What are Different Ways to Kill Snakes?

When many homeowners see a snake on their property, their very first instinct is to kill it! This fear isn’t simply the result of humans learning to fear snakes. Instead, new research suggests that humans have evolved an innate tendency to fear these reptiles.

However, now that we’ve studied these creatures, we know they are extremely beneficial to the ecosystem. Moreover, the majority of snakes we encounter are nonvenomous, looking to score their next rat, mice, or frog.

On the other hand, a single strike from a venomous snake is sufficient to kill a human or pet. However, snakes aren’t just moving around looking for the next person to strike. The majority of snakebites that occur in the United State happen when a person tries to kill a snake but either misses or injures the snake. The provoked snake reacts in self-defense by striking back.

Therefore, if you notice a venomous snake on your property, it’s best to call a wildlife professional to deal with it. And if you cannot tell if the snake is venomous or not, you should also call a wildlife professional. If it’s nonvenomous, you do not want to kill it. If it’s venomous, you do not want to get too close to it!

After assessing the situation and you’re certain it’s a venomous snake, here are some ways to kill it if you’re confident:

Lethal Traps

Lethal snake traps are designed to crush the head of snakes. However, it sometimes misses and injures the snake’s body. What you’re left with is a provoked snake that can bite any person or animal that comes near it. Therefore, lethal traps aren’t always an effective means of killing snakes.

A better option would be to make use of a live trap. After catching the snake, you can then drown it. If you make use of a glue trap, you can easily smash the head of the snake as its body is held securely to the adhesive.

Garden Tools

This is a crude way of killing snakes. It involves making use of a garden tool like a shovel or pitchfork to smash or cut off the head of the snake. If your target is accurate, it can promptly kill a snake. However, there is the possibility that you just injure the snake. If this occurs, the snake reacts by striking back. And because you’re in proximity to the snake, there’s a good chance it hits its target. That’s how the majority of people get bitten in the United States.


Before you opt to shoot a snake, make sure you’re good with a firearm and also ensure you confirm that it’s legal to shoot snakes in your area. If you’re living in an urban or suburban area, chances are the use of firearms is prohibited.

When shooting a snake, a clear shot to its head is sufficient to kill it. Many homeowners opt for pellet guns because it uses multiple small pellets for ammunition, which makes it very effective for killing snakes at close range.

Do Poisons Work?

There are several poisons on the market that promise to kill snakes, however, they are highly ineffective. This is because snakes don’t eat often, and when they do, they prefer to catch live food to eat. Therefore, there’s a slim chance that it will consume the poisoned bait.

Even if it does, it is inhumane to poison any form of wildlife, including snakes. The poison slowly damages their internal organs, leading to a slow and painful death. If you poison a snake in your house, you might have a hard time finding the carcass because the poison causes the snake to retreat to a hidden location. Therefore, you’d have to deal with the decaying and unsanitary smell emanating from the carcass.

Better Alternatives to Killing Snakes

Snakes are not as terrible as we’ve made them out to be. They help keep balance in the ecosystem by feeding on rodents, insects, frogs, and other small animals. Therefore, killing them isn’t always the best option. Here are some better alternatives to killing:

Peaceful Coexistence with Snakes

Provided it’s a nonvenomous snake, it’s a great idea to have them around. They won’t harm you as long as they’re left alone and not provoked. On the off chance that they bite, simple treatment is all you need.

However, if it’s a venomous snake, call a professional to get rid of it. Remember, it’s not worth the risk to get bitten by a venomous snake.

Trapping & Relocation

Even if you’re not a fan of snakes, why not trap and relocate them instead of just killing them indiscriminately? Several live traps like glue traps, minnow traps, and maze traps are effective at catching a live snake. Thereafter, the snake can be relocated back to the wild, based on your local relocation laws.

To find out more about how to trap a snake, check out our post on ‘Steps to Trap a Snake’.

Deterring Snakes

Snakes are attracted to your property because it’s attractive to them; whether there’s an abundance of rats or lots of great hiding spots. If you don’t want snakes in your vicinity, deal with your rat infestation problem. Moreover, remove all leave piles and dirt, mow your lawn regularly, and take other necessary actions to eliminate all potential hiding spots.

To learn more about ways of getting rid of snakes, check out our post on ‘Steps to Get Rid of Snakes’.


Killing venomous snakes is a risky endeavor that is best left to professionals. However, if you decide to proceed and you get bitten, make sure you seek medical help immediately.

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