Protect Your Family from Snakes on the Homestead

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By Jaimie Bauer
I really hate snakes. I mean I really hate them! I realize that there are some good ones that are beneficial, and I am practical enough to recognize their benefit and not wish them all dead. I just don’t want to see them! However, the poisonous ones … well, it’s game on. If I see one, I will shoot it. And believe me, I have seen my share of poisonous snakes. Because they are a fact of life on our little homestead in the woods, we’ve developed some good strategies for getting rid of them.

We have two little boys who love playing outside, especially during the warmer months of the year. I have been very proactive in teaching them how to avoid snakes. They know to stay away from things like wood piles or any dark, damp areas. Last year, my oldest and I were sitting outside and saw the coil of a huge copperhead sticking out from under a tarp less than two feet away! It met its demise under the blade of a shovel that day. In the summer months, snakes love to hide out in our garden and greenhouse, as well as in the rocks around our well house. I’ve taught my kids to look out for snake havens and stay away. It’s best for them to play out in the open areas of our property.

After the shovel incident, my husband and I decided that we needed to have a foolproof strategy for quickly disposing of these poisonous pests. We both have 9mm pistols in case we need to protect ourselves from other dangerous animals. But unless you are a perfect marksman and shooting at close range, it is very difficult to hit a snake target with a regular 9mm round. We chose to purchase 9mm snake shot just for these occasions. The first round in both of our pistols is this special ammo. Each round is filled with little shot pellets and works like a shotgun shell. When the gun is fired, the round sends out a spray of pellets and quickly obliterates the snake. I carry my pistol in a Sticky brand holster. It doesn’t require me to wear a belt and it’s so easy to slip in the back pocket of my jeans or shorts as I go outside to do my homestead chores. I’m always prepared should I meet a nasty snake.

Our guinea hens are our other invaluable source of protection against snakes on our homestead. They are wonderful for weeding out ticks and chiggers during summer, but they are also incredibly loud and they hate snakes! They send up an alarm when they see one. With enough of them, they can actually kill a snake by themselves. Death by pecking! Last summer, our guineas were hollering right outside my backdoor. I looked out to see them circling a rattlesnake. They knew that they didn’t have enough numbers to attack it, but they certainly notified me of its presence.

Even though I hate snakes, I’ve learned to deal with their existence. I’m happy when they stay in the woods and most of the time I know how to avoid them. But when they get in my way, they are goners! I’m pretty thankful for our guineas and especially my gun.

Jaimie is a homesteading and homeschooling mom of two boys. She enjoys cooking, organizing, and reading stories to her family by lantern light. She and her husband write articles for their website and make videos for their YouTube channel, sharing their adventures in homesteading and off-grid living.

2 thoughts on “Protect Your Family from Snakes on the Homestead”

  1. I’m a bit farther east than you are, so I don’t know what look-alike snakes you have there. The thing about a copperhead’s marking is that they are “wide on the side.” In other words, the brown markings are wide at the side of the snake and narrow along the backbone. (I heard one herpetologist describe one side of the marking as viewed from the side as looking like a Hershey’s kiss. Gross to me, but effective way to remember the marking.) This webpage describes that.

    • It’s a great way to be able to identify such a poisonous snake. Being able to tell between the beneficial ones and the poisonous ones is so important!
      Thanks for reading!
      Molly Green Staff

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