Everglades Racer Removal and Control
Everglades Racer (Coluber constrictor paludicola)
Believe it or not, snakes can be great to have around. After all, they love to eat rodents! But when they move inside (or even near to) our homes, often something must be done. Here’s what you need to know when dealing with a possible racer snake on your property.
Everglades Racer Habits
Everglades racers are found throughout southern Florida in the Everglades region, the northern Florida Keys, and around Cape Canaveral in Brevard Co. They are commonly found in pinelands, hardwood hammocks, prairies, cypress strands, melaleuca forests, and limestone outcroppings.
At adulthood, Everglades racers reach 2.5 – 5 feet long (66-157 cm). Adult color typically is slate gray, but there are brownish-gray, bluish, or greenish variations; the underbelly is a uniform grey to black. The chin and throat are white. Juvenile color is gray with reddish brown blotches fading into a solid-colored tail.
Racers are fast moving, highly active, diurnal (active during the day) snakes. Everglades racer diet consists primarily of small rodents (including common household pests such as rats and mice), small birds, chipmunks, lizards, toad and frogs, and other snakes. Juveniles often consume soft-bodied insects, such as crickets and moths.
Despite their scientific name of constrictor, they do not constrict to suffocate their prey, but hold it in place and subdue it. Small prey items are often simply swallowed alive.
They are curious snakes with excellent vision, and will sometimes raise their head above the grasses they are crawling in to see their surroundings. Racers can flee quickly from potential predators. However, once cornered they put up a vigorous fight, biting hard and often. They are difficult to handle and will writhe, defecate and release a foul smelling musk from their cloaca. Rattling their tails among dry leaves, racers can sound convincingly like rattlesnakes. They are not poisonous, but their bites can be painful. If bitten by a racer, see a doctor; even with nonpoisonous bites there’s a small risk of infection.
Everglades Racer Snake Control
There are several steps to dealing with snake problems: making your property less inviting to snakes; discouraging the presence of, or getting rid of, the rodents and other small animals they feed upon; and dealing with any snakes that are already there.
Discouraging Snakes around the house
In wooded, rural and riparian settings where snakes are common, their presence (and the presence of rodents) can be discouraged by eliminating stands of tall vegetation and removing piles of rock, lumber, and debris that might attract snakes to search for prey or to seek shelter. Closing entrances to rodent burrows make an area less attractive to snakes.
Keeping snakes out of a home, garage, or building is very similar to keeping out rodents. Structural gaps and crevices larger than 1/4 inch and within three feet of grade should be closed off; snakes can pass through very small openings. Crawlspace vents should not have screens with larger than 1/4 inch mesh. If snakes are gaining access into a building, a thorough search should be made for cracks in the foundation, unscreened crawlspace vents, holes or tears in mesh or screens, and gaps around basement window frames. It is important to check clearance under doors, and look for improper sealing where plumbing and utility lines enter the building.
There’s a variety of snake repellents: scent-based and ultrasonic. They’ve had mixed to no effectiveness in keeping snakes away. Save your money and efforts for the habitat modifications listed here. If you pay for a snake treatment around your home to solve a racer snake problem, You will be truly disappointed with the results that you will achieve.
Rodent Proofing Your Home
Many of these steps echo the measures mentioned above for keeping snakes out of a structure, but they more entrances for snakes or rats you can close, the better:
· Repair or replace damaged ventilation screen around the foundation and under eaves.
· Provide a tight fitting cover for the crawl space.
· Seal all openings around pipes, cables, and wires that enter through walls or the foundation.
· Be sure all windows that can be opened are screened and that the screens are in good condition.
· Cover all chimneys with a spark arrester.
· Make sure internal screens on roof and attic air vents are in good repair.
· Cover rooftop plumbing vent pipes in excess of 2 inches in diameter with screens over their tops.
· Make sure all exterior doors are tight fitting and weatherproofed at the bottom.
· Seal gaps beneath garage doors with a gasket or weather stripping.
· Install self-closing exits or screening to clothes dryer vents to the outside.
· Remember that pet doors into the house or garage provide an easy entrance for rodents.
· Keep side doors to the garage closed, especially at night.
· Keep your trees trimmed, and your bushes and vines thinned. Make sure trees are trimmed back from the house at least 4 feet.
· Keep lids on garbage cans.
· Clean up all debris in the yard and storage areas.
· Seal around your attic.
· Don't leave pet food outside, especially at night.
· Pick your citrus as soon as it is ripe. Remove any fallen citrus from the ground.
· Store wood at least 18 inches above the ground and 12 inches away from walls.
· Eliminate standing water and fix leaky faucets.
If you do have mice or rats on your home, please see other articles on this website for details on how to best deal with them.
Everglades Racer Snake Removal
We recommend that you not kill snakes. In some areas of the country, racer snake populations are declining. In addition, killing snakes may result in a population explosion of the animals they preyed upon. Which would you rather deal with: a few snakes, or an infestation of rats or mice? Taking the steps listed above will help keep the snakes at bay.
Glue traps are a good way to catch snakes; vegetable oil spray will release the snake from the trap. There are several available online. Before you start, though, you need to be sure what kind of snake you have. If you have any doubt about which kind of snake you have, or if you are unwilling to deal with the trapped snake after it’s been caught, a call to a pest control company is warranted. You can find More Snake Removal Information Here.