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810 Views 14 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  mudmama
I need advice on rattlesnakes. We're moving next month to a place in the middle of no-where-montana where 60 snakes were killed just last summer by construction workers. I have two little kids and a dog.
First, how do I teach my kids to be snake "aware" without putting too much fear in them that they won't go outside to play.
Second, how do I teach my kids that the gun I carry outside is for our safety and they never need to touch it. Of course I'll lock it up when I'm not carrying it and not even load it unless I have a snake right in front of me.
Snakes and guns are all new to me. We're very much outdoorsy people. My husband says it won't be as bad as I think.
OK, now thirdly, how do I keep the snakes out of the house.
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I have no advice for the first two questions......

But on keeping snakes out of the house. I put moth balls around the doors. Yes it stinks if you use to many. I live deep in the heat of Texas. We get small snakes and lizzards in our house. (I hate both) So I use moth balls, also in the flower beds and I throw them in the garage. My family makes fun of me, but so far they work. You need to replace them about every month, or sooner if it rains.

But that's one more thing you would have to teach young children to leave alone. Good luck.
I grew up in an area with rattlesnakes and still live here and I don't think you need to carry a gun around with you. First if you have no experience with guns It would be pretty hard for you to hit a snake with out getting really close and second it just seems like a pain. A shovel will do the trick.
( fun side note: one time my mom couldn't find the shovel so she had to use a garden hoe to kill a rattlesnake that was spreadout on our front step, it took her a few times but she did it) We always had dogs around and they were pretty good at alerting us to snakes, so send the kids out with the dog and keep there play area open and free of snake hiding places.
Oh thank you for the advice, all good!
My hubby is so adamant about getting me a gun for this. I think it turns him on or something. I really don't want to deal with a gun.

A couple more questions came up:
Is a hoe handle long enough? I've got short arms and don't want to get too close.When hubby was weed wackin' last year one got wrapped around the wacker and started climbing up till he shook it off.
Does running over them with truck kill them? Even those that are as big a round as my shins?
I wouldn't suggest using a hoe (that was just all mom could find at the time), a shovel works much better. My dad is able to throw a rock and pop off the head but I would just stick with the shovel. Where are you moving to? I've never seen a snake that big before. I understand your worry if they get that big, yikes!!!!!!!
Dont use a shovel or a hoe! That will get you too close to the snake.

Use bird shot or snake shot in the gun.

After the snake is dead chop its head off and bury it so that dogs and kids wont get it.

Running them over can work as long as its a heavy rig and hard ground.

Often time they don't like noisy, busy places and will just move on.

Pigs love rattlesnakes and aren't bothered by the poison.

We moved from a place that has a few rattlesnakes to a place that has a lot. I am not happy. Our oldest remembers the rattlesnake that was in with our rabbit.
Our middle I dont think does thought she did have a terrible run in with a snake who was made and made himself sound rattlesnake-ish. Thankfully she ran away from the snake and got up on something high.

Keeping grass green and short helps. Keeping the place clear so there aren't hiding places is also

Having dog/s with your kids is also great protection.

Sometimes being a mommy is stressful
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I totally do not get why the poor snakes have to die.... it seems horrible to me that they die merely for seeking a place in the sun or a spot in the shade or whatever.

We have copperheads around our house and just live with them. I love them! They eat the mice that would otherwise overrun this place. They live in our woodpiles and stonewalls and are terrific neighbors; no loud parties, no garbage blowing through our yard, they kill mice which carry disease... Snakes are shy and generally not aggresive. We observe them from a bit of a distance when they appear and keep the yard well trimmed so the grass is not deep enough to hide them.

Rattlesnakes are not evil ugly monsters out to kill us. They are just animals trying to live their lives. When we run into conflict with them our first response is fear... but why do we think the animal needs to die for our fear? There are other ways of dealing with the animals and with our fears. I prefer to live in harmony with the snakes, spiders, foxes and bears in my neighborhood. We respect them and give them their space and they just go about their business. Maybe there is a way to deal with your rattlesnake neighbors that isn't lethal but will still serve to keep you safe and feeling safe.
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Oh, I respect animals. I was a vegetarian for 10 yrs because of this. But I'm killing the darn snakes when I see them. A bite from one could kill my two yr old, probably my 6 yr old and the dog too. We are 45 minutes from any hospital and once they get the anti venum (which I hear is 10 thousand dollars a pop), they will have been through excrutiating pain. I don't wish to take the chance.

I am feeling comforted with all your advice! Thank you!
Yes, the bite of a rattlesnake could well be fatal... but in our determination to soothe our fears, our understandable fears, the ones that haunt every mother that her children may be hurt of killed, we make a demon out of the snakes we would kill. Those snakes sub in for other fears, for all the other ones that cannot be ended or shot at, such as car accidents, or breaking away from us in public to dash in the road, or being abducted or drowning in the scant minutes that takes... these fears are endless and more likely than the fatal bite.

We too are far from a hospital, about 35 minutes if traffic is entirely with us, in a rural town where we share our space with many wild beings including copperheads and black bears. As shy as bears are, we see them, and my 10 year old has a walk of over 1/2 a mile through the woods from bus stop to home every day and believe me, that is cause for worry on my part, but to kill a bear for what it might do? Or the snakes? I am afraid of my kids being in a car accident, but I don't get rid of the car... I make them wear their seatbelts and sit in the back. Snakes are one of those critters that push our buttons, I think it might be safe in the case of poisonous snakes to call them our panic buttons,
but why should they die for our fear? They don't even scare us deliberately, it is just by their being there, by their living and breathing... and being visible one time.
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We live where there is also black bears, wolves, cyotes, and even mountain lions. I do not fear these creatures and respect them, despite their danger. But the rattlesnake population is so great. I wonder what your recommendation would be to move them out of the house or garage (if and when they come in) without killing them?
Yes it would be. That is how I am, part of how I am wired. If a poisonous snake got into my house and I stepped on it and it bit me I would still be trying to secure it's continued livelihood on my way to the hospital.
I have always been this way, not wanting the dog that bit me punished, or the wasp that stung me as I slid my foot into a shoe killed. I have tried to see things from their point of view.

I think the thing that needs addressing is why is the rattlesnake population so large in a particular area? What are the conditions that favor them so well? There are probably ways to limit how many there are nearby by making the area less comfortable for them. Like, if the copperheads were more plentiful here I would have our woodpile located further from the house, not let brush piles sit but burn them quicker, I might get rid of our tumble-down stone walls and would certainly remove the leaf litter from under the holly bushes. Another thing is trash/garbage/compost piles... they attract rodents and rodents attract snakes... keeping any grass short and green is helpful too so the snakes will be more visible if they do show up.

Just killing the snakes doesn't really do anything. If the area is attractive to snakes and supports snakes (by providing mice etc) then more snakes will just move in. It is the same with any animal, like feral cats, you can kill as many as you like, more feral cats are born every minute and will just fill that niche that is now open. Someone posted above about mothballs and that has some merit for sure, it would deter not only the snakes but also the mice they hunt. We use mothballs in our unfinished attic to keep critters from using it who might chew on wiring and what not. I learned this the hard way. We moved out here to the country with our town ways and before we knew it we had a BAD mouse problem! They had eaten a huge container of dog biscuits in a cupboard and most of my birsdseed! Little blighters! So I put all the food into mouse-proof containers etc and blocked their secret highway through the cupboards with steel wool around the pipes and within a few weeks we stopped seeing and hearing mice, they moved on to somewhere more hospitable.
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My grand parents lived and my family homesteaded in the sierra nevada foothills.. lots of rattlers

At age four, I knew to carry a walking stick or a long stick to "wiggle" the blackberry brambles. If you hear a rattle.... leave.
Gargirl, thankyou for your perspective. I definitely hear you.
Thank goodness.
I was afraid you might take it the wrong way. I sometimes don't word things well or explain them right and give people the wrong impression. I truly care, and I do NOT want to imply that you should risk your kids in any way. I totally get that they come first, I'm a mom too,
I just had another idea on this subject.

My sis lives where there are rattlers in NM and my neice is crazy about them. (loves them) At her age I was crazy for kittens, but to each her own.

Good luck dealing with your snakes.
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Well, 3 months, and about 20 killed rattlesnakes. Fortunately I haven't seen any in or around my home. I usually see them on the road out of the ranch. I've a 5 shooter now, but haven't learned to shoot it yet. I don't let my children play outside by themselves or let them walk down the road (or out the door for that matter). I am extremely careful, yet we are still able live a normal lifestyle. The children understand. We play outside at other places. And we haven't had any real scary run-ins with any snakes, perhaps b/c we're so cautious. I have less fear of them now, having seen them. My best advice to others now is don't let your guard down and be aware. And I do believe that killing them is best. We identify them from the non-poisonous snakes, only killing the rattlers. We've seen the population lower the last three years from around 60 to 40 to 20(and counting). With children and dogs, how could you create a safer home? With respect to this amazing, evil, lethal snake--- bang, bang.
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