as shallow surface
burrows, in lawns,
Most snakes are non-poisonous, harmless, and
b a n k s , and open
beneficial. But few people want them in their home.
woodlots. They feed on
As a general guideline, poisonous snakes usually have
earthworms and insect
a large triangular head, a pit between their eye and
larvae (grubs). Only rarely seen above ground, moles
nostril, and vertical and elliptical pupils. They may
are 4-9 inches long, including the tail, with long dark
also have rattles on their tail, noticeable fangs, and a
gray or brown fur. Eyes are tiny, like a pinhead, and
single row of scales between their vent and the tip of
the tail and feet are usually pink. They have no visible
the tail. When unsure assume that the snake may be
ears. There are seven species in the United States.
poisonous and protect yourself accordingly.
As they burrow, they sometimes damage plants,
Snakes are predators. Depending on the species,
but the major problem with moles are those surface
the diet may include insects, rodents, frogs, birds,
tunnels, mounds, and ridges that disfigure lawns. As
worms, or toads. Some snakes hibernate in dens
they tunnel just below the surface, moles raise the sod
during the winter, sometimes under houses. At certain
up with their front digging feet, looking for food or
times of the year, they may enter buildings for
new tunneling sites. They can push up surface tunnels
warmth, shade, or moisture.
at the rate of a foot per minute if the soil is loose.
They prefer loose, moist soil shaded by vegetation.
Voles may use the surface burrows pushed up by
moles and feed on plant tubers.
Management and Control
Although time consuming, the most effective
method of control is by the use of traps. [Killing moles
with fumigants, poison baits, or reducing food/prey is
Since there is no easy way to know which parts of
the surface tunnels are active and which parts
abandoned, mole tunnels should be tamped down in
Management and Control
several places over the yard. Mark tamped down
If snakes are a regular problem, the best solution
sections with a peg or wire flag. If the tunnel has been
is to eliminate snake hiding places.
pushed back up the next day or so, a trap should be
Clean up brush piles, wood piles, rock
set in that place.
piles, and other debris.
Two types of traps are in general use: harpoon
Keep shrubbery away from foundations.
traps and chokers. A harpoon trap consists of two
Cut high grass.
prongs that straddle the tunnel and a set of spring-
Often, snake problems follow rodent problems.
driven spikes. The spikes are raised above the tunnel
Eliminate the rodents -- the snakes' food -- and the
and catch in the trigger release. When the mole
snakes will move elsewhere.
triggers the trap, the prongs are released and driven
Eliminate rodent food and harborage.
through the sod, impaling and killing the mole.
Mow grass short to expose rodent runs.
A choker trap consists of a cast metal frame with
Snakes often enter structures through broken
two spring retractable loops. Two slits are cut in the
block foundations, cracked mortar, damaged vents.
tunnel and the loops placed inside. When the mole
These should be repaired.
triggers the trap, it is immediately crushed.
In a rattlesnake infested area, a snakeproof fence
When using traps, place a plastic pail
can be installed around a backyard or play area.
with a warning sign over each trap.
Bury a galvanized l/4 inch hardware
An average set will require 3-5 traps
cloth (with a height of three feet) six
inches in the ground and slant outward
Check the trap every couple of days.
at a 30 degree angle.
After no results for 3-4 days, move the
Keep all vegetation away from the
traps to new locations.
Module Three Chapter 5, Pg 7