Non-venomous Snake Control

Snakes fall into two categoriesBull snake predating mallard duck eggs. NGPC photo

  • Venomous
  • Non-venomous



Snakes usually make their presence known in one of two ways:

  • Visualized
  • Snake skins


  • Snakes are generally beneficial. Small snakes eat insects, arthropods, earthworms, mollusks; large species eat small mammals, nestling or adult birds.
  • Garter snakes can eat minnows.
  • Photo at left. Bull snake eating eggs of mallard duck Photographer: NEBRASKALAND Magazine/Nebraska Game and Parks Comm.
  • Phobias: Most problems with snakes come from human fear of them. Many people react to snakes at a visceral level. We strongly encourage people to increase their understanding of snakes to help them reduce those fears which are not supported by the facts.

Legal Considerations

Non-venomous snakes are typically classified as non-game animals. Some species will have additional protections due to their threatened or endangered status.

Control Methods

Habitat Modification

  • Exclusion: snakes don't gnaw into buildings. They can only exploit an opening that is already present.
    • seal openings or use mesh fence of 1/4 inch;
    • install a fence barrier around an area you wish to keep snake free. Click for snake barrier information.
  • Reduce snake friendly habitat:
    • mow or remove vegetation
    • remove debris, rock & woodpiles,
    • reduce rodent prey


  • Several products are on the market. However, evidence supporting their effectiveness has had mixed results.


  • Several glue-based traps are on the market. These are very effective in capturing snakes and allow for release as well.  Trapping is only effective if the weather is warm enough for snake movement and if traps are properly located.
  • SnakeGuard® Trapping Tips


  • None available


  • Indoors--if looking for a snake inside a structure, concentrate attention around heat sources like the water heater, furnace, refrigerator, freezer.
  • Outdoors--focus your search where snakes can hide, such as under rock and wood piles, leaves, etc.

Snake tongs can be very helpful when needing to handle snakes.


Snakes in the News

University Publications


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