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Snakes After the Storm or Flood

Snakes may be displaced because of flooding. It is not unusual that these animals seek shelter and food in areas close to people. These areas might include the inside of houses, storage sheds, barns, and other buildings. Damaged structures have a higher probability of attracting snakes because of the many accessible entrances. Displaced snakes may also be found under debris washed up by flood waters or in debris piles created during cleanup efforts.

It's important to realize that both poisonous and non-poisonous snakes benefit people by keeping rodent populations down. Since rodents are also displaced by storms, this is especially important.

Tips:

    Outdoors:
  • When cleaning up and removing debris, watch where you place your hands and feet. If possible, don't place your fingers under debris you intend to move. In heavy debris areas where it is more likely that snakes can be found, wear boots at least 10 inches high and long pants, preferably denim or another heavyweight material.

  • Never step over logs or other obstacles unless you can see the other side. Watch out for snakes that may be sunning on fallen trees, limbs or other debris. If you do encounter a snake, step quickly back out of its path and allow it to proceed on its way. Snakes are usually not fast-moving and you can easily move out of its path.

    Indoors:
  • If you find a snake in your house, try to drive it into a small, restricted area of the house. Nonpoisonous snakes can be captured by pinning the snake down with a long stick or pole, preferably forked at one end, scooping it up with a flatblade or snow shovel. Drop it into a burlap sack or pillowcase and dump it outdoors.

  • If you are afraid to remove the snake yourself, call Animal Control at (816) 325-7205 or someone else experienced at handling snakes, i.e. your local wildlife conservation officer.

  • If you need to kill a poisonous snake which has entered your house, never attempt to kill it with anything that brings you within the snake's striking range (usually this is estimated at less than one-half it's total length). Club it with a long stick, rod, or other tool.

  • Seal up all openings one-quarter inch or larger. Check areas such as corners of doors and windows, around water pipes, and electrical service openings.

  • Remove any debris from around the house as soon as possible. Keep lawn closely mowed.

  • There is no legal toxicant or fumigant that kills snakes. Repellents and traps work with limited success.

  • Learn to identify nonpoisonous and poisonous snakes.

  • If you are bitten by a poisonous snake, do not try to treat the bite yourself. Go to the nearest hospital emergency room immediately. If possible, note the appearance of the snake for identification and treatment purposes.

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