Depending on where you live and the layout of your home, your closets can come in all shapes in sizes. But no matter if it’s a simple utility storage space or a luxurious walk-in, there’s no denying that they provide an essential function by housing your possessions. Unfortunately, they can also become home to uninvited guests, such as pests or reptiles looking for shelter. Read on to see what should tip you off that a snake is hiding somewhere in your closet.
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Closets make it possible to keep your jackets out of sight and your wardrobe well managed. But according to experts, they’re also a relatively attractive space in your home for snakes.
It turns out that conditions can be perfect for the natural shy slithering reptiles in your storage spaces. “Snakes love hiding in dark, damp, secluded places—like closets, often hiding behind boxes, bags, or in piles of clothes if they go a while undisturbed,” Joshua Paske of Paske Pest Control tells Best Life.
Even if your closet space is nice and tidy, snakes aren’t exactly known for making the flashiest entrance in the animal kingdom and can potentially go a long time without being noticed. But even if they’re well hidden, your nose and ears might pick up a hint they’re hanging around before your eyes do.
“You may start to notice a distinct smell that wasn’t there before or start hearing some unusual noises—slithering on the floor being the most obvious,” Josh West from Alamo Termite & Pest Control says. “Actually seeing the snake is also a good reason to call the professionals.”
But what does an animal with scales instead of fur smell like? “If you ever smell a musky scent, this might be a sign that you have snakes,” Skye LaJaunie, founder of LaJaunie’s Pest Control, previously told Best Life.
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But it’s not just their scent and sound that can be a dead giveaway there’s a reptile in your storage space. Over time, you may also notice another telltale sign that they’re hanging around.
“If you think you may have a snake hiding in your closet, make sure to check for any discarded snakeskin,” West says. “As they have to shed their outer layer as they grow, finding old skin is a definite sign of having one in your home.”
And curiously, noticing something missing around your house could be another clue to their presence. “While they can be attracted by the prospect of shelter, snakes can also be attracted to a rodent infestation in your home,” Paske says. “So if you previously noticed rats or mice along your floorboards, and they all disappeared without a trace, you may have a snake living in your home.”
While they covet a quiet place to curl up, snakes also have to eat to survive. You can almost ensure they won’t try and stick around your home by denying them a food supply. Part of this starts with making sure your closets aren’t overly cluttered and that other pests aren’t thriving in your home.
“Be sure to keep the places that food sources, such as mice, can hide cleaned up,” Brandon Buckelew, founder of Hunt for Conservation, previously told Best Life. “This includes anything that can hide the signs of their presence, including droppings. If you see signs of mice or rats in your house, be sure to get an exterminator out to take care of that problem.”
Fortunately, if you do happen to come across an unexpected reptile in your storage space, there’s plenty you can do to get rid of them safely. According to Todd Milsom from Delsea Pest Control, it’s important not to panic and try to give the snake space to make its way back outside if possible. “The safest option is always to call a professional to identify the snake and ensure there are no other pests hiding throughout your house,” he says.
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