Yes, having a pet snake in your home can keep mice away, but not in the way you probably expect. In this article, we will tell you how.
Do you have mice problems in your house? Do you need to persuade a rat to scat? And do you have a pet snake?
If you do, you have a powerful tool for getting rid of rodents. Let’s get directly to tell you how to use your snake for rodent control.
How Your Snake Can Help with Mice Control
There is a very basic dynamic between snakes and mice. Snakes eat mice. Mice try to avoid snakes.
Mice have absolutely no scruples about pooping and peeing all over the place, because they use feces and urine as a tool of communication.
Mouse droppings in your cabinets and in the corners of your floor are a signal to other mice that the coast is clear for raiding your cupboards and raising their babies.
The more mouse poop you allow to accumulate in all of those places in which it shows up in your home, the more you will get.
Although mice are attracted to the droppings of their own kind, they also have a keen nose for the fecal matter of animals that eat them.
To put it simply, snake poop scares mice away.
But this doesn’t mean that the solution to your rodent problem is to let your snake out of its terrarium so maybe it will find a mouse and then scare off the rest with a nice ball of snake poop somewhere in your home some days later.
Snakes you let out of their enclosures have a way of becoming impossible to find.
Just because you feed your snake mice doesn’t mean that mice are the only animals it would eat if it is free to roam.
You can use your snake’s fecal matter in a careful, controlled way to repel mice from your home, never letting your snake out of its enclosure.
But to do this successfully, you need to know a few things about mice and the things that scare them.
What You Need to Know About Rodent Repellents
Mouse and rat behavior isn’t all that hard to understand.
If you were 3 inches long and you could make a tasty snack for a snake 10 to 100 times your size, you would try to avoid snakes.
Mice and rats stress out when they detect the scent of a predator. Scientists know that smelling a snake’s scent triggers the release of a stress hormone called cortisol in mice.
When a mouse’s cortisol levels go up, it has to eat more and drink more water. That means that it gets hungrier and thirstier and easier to trap.
Male mice that have higher cortisol levels make less testosterone. When they mate, their dams have fewer pups (that is, the mommy mice have fewer baby mice).
Strategic placement of snake poop will upset your rodent population enough that the other methods you use to control them will work better.
By other methods, we mean traps. The problem with using mouse and rat poison is that mice and rats eat and die in inconvenient places, like inside your walls (or below that modular kitchen drawer where no one can reach).
The stench of a dead mouse’s decaying body is repugnant to everyone in your family, except maybe your snake.
But how and where do you put out snake poop to give the rodents just a whiff without some other pet spreading it all over your house?
What You Need to Know About Snake Poop
Your snake’s waste isn’t just smelly and disgusting. It is also loaded with germs.
Snakes eat their prey whole. That means that they eat the fecal matter that is inside their prey animals.
Snakes digest their prey from the inside out, in warm conditions, over a period of one to three days.
During that time, all the E. coli and Salmonella that was inside the prey animal’s gut had perfect conditions for growth.
This makes snake poop extra-germy.
People can and do get infected with the bacteria that cause food poisoning by handling snake poop or snakes that may have slid over their own fecal matter.
You should not handle your snake’s waste without wearing gloves and washing your hands afterward.
You should not leave snake poop on the floor where other pets may examine or eat it. You should not leave snake poop under the sink where your toddler or elementary school child can find it.
But you do want your mice to find it. How do you make that happen?
What You Need to Know About Putting Out Rodent Repellents
Mice and rats don’t move around like larger animals.
They don’t see very well. They navigate with the help of their whiskers. They like to move alongside a flat vertical surface that they feel by rubbing up against it with their facial hair.
Mice and rats like to move in straight lines.
They don’t like to take a winding path that can lead them out into the open, where the animals that eat them can find them.
And they like to navigate by scent. They follow the poop and urine trails laid down by their dozens of siblings or their dozens of offspring. Or they move from one food scent to the next.
How do you put all of that information together to figure out how and where to use snake poop to discourage your mouse and rat population?
First, you need a “house” for your snake poop rodent repellent. You need to cover it so it doesn’t get discovered by other pets or your kids.
You don’t bait a mouse-trap with snake poop. Even the mouse will think that is gross. Place it inside a covered or no-view trap so only your mouse will detect it, and you won’t have to look at it.
Next, you need to find a suitable place for the covered mouse trap that has snake poop in it.
You should not expect to catch a mouse in this covered trap. But you should place the snake poop somewhere mice and rats are sure to find it.
Since rats and mice run along your baseboards at night, and they don’t want to scamper out in the open unless they absolutely have to, place the no-view mousetrap with the snake poop in a corner of the room.
Even better, place two no-view mouse traps with snake poop in them in two corners of the same room. Or all the corners of the room.
We haven’t mentioned how much snake poop you need to put on the trap. About 5 grams (the equivalent of a teaspoon, but please don’t use an actual teaspoon to measure snake poop) is enough.
You can also place covered mouse traps with snake poop in them under cabinets, under the refrigerator, and along the baseboards nearest to doors that open to the outside.
If a mouse racing inside your home through an open door smells like snake poop just as soon as it comes inside your house, it will do its best to go right back out.
Now we’re coming to the hard part.
Rotate Your Rodent Repellents
If you don’t want to kill the furry little “friends” that try to invade your home, or you just don’t like dealing with dead mice in mousetraps, rodent repellents are the way to go.
There is no muss and no fuss that you don’t already have to deal with. After all, you have to clean your snake’s enclosure after it poops, whether you have a rodent problem or not.
But there is one thing every homeowner needs to know about rodent repellents:
You can’t use the same rodent repellent in the same location 24/7 indefinitely. Eventually, the mice will figure out that there isn’t really a snake waiting to eat them.
The hungrier they get, the more chances they are willing to take.
And if they ever actually run the mousetrap with the snake feces in it and come out the other side, that mouse won’t ever be afraid of snake poop again.
That is the reason why snake poop is just one of the things you use to control your rodent problem.
Here are some suggestions about what else you can use to control mice and rats without poisons that can harm people and pets.
- Put out mothballs in the same places you would place a covered mouse trap with snake waste. Mice find the odor as unpleasant as people do, but when you place mothballs in a mouse run, they are at the rodent’s nose level.
- Try an ultrasonic rodent repellent. The high frequencies are meant to mimic the distress calls mice give out when they are trapped. If you use the ultrasonic unit all the time, however, mice will get used to it.
- Get a cat. Mice never lose their fear of cats. However, you want your cat to scare the mice away, not eat them. Mice can transmit diseases to cats.
One more word of advice about using your snake for rodent control:
Don’t feed any rodents you catch in your house to your snake.
You don’t know where they have been.
Household rodents could have eaten mouse or rat poison somewhere else. If your snake eats a poisoned rodent, you will have a poisoned snake. For smaller snakes, this can be deadly.
Household rodents universally have fleas, mites, and ticks.
Snakes are usually affected by different species of fleas, mites, and ticks than those that infest mice and rats, but a feral rodent could have picked up an insect or arthropod that causes snake scale problems outside your home.
Mice and rats can also be exposed to worms and parasites that can infect your snake’s digestive tract.
It’s OK to add snake poop to your armamentarium for controlling mice and rats. But leave your snake out of the process.
Let your snake live peacefully in its terrarium, and limit its involvement in rodent control to its poop.
Frequently Asked Questions About Using Snakes for Rodent Control
Q. What about using snakes for outdoor rodent control?
A. In nature, snakes keep mouse and rat populations in check.
Snakes are very helpful in keeping mice and rats from multiplying in those tall, grassy areas of your lawn where you can’t mow, and in woodpiles and cluttered parts of your landscape.
What you need to know is that it is only wild snakes that can help you maintain the ecological balance of your landscape.
If you let your pet snake out into your yard to control the mouse and rat population, you will probably never see it again.
Q. Do all wild mice and rats carry diseases?
A. Wild mice and rats come in contact with the urine and feces of outdoor pets and larger wild animals.
They can contract a tremendous range of viral and bacterial diseases and pass them on to pets and people.
Also, the fleas that live on mice carry diseases, some of which are very serious, like typhus and bubonic plague. You just don’t want mice in your house, or in your snake’s enclosure.
Q. What can I do if I made the mistake of letting my pet snake out to hunt for mice and now they are gone?
A. You can hire a snake exterminator, with the understanding that you want them to find your pet snake, not kill it.
This kind of service does not come cheap. In the United States, a visit from a snake exterminator typically costs $350 to $500, more if it is necessary to remove the snake from inside a wall.
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