Leaving cat or dog food out for stray cats is an admirable act of kindness, but it can backfire if you’re not careful. The smell of kibble attracts rodents to your home, and snakes will follow their prey wherever it goes. But pet food isn’t the only food source to look out for: bird feeders, open trashcans, unharvested fruits and vegetables, and any other source of food could attract pests as well.
To learn more about the ways rodents get into your home, read Rodent Alert: Ways You May Be Inviting Mice into Your Home.
- Whenever possible, feed your pets indoors.
- If you have outdoor animals or feed stray animals, teach them to have a feeding schedule instead of leaving food out for them all day. Make sure to put away any leftover food.
- Leave food out in the open. Rodents are afraid of open spaces, so leaving a food bowl in the middle of the lawn may deter them from stealing the kibble.
- Shut or seal any other potential food sources in the yard or garden.
Did you set up a pretty birdbath to attract birds into your yard? Apart from birds, it could attract other, less than welcome scaly critters as well. Natalie Barrett, a pest control expert points out the following, "Snakes do need water to survive, so if you have an easily accessible birdbath in the garden, chances are that you'll attract snakes."
Several snake species prefer wet environments, and with the added opportunity to snatch a bird, a birdbath seems like the best habitat ever. The same can be said about other sources of water, such as fish ponds, pools, or even large puddles after heavy rain.
- Prevention is key when it comes to water sources. A smart way to prevent these pests from getting into your home is to have a fence around fish ponds or your entire yard.
- Putting birdbaths in open spaces or raising the height in your yard can prevent some snakes from getting into them. Even though some snakes are good climbers, many are too small to climb up high.
- Trimming the grass around sources of water can help too. Even though snakes like cooling off in the water, they also need a place to hide after their swim. If you keep the plant life around the pond or birdbath sparse, you’ll deprive them of a potential hiding spot.
Any structure in your yard that’s shaded and damp is the perfect hiding spot for snakes. Woodpiles, decorative rock constructions, gaps in the foundation, and sheds are all favorite shelter options for these reptiles.
- Seal any holes or cracks in the foundation of your home, garage, or shed with some cement.
- Move any woodpiles or rock piles as far away from your home or any other structures as possible. Raising any woodpiles may also help prevent pests from turning them into a shelter.
- If you have snakes living in your garage or shed, lowering the heat or humidity can chase them away. Most snakes prefer between 40-50% humidity and cold temperatures, so using a dehumidifier can be helpful.