Few things are more terrifying than suddenly finding a snake where you don’t expect it.
And your car is one of those places.
But don’t panic.
Chances are the snake is completely harmless. It is very rare to find a venomous snake in your car.
Unless you’re Australian.
For the rest of us, it’s simply a matter of staying calm and knowing what to do to remove the snake.
Keep reading to learn how to get a snake out of your car without harming it, or putting yourself in any danger.
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How To Get A Snake Out Of Your Car
Getting a snake out of your car can either be a simple task or a nightmare, depending on the situation.
There are a few scenarios to cover here to give the most accurate solution to the most common situations. Before you consider any of this, there is one caveat:
Do not hurt the snake. There is no reason to hurt or kill a snake that is your car. Snakes have just as much right to be here as we do. DO NOT HURT SNAKES!
Variables To Consider When Choosing A Snake Removal Strategy
Some important variables come into play when figuring out the safest way to remove a snake from your car or truck.
- Type of snake
- What you have handy (materials)
Weather / Temperature
Snakes are cold-blooded and will seek out heat, especially in cold or semi-cold weather. This makes the strategy for removing one from your vehicle different depending on the season of the year.
For example, if you find a snake in your car in the winter or fall, you may be able to use a heat source to lure it out of hiding, provided that your car is not warm, and the engine is off and cold.
If it is hot outside, there is a good chance the snake went inside your vehicle to cool off and find some shade.
Snakes are extremely sensitive to temperature. They can become lethargic if they are too cold, and they can get very sick and even die if they overheat. They have no sweat glands or other ways to cool down.
Hot Weather Car Snake Removal
If you find a snake in your car and it is hot outside, here are the recommended steps to take.
WARNING: If you have a rattlesnake or other venomous snake in your vehicle, do not attempt to remove it yourself using any of these techniques. Call animal control and let them handle it. A rattlesnake can kill you, don’t be stupid.
- Try to lure it out with a broomstick or other long stick. Certain snakes will naturally want to climb on the stick, and you can easily remove them.
- If the stick only makes the snake hide deeper in the car, roll up all the windows and turn on your heater. The snake will get hot and come out panicking looking for a way to cool down.
- When the snake comes looking to cool off, open the door for it and keep a safe distance to let it go on its merry way.
- Turn the engine off, and make sure the heater is off as well. The snake is looking for a heat source, and if the engine is on it will find a way to get closer and may end up inside your dashboard. This is not good!
- Find a heat source like a mitten warmer pack, or a small space heater you may have in the house and place it in the car and turn it on. The snake will come looking to warm up and when you see it, gently attempt to get it to climb on your stick and slowly move it out of the car and to the ground.
- Let it go on its way and keep your distance from it.
Type Of Snake
There are hundreds of snake species. Most of them are non-venomous and nearly harmless. If you find any of these snakes in your vehicle, you should be able to remove them with the methods covered here.
This is far from a comprehensive list, but these are some of the most common snakes that end up in cars.
Hognose snakes have wide heads and little noses that look like snouts. They can sometimes play dead when threatened. If they do this while in your car, you are in luck. Just scoop them up with a stick and set them free. I might also help to read up on how you can tell if a snake is dead for real.
These are skinny snakes and can have brown spots mostly on their backsides. They are not very big, growing only up to 13 inches or so. They can get deep into small crevices, so the best asset here is patience. Be patient and lure them out with a heat source.
Rat snakes can look like rattlesnakes. They are big snakes. They can be up to 70 inches long. They will strike if threatened, so be careful. The only upside to finding one of these in your car is that they can’t hide too many places with their size.
Garter snakes are not too big and they have a generally relaxed temperament. If you discover one of these guys, just carefully lift it with a stick and let it out. They can bite but their fangs are not very big, and they won’t hurt too much.
Green snakes are pretty snakes. They have a forest green color that becomes yellowish near the belly. They get up to 32 inches long so they can fit into some small spaces.
The best strategy here is to just open the door and let them crawl out. They are curious so they may just go for it if you open the door. If not, just try the stick method.
There are several species of racer including red racer and yellow-bellied racer. They can get up to 50 inches long. They are sometimes mistaken for cottonmouths (the yellow-bellied variety), so be sure to know the difference.
If you discover it is a cottonmouth and not a racer in your car, call animal control. Cottonmouths are much too dangerous to mess with.
Western Ribbon Snake
Western ribbon snakes are cute little dudes. They only get around 20 inches long usually (sometimes up to 30). They have a bright yellow stripe that goes along their spine and green/gray coloring with yellow scales as well.
They are completely harmless snakes. Just grab them and gently move them out of your car into a safe place.
Yellow-Bellied Water Snake
Being water snakes you would not think they end up in vehicles much, but in south Texas they do. These are easy to identify by their round pupils, keeled scales, and short bodies.
They are a grayish-brown color, and they can get up to 3 feet long. They won’t hurt you if you are gentle and move in a non-threatening way.
Removing A Snake From Your Car: Final Thoughts
Finding a snake in your car is no reason to panic. Getting a snake out of your car is not a difficult task. Usually you can lure it out pretty easily.
The only difficulty is if the snake is venomous. There is a very small chance of this in most locations, but if you do encounter a snake you suspect might be venomous, DO NOT try to remove it yourself, unless you are an expert with experience. Call a professional.