Snake removal methods are discussed

Dear Sun Spots: What can I do about keeping squirrels out of my bird feeders? I used to use a powder called “Squirrel Away” from Wal-Mart, now they don’t carry it anymore.

Also, my sister has found a snake once in awhile in her cellar. She also has pets, two dogs and three cats. How can she get rid of the snakes, if there is a way? Thanks a lot. — O.B., No Town.

Answer: You and Lise in Sabattus who also inquired about chipmunks in her feeders may be interested in a catalog clipping sent in from a reader in Jay that listed the following items:

Squirrel chaser, which comes in a set of three bags to be hung on the tree or near the feeder. The bags contain the natural scent of animal hair that “scares off those little critters!” Each bag lasts up to six months.

Scoot Repellent comes in a pump sprayer and can be sprayed around dormers and small openings, but is not to be used in vegetable gardens.

Squirrel Away is a powder made of capsaicin pepper enriched powder. Sprinkle a tablespoon of the powder into the bird seed and squirrels will not eat the seed. They call it “a safe, effective and inexpensive squirrel deterrent.”

The products are available from Picket Fence. Visit to view the products or contact customer service from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, at 1-888-488-3088.

In response to your second request, Sun Spots can’t attest to one way to get rid of snakes, but we found some tips from the Mississippi State University Extension Service that may help you.

They note that the most effective way to discourage snakes around a home is to make the area unattractive to them. Remove their habitat, including hiding places, foraging areas and food resources.

If a snake enters your home, it may be because they are attracted by the
warmth on cold days or the coolness on hot days. They may enter through
a hole in the foundation or outer house structure, or they may crawl
under a door or through a basement window. If this occurs, remove them,
then close the access to keep them out.

One good way to remove a
snake is to sweep it with a broom into a large bucket, then release it
at a site as far away from houses as possible. It usually serves very
little practical purpose to kill the snake. In fact, many snakes
provide great benefit to humans by keeping rodent populations low.

If you cannot find the snake to
capture it but think one is present in the home, consider using one of the two following techniques:

Place rumpled damp cloths (for example, a
burlap bag) on the floor near a place the snake is likely to be. Cover
it with a dry one. The rumples provide spaces for snakes to enter under
the cloth. The cloths are attractive to snakes because they provide a
cool, damp, dark place for them to hide. You will probably find them
curled up in the cloth later. Remove the snake or place the pile of
cloths in a large box and carry it outside.

You can also capture snakes using rodent glue boards. Remove and
release captured snakes unharmed by pouring common cooking oil on them.
The oil breaks down the glue, then you can remove the snakes with a
stick or a pole.

They point our that no fumigants or toxicants are federally registered for snake control. Also, no repellents are currently registered for snake control. Various home remedies have been suggested for repelling snakes, and several have been tested. Treatments included moth balls, sulfur, gourd vines, a tacky bird repellent, lime, cayenne pepper spray, sisal rope, coal tar and creosote, artificial skunk scent and musk from a king snake (eats other snakes). None of these remedies prevented the snakes from crossing them. Good luck!

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