No matter where you are in St. Mary, you’re never too far away from nature. When it comes to our culture and lifestyle, we take pride in that fact. But, when nature presents itself by way of alligators and snakes in our school yards, shopping center parking lots, and homes it can be unnerving. Considering recent news reports and community talk about incidents involving wildlife, we thought we’d share what we’re seeing in the areas patrolled by the St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office.
March and April are typically peak months for alligator complaints. Last year from January to this time in April deputies had responded to 9 reports of alligators sighted in areas where they were not supposed to be. But so far this year, among the 106 total animal related complaints, the St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office has responded to 3 reports of alligators. 2 of the animals were removed and returned to their habitat by patrol deputies. Another, spotted in a yard, was estimated to be around 12 feet. Wildlife and Fisheries was contacted. Although alligator complaints are down, what we have noted are 6 complaints of snakes in residences and yards across the parish. In most of the incidents, the snake was removed by patrol deputies and returned to the wild.
St. Mary Parish Sheriff's Shooting Range, Centerville, LA 4/28/17
Understanding snake behavior is the first step in keeping the unwelcomed guests out of your home. The frequently asked questions below are from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries web page, which is linked here. The LDWF website also lists the different types of snakes found in Louisiana. Of course, we caution residents from approaching wildlife and kids should be taught the potential dangers of encountering wild animals.
Is there any way to keep snakes out of a house or yard? The best method of reducing or eliminating snake numbers around yards is to remove cover: mow grass and vegetation, and remove trash, lumber and brick piles. Most snakes that enter houses are of non-venomous varieties: rat snakes, brown snakes, etc. Entrance seems most often to be gained through open doors or holes leading from the foundation or crawlspace. Holes cut in washrooms and beneath sinks for pipes are often big enough to allow entry by snakes. Rat snakes are excellent climbers and can get into attics and chimneys. Eliminating access points for snakes is the best prevention. Snake-proofing yards would be difficult and expensive. Snakes can burrow and climb, so that fencing would need to be sunk 1-2 feet into the ground, and be tall and slick enough to prevent snakes from climbing. Fortunately, Louisiana's venomous snakes rarely climb. See also the section on Control of Snakes.
How do I keep snakes out of my house? Most snakes that enter houses are of non-venomous varieties: rat snakes, brown snakes, etc. Entrance seems most often to be gained through open doors or holes leading from the foundation or crawlspace. Holes cut in washrooms and beneath sinks for pipes are often big enough to allow entry by snakes. Rat snakes are excellent climbers and can get into attics and chimneys, as well as into walls via gaps in exterior siding. Small snakes are sometimes brought indoors by pets. Eliminating access points for snakes is the best prevention.
How do I remove a snake that is in my house or car? Snakes are experts at hiding themselves, and once inside of a home can be nearly impossible to locate. They will tend to remain concealed during the day, or when there is activity in the house. They may leave cover only when the lights are out and human activity stops for the night. At that point, they may be discovered in the open by quickly going through the house and turning on lights. Snakes that are seen to crawl into the underside of a vehicle are usually excluded from entering the passenger compartment. Snakes can usually be driven out from the undercarriage of a vehicle by parking it in direct sunlight for several hours.
St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office
Public Information Office