What do snakes smell like?

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Derpy Old Mom

Votes: 8585

I have two snakes, a bull and a ball python. The python has no odor that I can detect. The bull snake has a wonderful, light scent reminiscent of warm leather and damp moss. The garter snakes I’ve handled often have a fishy, musty odor. I’ve not had the courage to sniff a rattlesnake, so no data in that species.

Bill Bigos

Votes: 7487

When handled, frightened or cornered many snakes have a musky smell and some have a damp musty smell.

in Pennsylvania where I originally came from there were places that had annual rattlesnake hunts. Some hunters claimed they could smell a cucumber-like odor from the rattlesnake dens. Others told me that the smell was noticeable after the snakes hibernated.

I have handled many types of snakes and I thought some, like gartersnakes had a musky odor when first handled. I never experienced any odor other than the smell of earth with ring-necked racers, black snakes and other common snakes. Similarly I never smelled any odor from PA rattlesnakes.

A month or two ago I was on my patio reading here in AZ and a 6 foot king snake crawled under my chair and I smelled no odor.

Allegra Mason

Votes: 7127

My daughter and I can smell snakes. My husband and others think we’re crazy. Can anyone else smell snakes?

You aren’t crazy. Many people can smell them. It’s most likely an ativistic trait. Snakes can be dangerous and it’s helpful for mammals and other animals to be able to smell them and stay away. I can smell them too and did some research.

Sreekumar Chirukandoth

Votes: 3819

I haven’t been able to perceive any specific ‘smell’ from the hundreds of snakes that I have handled. However, more often than not, the very act of humans handling it makes the snakes defecate/urinate. The excreta is very pungent and quite smelly and leave an indelible ‘impression’ on the handler!!

Tom McDonnell

Votes: 10010

Do snakes have a smell?

Most have very strong smell and will poop immediately if disturbed so you will know how bad it is and think they died and leave their stinky carcass alone so they can escape

Generally snakes that eat fish/frogs smell worst but I haven’t verified all…but enough to know its bad. Harmless garter snakes and water snakes in US smell very bad. But snakes get to live another day when too smelly to eat.

Tom McDonald

Votes: 9834

I haven’t researched the literature on this, but I swear I can smell snakes. I’m a biologist, neuroscientist, part-time herpetologist, ecologist, toxinologist who often goes out looking for wildlife, including snakes. They have, as someone else described, a sort of fishy smell which I think of as the ophidian or reptilian smell. I catch a whiff of it while hiking and start looking around. I often find a snake nearby, after very careful searching, knowing from experience that snakes can become almost invisible in natural settings. Would I have found snakes in spite of my smells? Are my olfactory mechanisms keying on something other than snakes in my environment? I don’t know for sure. I would like to think that I’m a careful observer but maybe I’m wrong. But it seems to me that I can smell snakes, or at least reptiles, since as I recall I’ve sometimes found chuckwallas and collared lizards this way.

Sharron Kim

Votes: 1320

I’m not sure if you’re asking about live pet snakes or snake meat. Pet snakes will smell like poop and urine if you don’t clean their cages often and thoroughly enough. They themselves don’t have an odor. The cooked meat also has very little smell.

Christopher Lombard

Votes: 8289

Snakes themselves don’t have a strong aroma but Thier enclosures do. Usually a smell reminiscent of an old uncleaned public restroom with a tiny fishy or rotten meat smell.

Tracy Nicole Jenkins

Votes: 1879

The smell of a snake is hard to describe but it is very unique. Once you’ve smelled it, you will always associate that smell with a snake. Herpetologists call it musk but it’s not the kind of musk perfume you can buy in the store. Most people agree it stinks but those who keep snakes (like me) come to enjoy it. Maybe kinda like old shoes? I can’t think of anything that it smells like to help you visualize what it’s like. Sorry 🙁

Melanie Melancon

Votes: 6870

I don’t know if it is every snake, but having found more than a few snakes in my chickenyard, I can tell you that this particular snake smells strongly like fish. So strongly, that I can tell there has been a snake, or maybe there currently IS a snake…in the yard just from smell alone.

I’m not sure of the species, but I believe it to be a Texas Rat Snake Texas rat snake – Wikipedia

Stefan Pociask

Votes: 3638

This is kind of a complicated subject despite the seeming simplicity of it. The answer is… yes… and no.

It’s been pretty much “well-known” that you can use cat urine to help deter rodents from entering your home. For years, people have used a solution as simple as using kitty litter in strategic places to keep away mice and rats. This has worked… sort of.

The reason I’m being so ambiguous with this is because it’s not cut and dry. Cat urine… in fact all urine… contains a chemical called phenylethylamine. This is the specific ingredient that affects prey species such as rodents, and elicits a response. People have used wolf urine to keep away coyotes, bobcat urine to keep away squirrels, and yes, cat urine to keep away rodents. There are two things going on here. One, is that an animal such as a coyote will smell the phenylethylamine, and two, the coyote will smell other chemicals to identify that urine as coming from a wolf. Both are needed to have a behavioral effect on the animal in question.

For instance, a coyote smelling only the wolf identifier will not necessarily react in a way that will keep the coyote away. It simply imparts knowledge to the coyote for the coyote to use as it proceeds. The chemical phenylethylamine on the other hand, has an actual effect on the brain… a chemical effect. And it’s this combination that causes a behavioral change, i.e.: keeping away from the area. The wolf identifier alone leaves the coyote choices to make. This is the same as when a coyote smells a wolf scent… not wolf urine, but just the general scent given off by the body of a wolf. The coyote will be wary, but not necessarily will it produce a reaction much beyond that. However, the phenylethylamine causes a chemical reaction that can’t be ignored by the brain. The reaction is related to the fight or flight response. Both aspects are needed for the coyote to be strongly motivated to exit the area.

For instance… since phenylethylamine exists in all urine, it is also present in cat urine. But cat urine will obviously not keep away a coyote. So this is a species specific situation. This shows the difference between when a predator “marks” a territory, and when that predator simply is present in the territory. These two situations have different effects on the species that is lower down on the food chain.

Okay, so there’s that. This is why species-specific urine has been used over the years to act as a repellent for various “pest” species. But… there’s a “but”.

This phenylethylamine, as I mentioned, has a chemical effect on the brain. That part is automatic. Essentially (but not exactly) it could be said to be similar to a sub-conscious effect. But the identifying scent of a predator, on the other hand, involves conscious decision. And conscious decisions are related to experience and learning. An animal learns about danger in part through experience. Cause and effect. “This smell is dangerous because when I smell it, I’ve seen wolves, and wolves have chased me, and wolves can tear me apart!”.

In the wild, this is pretty much the case in all predator-prey relationships. Smelling a wolf usually leads to seeing a wolf and maybe even being chased by a wolf.

Okay, so I said all of that in order to now directly address cat urine and rodents. Things change a bit from the scenario above because spreading cat urine, or kitty litter around, is not a “natural” and wild situation.

Domestic cats don’t go around spraying on every item that you want to keep mice away from. Oh, they might spray a bush or tree here and there, but they are not making a circle of urine around your house. Doing so produces an artificial situation. And here’s where the problem is. A mouse coming upon a deposit of kitty litter or cat urine will initially react just like the coyote above. The chemical will kick in and when combined with the smell of cat, the mouse will high-tail it out of there. But after a while, if there is no cat around… and only the scent… the learned reaction of fear will no longer be effective. There is cat smell, but no cat. “I smell a cat, but I’ve never been chased by this cat and it seems there are no bad consequences to smelling this smell”. So now, we have eliminated one of the two necessary aspects of the repellent. And here is where things backfire. The chemical is still there… still having a biochemical effect on the brain of the mouse… but no consequences. So the phenylethylamine now does something else. For the males, it makes the mice more aggressive, which increases their pheromones and also puts their mating drive into high gear. This, in turn, makes the males more attractive to the females. It hyper-sexualizes things. There is still the perceived aspect of a predator around, and the perceived aspect of danger, but with the increased aggressiveness of the males, this makes the females see these males as strong survivors and fighters, and therefore desirable mates… which is generally a pretty universal attractant to most species on Earth. Females seek out the strongest mates to procreate with.

So, you see… when cat urine is used artificially, it does not have the same end result as urine “markings” in the wild. The constant pressure from, and the actual danger of the predator, must be present in order for it to act as a long-term deterrent. In the wild, that is the case. Even with domestic cats, if there is a healthy population of feral cats in any area, this is essentially a wild state and mice and rats will be deterred by this. But if that’s the case, there won’t be any need for spreading kitty litter or cat urine around anyway, because there is already predatory pressure by all the outdoor cats. But if that is not the case… then artificial use of cat urine could very quickly have the opposite effect on a population of rodents. The aggressiveness of, and therefore the mating of, rodents will increase more than would be the case if the cat urine applied artificially was not used at all. The rodents will be super-charged! And at the very least, the urine will have no practical effect at all, in decreasing their presence in areas that you want to keep them away from.

On the surface, this seems like a simple matter of the rodents “getting used to” the kitty litter or urine, and therefore eventually ignoring it. But the reasons behind it are a bit more complex than that, as I’ve explained above. This is why it works in the wild, but not very effective in artificially created situations. At least not long-term.

Finally, let me point out that this was a very simplified and narrow explanation. The subject of chemical communication is extremely deep and complex. Volumes have been written and studied, and volumes more are to come as we continue to delve into the complexities of this. Above, I merely touched on the subject of using cat urine as a repellent for rodents, and some of the findings on this specific subject. But it should be noted that mere urine is not exactly the same fluid as that which is used by many animals as “markers”… as in, when they spray objects (for several reasons). This being said… simple urine, as would be found in kitty litter, is not entirely the same as Marking Fluid, which involves specific glands.. I’ll end it at that.

As far as snakes… no. There is no predatory pressure by cats, on snakes. So, if for that reason alone, cat urine won’t deter snakes.

Priyesh Sagar

Votes: 5017

The smells are often reminiscent of those of rotting animal carcasses. They generally depend on the specific variety of snake, however. Garter snakes (genus Thamnophis) emit odors that are overwhelmingly cloying. Rattlesnakes (genera Sistrurus and Crotalus) emit odors that are intensely musky and strong.

Donna Fernstrom

Votes: 5420

Is a dog able to smell a snake or a scent left by a snake?

A dog is able to smell who you’re related to, what you ate for the past 3 days (or more), whether or not you have skin cancer, who you shook hands with that day even if you washed your hands, and every single dog whose dried urine you’ve walked over with your shoes.

Yes, a dog can smell a snake. And where a snake has been. And whether or not the snake is gravid. And what it ate. lol

Anne Wingate

Votes: 9378

What do live snakes smell like?

I have never really noticed a smell to them.

I just called a snake expert and he says that a healthy snake has no smell. If you annoy one or scare it, it might shoot out an unpleasant musk or if it defecates on you that will be unpleasant.

If it is kept in a dirty enclosure it will smell of that.

Jim Stockley

Votes: 7352

Absolutely. I had a Jack Russell (named Batman) who, during his lifetime, killed 5 Mozambique Spitting Cobra (Naja mossambica) that I know of. He developed a technique where he got hold of the back of their heads. Unfortunately, after a long and successful career as a snake killer, at the age of 14yrs, Cobra #6 got him and he died in my arms on the steps of the vet’s surgery at 7pm one Sunday evening. Not a bad way for an old warrior to go, I suppose.

This is us, on our way to the vet after being spat in the eye by a cobra. A great dog. RIP Batman x

June Simon

Votes: 6612

What does a snake use to smell with?

What does a snake use to smell with?

“Snakes use smell to track their prey. It smells by using its forked tongue to collect airborne particles then passing them to the Jacobson’s organ or the Vomeronasal organ in the mouth for examination. The fork in the tongue gives the snake a sort of directional sense of smell and taste simultaneously. The snake keeps its tongue constantly in motion, sampling particles from the air, ground, and water analyzing the chemicals found and determining the presence of prey or predators in its local environment.”

Amy Whaley

Votes: 7247

I’ve seen other answers that summarize great connections between having a cat and reducing snake incursions, but they all miss one excellent point. I’ve lived in regions where poisonous snakes like sidewinders, water moccasins, and rattlesnakes can get close enough to human habitations that they have scared me. Yes, cats reduce the mouse/rodent populations, which can lure snakes inout your home, and cats can eat small snakes themselves. Those are terrific side-benefits for keeping kitties around.

But the scariest times I’ve encountered poisonous snakes in my home/garages/yards were all times when my kitties spotted the snakes and tried to play-attack them. By spotting these snakes and miraculously avoiding being bitten themselves, they made their human hosts (you never really own a cat, they either own you or accept your hospitality) aware of a threat in a most timely manner.

So keeping cats will not deter snakes, but can help alert you to their presence, and cats really are my heroes on this score; my dad nearly put a foot into a rattler-infested slipper one morning, but our kitty swatted it further away. He could’ve died right then, but once he had to step back and get the slipper, the snake came out, so he had a chance to see it and kill it before it bit him. This has happened with scorpions, banana spiders, and other dangerous critters that crossed our cats’ path. It really pays to have them, though dogs can do this service nearly as well also. And one cat we had was so devoted to my dad that she jumped on a large dog who was trying to sneak up on my dad and bite him; when they love us they are just as good protectors as any dog could be, don’t let the cuddly “packaging” fool you!

Mike Lodge

Votes: 6201

What organ do snakes smell with?

Their Jacobson’s organ in the roof of the mouth.

Their sticky forked tongue “catches” scent particles (flicker, flicker) outside their mouth from the air and passes it into the two “nostrils” in the roof of the mouth where it is identified.

Rebecca Billy

Votes: 8497

When I was growing up, the favored tool for dispatching rattlers was a shovel or garden hoe. One quick, sharp chop to remove the head was an efficient way to dispatch the squirmers.

Years later, when I lived in the green country of Oklahoma, where cottonmouths and copperheads are common (and don’t give you fair warning), they used to find their way into the house during warmer weather. I once encountered a sizeable copperhead lying on the cool tile floor in the hallway outside my bedroom. My son, who was still in diapers at the time, walked right past it without noticing. I cautioned him to stay where he was and pointed out the snake. Then I had a dilemma. If I went out to the garden shed for a shovel, I’d have to either leave my son in the house alone (with the snake) or I’d have to cross the snake’s path to get my son, and cross its path again on my way to fetch a shovel. And, by the time I returned, the snake could be anywhere in the house.

So, reminding my son to stay where he was–and thankfully he did–I took a few steps into the utility room, and grabbed the first likely weapon I could reach, a heavy iron-headed claw hammer, like so…

…and used it to smash in the snake’s head, sharpish. Understand, the handle on such a hammer is only about 8 inches, which is closer to a venomous snake than I ever wanted to get, and I couldn’t afford to miss. Even though I’d behaved calmly up until that instant, when I struck the snake, I delivered something like five or six blows—literal overkill.

I’m not suggesting that a hammer is the preferred tool for killing a snake, but, as in many cases, the best tool is often the one nearest to hand. Snakes can move quickly, and hide anywhere, so if it’s necessary to kill one, you’d best do it expediently.

For the record, I don’t recommend using this method on cottonmouths. They are deadly, aggressive snakes, who attack suddenly, like shot from a cannon. Their reach is farther than you would think, and–unlike most snakes–they don’t just attack when frightened or startled. A cottonmouth will attack you just for the hell of it, because you’re there, or they don’t like your looks. Their bites are potentially fatal and, even if you get immediate medical treatment with antivenin, they can make you very sick and leave terrible scars.

All that said, there is a particular weapon that is very effective against snakes. Not too long after this event, someone was “kind” enough to dump their unwanted, pregnant pet nearby–something that happens all too often if you live at the end of a dirt road in the country. If you want to get rid of your snake problem, get yourself a couple of these badass killing machines:

Cute, right? Feed them canned tuna, brush them, and let them laze around indoors all day, and they might just seem like a sweet companion for your dear old auntie. But don’t let that fool you. Cats are murderous by nature. Let them live outdoors, keep them healthy but slighly underfed, and love on them just enough that they remember where home is–and they will become excellent mousers. No field mice means no dinner for hungry snakes. After a couple weeks of hunting, the snakes will disappear–off to richer pastures.

And, if you’re lucky, you’ll have a Great Hunter, who will kill off baby snakes before they’re large enough to cause much harm.

I had one of these cats, rangy and scrappy and prone to leaving trophies at my front door. Her name was St. Gertrude the Lesser, and she was known to bring home entire armadillos (three times her size) for her siblings to feast upon. I would walk out the front door to find snake heads, bunny tails, armadillo scutes, and opossum tails pretty much any day of the week. Never saw another living snake on the property. Highly recommended.

Joseph Carl Allen

Votes: 3193

I had a cat named Hobie who was a snake killer. It was an unequal fight. The snakes had no chance. Cats are simply too fast and agile for most snakes, at least in cooler climates. Hobie would bring large rat snakes and rattlesnakes home. He would twirl them around in his jaws to make them dizzy and then throw them into the air. It rained rattlesnakes at my house. They would be stunned for a few minutes, but would then try to get away. Hobie would follow them and bat at their tails. The snake would turn and try to bite, but the cat was much too fast. He would go around the snake, pick it up by the tail again, twirl it around and throw it. He apparently thought it was lots of fun.

Several of my other cats also hunted smaller snakes. They were always easy prey if they could be caught in the open.

Jody Gray

Votes: 3002

Dogs do not “smell fear.” They cannot “detect” adrenaline or cortisol.

Rather, they are experts at reading body-language. They are, however, acutely aware of body postures and demeanor.

For instance, they are moved to action and/or threatened when they are directly stared at. Fearful persons look right at the dogs they are afraid of, thereby antagonizing them, etc.

This is all because of canine instincts for social/pack interaction, where posture and behavior are exquisitely informing. For instance, no lesser-status wolf ever stares at the Alpha. Groveling, rolling over to expose the belly, peeing, etc. are signs of submission, intended to avoid punishments.

Jack ButlerAndreea Monica

Votes: 1383

We had the same problem, although for the most part everyone got along for a long time. The first couple of years of TNRing lowered our resistance to having a garden full of animals. Never having owned a cat before, let alone a colony of ferals, I had no real idea so I’d put the food out in the afternoon and monitor it all.

As a new migrant, I’d never seen raccoons except on TV so I essentially sealed my own fate. They were just so damn cute. Come on, you probably think koalas are cute. My adult kids and the grandkids were absolutely delighted when they visited, this was a big drawcard.

For two years, everything went well apart from the cat food bill, and the water bowls being turned to mud overnight. Then, 3 or 4 years ago our most combative neutered tom was badly injured by one or more raccoons on our back deck and had to be euthanized.

So, we started waiting until at least first light before putting food out and bringing it in around dusk and within a few weeks the raccoons stopped coming around. Almost completely. I still see a group of big boys wandering around the garden if I’m up in the early hours, but soon leave when they find nothing to eat. They still eat my daffodil bulbs.

One small female still turns up around dusk, and in Spring if I sit up on a full moon I can watch her and a couple of cubs roll around in the back garden. I leave maybe one cup of crunchers in a small pile on the concrete path next to a bowl of water some twenty feet from the deck and in four years, so far we’ve had no more incidents, and very little mess. It’s a calculated risk but hey – you’d do it for koalas and kangaroos until the novelty wore off, wouldn’t you?

Hannah LembckeDonna Fernstrom

Votes: 5576

It will die in agonizing pain for the crime of being an animal you didn’t like.

Any snake you can see cannot hurt you unless you let it – snakes don’t chase people or attack them. If left alone, it will leave you alone. I’ve accidentally gotten very close to copperheads and cottonmouths and they did nothing – just don’t step on them and you’re fine.

Snakes don’t bite people if left alone, but they do bite rodents (well, most species do). Rodents spread disease, cause damage to homes and vehicles, damage food and crops/gardens, and cause tons of problems. Just let them be and they’ll help you far more than you realize.

Brett Sanderson

Votes: 2227

Do snakes like the smell of bleach/clorox?

I wouldn’t think snakes would like the scent of bleach at all. Snakes don’t really ‘smell’, the way they sense things is to taste the air. When you see a snake sticking out it’s tongue, they are tasting the air of their surroundings. That’s how they compensate for not being able to smell things properly.

Bleach has a strong scent / taste to it that I would imagine is quite repulsive to snakes.

Deck Travis

Votes: 9525

There is the simple line “red and black friend of Jack!” If the red and black coloring touch, king snake non poisonous.

If the saying comes out “red and yellow, kill a fellow!” As below, with the red and yellow colors touching, then it is a coral snake and is poisonous. It’s best not to attempt picking either one up if your not absolutely sure. You could spend several days in the hospital as several people have thinking they were attempting to pick up a king snake when they got bit by a coral snake.

Roger Morris

Votes: 5569

Can snakes smell their own scent?

There was a talking snake in the garden of Eden, but, it is not recorded in the scriptures, if Adam asked that exact question.

KEᒪᒪY ᗰOᒪᒪOY

Votes: 7546

Snakes do use their tongues to smell! Snakes have nostrils, just like humans. But a snake’s tongue is also very important.

When a snake flicks its tongue in the air, it picks up tiny chemical particles. When the snake brings its tongue back into its mouth, the tongue fits into a special organ on the roof of the mouth.

This special organ is called the vomeronasal system. The vomeronasal system takes those tiny chemical particles and tells the snake what they are. This way the snake “smells” things like dirt, plants and other animals. This way of smelling the world can help a snake avoid predators or help the snake catch food.

Chris Reid

Votes: 8728

Yes, a dead snake does smell bad very, very quickly – certainly, when you’ve got pet snakes, you do know within hours if one passes away, particularly if they’re considerate enough to go to the big terrarium in the sky on the warm end of the enclosure because heating equipment does accelerate the chemical processes that mark the start of decomposition.

It’s a very pervasive smell that “goes through walls” and I experience it mostly as “slightly ammonia-like, but with an overtone of rotten egg”. I have a pretty poor sense of smell, so there are almost certainly other aspects to it that I’m missing – but the fact that I can smell it at all suggests that what’s *bad* for me is *awful* for other people.

Petter Häggholm

Votes: 6564

Who would win a fight between a domestic house cat and a poisonous snake?

Who would win a fight between a domestic house cat and a poisonous snake?

Very, very few snakes are known to be poisonous—even venomous snakes are virtually never poisonous. The most common poisonous snake is the common garter snake, which can store poison from its prey, such as newts.

The garter snake is not a large snake, and though its bite is venomous, the venom is not particularly strong. I don’t see how a garter snake would really harm a cat at all.

The cat wins, therefore. Of course, if it goes on to eat the snake, that could kill the cat — that’s how poisonous animals work, after all.

Denise Lemmel

Votes: 8696

Will a cat eat a snake?

Yes. If they can kill a snake, they will eat it. I’ve seen several cats attack snakes, sometimes the cat wins and some don’t. But, snakes are alot of protein for the cats, so therefore they will consume the snake.

Melinda Sanchez

Votes: 7894

Why are snakes scared of cats?

Snakes are timid animals with a single mode of attack.

Cats are fast, bold, apex predators with a variety of attack modes.

Snakes are sensible to be afraid. As snakes’ vision is largely dependant upon movement, an agile and dynamically unpredictable opponent would be deeply confusing.

Cats are very likely to attack snakes as the snake due to their fascinating movements. The faster the poor things wriggle away, the more aggressive the cat is likely to become.

Eric L. Peters

Votes: 7210

What does a snake in heat smell like?

Only mammals “go into heat” (estrus). Some snakes do release pheromones during the mating season. Most reptile sex pheromones so far described are lipid molecules that are too large to diffuse through the air. They are detected via direct contact (tongue-flicking) with another animal’s body or substrate-deposited trails. The only non-lipid pheromone reported in snakes involves courtship termination in red-sided gartersnakes (Thamnophis sirtalis parietalis): males that encounter this airborne odor stop courtship activities.

Kay Birkinshaw

Votes: 1932

What To Do With A Dead Snake [Your Options To Consider]

Donna Fernstrom

Votes: 4654

How do snakes smell using their tongue?

Snakes gather microscopic particles on the tips of their tongue, then transfer them into their mouth in contact with the Jacobson’s organ, a pheromone-detecting organ in the roof of the mouth.

Snakes also smell using their noses, though this gets less attention in literature. They have ordinary olfactory receptors as well as using their Jacobson’s organ to detect prey.

Zed Child

Votes: 6888

First off, snakes want even less to do with you, than you want to do with them. A very good example is there’s a huge western diamondback that lives about 1km down the road from me. It’s at least 70″ long and thicker in the middle than i could hold with one hand closed and still have several inches of space between my thumb and middle finger. Its thicker than my forearm! So, i see this snake and its always by the side of the road as I’m walking. Twice now, had the snake not darted when my foot hit the ground less than 6 inches from its head, i never would have even seen it. The dozen or so sightings have all resulted in the snake leaving away from me soon as it knows I’m/somebody is there. And as i said, twice it could have easily bit me. But it chooses to retreat.

Now, what to do if you come upon a snake. If possible, do not get closer to it. Either move away or let it move away. If you absolutely must, i would suggest a firearm. A handgun will work, as long as you know how to handle one. A long gun, like a shotgun, will work very well. A .410, which is a very small bore with little recoil will kill any snake you’d find in the USA. If you don’t have or want to use a firearm, a machete will work. But it does require you and the snake to get very close.

I’ve wrangled about a dozen snakes that were in the house over the last 20 years. Copperheads are the most common around here. While the probably would not kill a human that is fully grown, the bite can be very bad. I did have the good fortune to wrangle a Coral inside my foyer. It was big for a Coral: about 20″. Those are deadly. But they have a very small mouth so unless they tag you on your feet or hands, they won’t be able to bite you.

If you live where snake lives, be very mindful of where you walk. Do not wear sandals or open-toed shoes, and if they are about, like in the woods or brush, wear boots and long pants. You may also want to check with your state park service or local animal control. I know they often will have short classes on snake protocol; what to do, and where you’re most likely to find them. Remember, they just want to live and they really do not want to be near you at all. So, try not to kill them if it can be avoided.

Ken Jayne

Votes: 1289

Yes, snakes can squeeze through very, very small openings that are found in most houses.

I have found several in various residences through the years. The one that I remember best was when I was a youngster, about 12 years old. We lived in a rural area and there was a swamp about 100 yards away. We had a drought and the swamp dried up. One morning my mother walked from the living room down a step into the dining room. On the step, she saw what she thought was my little brother’s toy rubber snake. When she bent down to pick it up, it moved, and she screamed. it was a small cottonmouth moccasin! I killed it and began to look for others. (Cottonmouths give birth to live baby snakes which are already equipped with fangs and venom. If there is one, there are probably more.) I looked around the house and discovered many little snakes in the crawl space under the house. It was cool and damp, and the mother must have moved there from the swamp. Fortunately, I had seen a very large king snake in an old roadbed on the back of our property the day before. I found him, caught him, and brought him down to the house and put him into the crawl space. Never saw any more cottonmouths, the rat population in the feed house went to zero, and the king snake lived there for some time. I had to move him because he became semi-tame and would come out whenever a car pulled up. (Curious, I guess…) He never hurt anyone, but mother’s friends objected to being met by the resident guard, and I had to move him back to his roadbed home.

We also had a black racer which lived in the wheel well of a travel trailer that we had on some lake property. He kept the mice away, and you could open the door to the storage compartment over the wheel well and show him to visitors. He was friendly, but somewhat shy. When we were transferred and sold the trailer, several neighbors wanted “Blackie”, but the buyer of the trailer wanted him, so he was first in line. A few days later, I went back to the trailer to pick up something that I had forgotten. To my shock and horror, I found “Blackie” chopped into pieces! I angrily called the new owner, and he apologized, but he said, “Blackie would not let us into the trailer. He met us at the door and was very aggressive. We had to kill him to get in.” Apparently, since the new owner was a stranger and we weren’t with him, Blackie thought that he was defending his home and family……It was a shame.

Vinay Venkatesh

Votes: 4782

Will my budgies (or love birds) survive the Chennai summer heat (as high as 40 degrees Celsius) if I keep them on my balcony the whole day?

Budgies in the wild are desert birds and are used to high temperatures.

Ive housed my budgies outside in my balcony for the last 5 years and have never encountered any issues.

There are a few key points to consider;


Votes: 4484

Do copperheads really smell like cucumber?

I have heard several herpetologists say that some people report smelling cucumbers when the copperhead is agitated.

My experience as a child was that while in the NC forest I suddenly smelled cucumbers. I thought it odd and instinct told me to get out of there. When I told adults I had smelled cucumbers in the forest they advised that I was near a pissed off copperhead(s). I stopped going into the NC forest alone.

Renald Lucas Quinn

Votes: 2991

Who will win in a fight, a Komodo dragon or an African rock python?


1.) The animals start out ten feet in front of each other

In general unless the African rock python is significantly larger than said dragon, or manages to ambush it. The chances are slim of a successful win. Because while they have taken down Crocodiles usually they got a fast drop on the croc, or there was a vast size difference. Also the size difference is too close that a python wouldn’t even want to swallow a Komodo, at maximum both weigh 200 pounds, the snake only gets longer at 16 feet.

Here’s why the Komodo wins

Komodo ar Exeter at upfront fighting, and even if the python bites the K

Julie Schultz

Votes: 5537

A raccoon has been coming onto the back porch each night to eat leftover cat food. We no longer keep it out, but he keeps coming. He just walked up and is sniffing me. I am supposed to remain still and calm, right?

Are you always out when he comes? When our stray cats decided to move into the house, we realized that raccoons (and the occasional opossum) had also been chowing down on their food. We have no life, so watching the raccoons eat on the patio is great entertainment for us. ~LOL~ We still buy the cheap cat food, but we now call it “critter food.” They even have their own water bowls.

Just be still and try not to have too much direct eye contact. Talk to him in a soothing voice, like I do ours. For the most part, we watch them from inside the house, but I do have to interact with them some when I

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