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I’ve browsed through just about all the snake related questions on this sub and haven’t seen this one yet. So here goes.

Yesterday, I found a black rat snake (almost certain, but given one of the answers on here, I am probably misidentifying the snake) about 4 feet long in my backyard. I’m in Charlotte, NC, where black rat snakes are very common. I saw this snake casually slither across my yard, crawl all the way to the other side, and casually enter a teeny hole in the underside of my outdoor generator unit. The confidence and familiarity with which this lil guy crawled in there makes it seem like there’s a nest down there. I’ve already seen a lil baby snake a few weeks back, so I’m confident on the nest part.

My question is a two part question:

  1. I understand that black rat snakes, if it is indeed one, are non-venomous. But a 4 foot long snake surely gives me the creeps. Also, I’ve been thinking about selling my generator (recently bought the house and it came with it, but I have no use for it since we hardly lose power and it runs on gas and that gives me anxiety). If I were to call someone (there are several online folks that just come pick up your generator and pay you for it), they’d absolutely refuse to take the generator if there’s a snake nest on under it. I don’t want to trick them into doing it anyway, that’s just a lawsuit waiting to happen. I highly doubt that a pest control company would have the skills required to be able to remove the generator to clear out the snakes. So my question is, how do I get this snake, and any possible babies out of this lil hole? The best answer would be I can do this without pulling the generator out to reveal a hundred snakes waiting to strike.
  2. I had the chance yesterday and I might have it again, but if I do, what do I do if I were to try to catch it? I can take all proper precautions and capture it. Then what? I live in the city. The road outside my front door has a speed limit of 35 but an average vehicle speed of 50 MPH and is a Heavy traffic area. I cannot release it in the front. The back is another house and not the woods. There aren’t any proper fences that can keep the snake away and I am positive it is bound to come back to its nest if I tried. So If and when I catch this snake, where do I put it after?

I don’t care if this snake helps with the rodents and is non-venomous, I don’t want a 4-foot snake in my yard. I’d like to not kill it, but I definitely need to do something with it that makes me feel like it does not exist in my life anymore. I hope I’m not coming off as hateful, I just really don’t like snakes.

Thank you

  • 2
    I hate snakes, Chuck! I hate ‘em! – Darren Jul 19 '20 at 18:17
  • Call animal control for your city - they likely have someone skilled in catching snakes. – bob1 Jul 19 '20 at 20:23
  • @bob1 a few years ago, he could have called this guy. – Darren Jul 19 '20 at 21:28
  • "The Humane Society of the United States says this: If you know there is a snake in your house, but you can’t find it, consider this: snakes like warmth and darkness, and a heating pad or even a pile of burlap or other material on the basement floor may attract the unwanted visitor, who can then be trapped and handled". This is in an article What to do about snakes, the Humane Society. In your case the heatuing pad should be put outside the hole under a burlap shelter. Never tried this, so can't vouch for it. – ab2 Jul 21 '20 at 1:46
  • @bob1 I tried that, they said they will only come and catch a snake if it is IN MY house. Since the generator is outside, they refuse. And even if they think the hole under my generator warrants a visit, I highly doubt they'd send someone who would take the liability of opening up the gas generator to get to where this lil buddy is. So, that wouldn't work for me :( – Crazy Cucumber Jul 21 '20 at 16:03
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You could do what I did for a friendly family of skunks under my front porch. Set up a one-way trapdoor that lets it go out but doesn't let it back in. That's what the exterminator was going to do for $500, did it myself.

Might be a simple as glueing/taping a clear piece of plastic that it can easily push out from the inside, but can't push aside from the outside.

  • That is a good idea, I will try doing this. Making it not too taut so it does not struggle to push out but still impossible to push into. Thank you for the suggestion! – Crazy Cucumber Aug 10 '20 at 13:42
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The safest thing to do is assume that the snake you saw is dangerous one. Based on that, if I were you, I would have called in the snake rescue experts. These guys are the best bet you have for your and the snake's safety into consideration.

Assuming you are correct about Black Rat snake, these are non-venomous, oviparous meaning the ones that lay egg for reproduction and have a typical breeding season from May to June. The eggs would hatch in about 30 to 50 days.

I wouldn't gamble with the snake nest part because most of the species of snakes don't stay back for a long time. For most of the species the new-born snakes usually slither away quickly for an independent life. However, the Black Rat Snakes have tendency to stay around the hatching area for an year or so, specifically through the winter hibernation with other snakes.

  • 1
    Oh wow, the information about the Black Rat snakes is VERY helpful. I was just revisiting the topic recently because I need to sell my generator (we don't need it and it is gas powered, this gives us anxiety) and I just tried to convince myself they have probably left by now. I might heed your advice and get the snake experts in. Don't want to risk getting bitten... Thank you so much! – Crazy Cucumber Sep 24 '20 at 13:10
  • @CrazyCucumber: Yes, please. That makes sense. Thanks for considering the 'safety first' approach. :-) – WedaPashi Sep 25 '20 at 5:43

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