbors from driving on my grass
It is full of garden snakes
I understand the eco system, but there are enough of these snakes to take care of the state
Is there anything that can be sprayed on them
to rid (RIP) them all at once.

By Meme

Getting Rid of Gardner Snakes

Why do you want to get rid of garter snakes. They are not poisonous, they don't have no fangs. (04/24/2007)

By zach

Getting Rid of Gardner Snakes

i have gardener snakes in my basement, and every now and again they make there way upstairs, what can I do to keep them out of my basement?
I do not mind them outside and I am not afraid of them I just would rather keep them out, is there anything I can put in the basement to keep them out, I have tried bleach, sulfur, the sonic plug ins, but nothing seems to make them go away, the pest control people even put stuff on the outside to keep them away and they keep coming back, ANY suggestions would be great. hayesbstsz AT (05/01/2007)

By Shelli

Getting Rid of Gardner Snakes

They do bite though

By Alex Cole

Getting Rid of Gardner Snakes

I live in an old farm house and have found that last year my cats found snakes in the basement and they would bring them upstairs. Well I hate snakes and I know they eat other critters but they are not welcome in my house! Have any suggestions to get rid of them!!(05/31/2007)

By emtoh4u2

Getting Rid of Garter Snakes

The snakes you find won't all be poisonous, some don't even have fangs, so don't kill them if you don't have to. I'm not the biggest fan of them but I think they are pretty cool. (06/08/2007)


Getting Rid of Garter Snakes

To get rid of garter snakes if you're not afraid of them, grab them by the neck (07/10/2007)

By austin Lipscomb

Getting Rid of Garter Snakes

Just pick it up by it's neck and remove it from your house if you don;t want it inside. Are you going to tell me you're afraid of tiny bugs too? These creatures are harmless, get over it. (07/23/2007)

By Erik

Getting Rid of Garter Snakes

Ok. No effective poison or deterrent has been found to "ward" off snakes. You will simply be on your own on getting rid of them. Try not to go on a rampage and slaughter the entire population, even though you may hate and/or fear these harmless creatures. You should try to call some pest or animal control center or animal care facility to see if you can get someone to remove them from the area. If you are not afraid, just pick them up, preferably by the neck so you don't get bitten. Also, you should try to remove things that attract them, like tall grasses around the house that harbor insects that they feed on, don't leave firewood, boards, or other shelters for them around the yard, and you should make sure to get rid of any rodent problems you might have (rats?) due to the fact that they could be prey for the snakes. (09/10/2007)

By Josh

Getting Rid of Garter Snakes

They're so cool! How could you possibly not like them!? Don't kill them. If it bothers you that much, call someone to come and remove them. (09/18/2007)

By Julia

Getting Rid of Garter Snakes

Honestly, best way is to get over your fear, grab them up and put them outside away from your home. They really are harmless. Garter Snakes are basically pests where I live, Minnesota. I see my friends kill them all the time. I just last night rescued one from dieing in a half frozen pool! Either pick them up wearing a leather glove or call a pest control to rid them for you. If you want them dead, call the pest control. But please if you do not have to do not kill them, they are most likely eating the bugs in your basement for you! (02/10/2008)

By Corine

Getting Rid of Garter Snakes

This might be totally off the subject, but when do garter snakes come out of hibernation? (04/06/2008)

By fungching98

Getting Rid of Garter Snakes

Ugh. I shudder to think about snakes at all! I went outside today, and there was a snake right along my foundation. I live in an old farmhouse, I expect to see a few, but it turned and went into a crack under my porch! Probably right into the basement! YUCK! Looks like I am getting mothballs, ammonia, sulfur and cats. LOL! and my husband will have to be the one going to the basement for anything! (04/23/2008)

By Amy

Getting Rid of Garter Snakes

I know snakes are harmless, but if I had them in my basement like many who have posted on here, just shoot me now! I think my extreme fear comes from growing up on a farm w/3 brothers who loved to throw snakes at me when they found them. I am absolutely petrified and I know I would pass out cold if I had to touch one. I have been finding them in my flower beds. I'm thinking of removing all flowers and planting shrubs. I would sacrifice my flowers vs. coming face-to-face with a snake. Good luck to those who have them inside their basements. I know I will have nightmares tonight. (04/25/2008)

By Missy

Getting Rid of Garter Snakes

Kill 'em. They are nowhere close to being endangered. They are also good catfish bait, especially the babies. (05/04/2008)

By Jeff

Getting Rid of Garter Snakes

I love to do gardening and I love to see snakes around me totally harmless. If I had them in my basement I would some how catch them, and put them outside. That simple! (05/12/2008)

By Lily from New York

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June 4, 20101 found this helpful

We have garden snakes. I am so scared of them and have seen so many of them that by now I don't want to be nice anymore and want them killed.

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June 23, 20090 found this helpful

We have removed 9 gardener snakes and drove them about 5 miles away and dropped them in a swampy area. One snake had his tail missing, and 2 weeks later, we just caught another gardener snake with his tail missing. Same sized snake as the previous snake removed. With this distance in play, can they find their way back home to our garden area and yard? Thank you for the help.

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May 29, 20080 found this helpful
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