Snakes in Foundation--Advice?

Hi, I don’t know if this is the proper category for this question . . . My sister lives in an old stone house (late 18th century) near Carlisle, Pennsylvania. She has discovered that the basement and foundations are full of black snakes–20-30. While she likes snakes, she can’t have that many snakes in the basement, but she doesn’t know what do about them. Ideally, she’d just like to drive them out. Does anyone have any ideas about what she could do or who she could contact for advice? She can’t be the only one to whom this has happened. Thanks in advance.

I wonder if there’s a way to make the space unattractively cool for them, perhaps with a portable air conditioning unit. Old foundations are very porous (often designed to be so) though, so it might be hard to keep the cold in.

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If by black snakes you mean black rat snakes they may be doing your sister a BIG favor. I have a naturalist friend with a similar situation, but of course he treats them as guests : ) Here is why you or your sister may want to do the same - in many places in PA Lyme disease-carrying deer (black-legged) ticks are troublesome pests. Primary hosts of the ticks are white-footed mice and other small mammals like chipmunks, which often bring the disease-carrying parasites right into your home. A ‘family’ of rat snakes can really cut down on your small mammal population around the house, and thereby help control ticks. Perhaps something worth consideration. I really wish I had that problem, but unfortunately we have too many roads for rat snakes where I live.

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Just want to second the enthusiasm for keeping basement snakes. I have a rat snake and garter snake family in mine and they are most welcome guests. They don’t cause any problems for me and they are a very important part of the ecosystem.

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There are several brands of snake deterrents on the market. I can’t testify to their effectiveness.

https://wiki.ezvid.com/best-snake-repellents
https://www.peststrategies.com/reviews/snake-products/best-snake-repellents/

DIY
https://www.pestwiki.com/homemade-diy-remedies-snakes/

Also, eliminating any food sources!

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seriously, i wish we had them too. I’ve only once seen a garter snake in our field, and we do sometimes get mice inside. You could probably also post on some herping website and have herp nerds just come get them all just because they want to hoard them or whatever. If that’s legal

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We recognize the effectiveness of the snakes–she has always had some around the house without it being a problem. I think she is just overwhelmed by the number currently. They have been crawling up windows and dropping off door lintels and getting under foot when she does laundry. I suspect it’s just too much of a good thing. She is rarely distressed by any animal.

Actually, that makes me wonder if she could contact someone at a nearby university who would know what might work without causing harm to the snakes. Maybe Penn State . . .

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Thank you–I’m going to forward the links to her.

Okay, as adorable as this little one is I could see how a hundred snakes coming out from under shingles could get to be a little overwhelming:

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/26499741

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