How do you get rid of snakes in your garage? This homeowner is trying to find out

·2 min read
Adam Liboiron says his family hasn't been able to enjoy their backyard property near Toronto's Humber River ever since snakes invaded their garage, backyard, roof and the vines on sides of his home. (Michael Charles Cole/CBC - image credit)
Adam Liboiron says his family hasn't been able to enjoy their backyard property near Toronto's Humber River ever since snakes invaded their garage, backyard, roof and the vines on sides of his home. (Michael Charles Cole/CBC - image credit)

When Adam Liboiron moved into his new home along the Humber River in west-end Toronto last winter, he was told his house would have its "own ecosystem."

Then summer arrived.

"I didn't know what that meant until recently," he said.

Since then, Liboiron says he's been finding an average of half a dozen snakes each day in his garage, backyard, on his roof and in the vines on the sides of his house.

Some are garters, others are Dekay's brownsnakes — which he says can be close to a metre long, although one expert says snakes in Toronto are usually not as big as people imagine them to be.

Now, he's looking for a solution that will keep the snakes happy, but let him enjoy his backyard with his wife, infant and toddler.

"I've tried to remove a few of them myself, and they will fight back, let's say that," said Liboiron.

Nothing to fear, wildlife expert says

Liboiron says he uses a broom, a hose, and his own gloved hands to put the snakes in a bucket and release them near the river. He say he and his wife have done "everything they could" to stop the snakes from arriving in the first place.

They've erected chicken wire, removed the vines on their house, tried spraying do-it-yourself essential oil and vinegar mixes, and they've even asked animal removal companies for help — one of which offered to get rid of the snakes for $250 each.

Submitted by Adam Liboiron
Submitted by Adam Liboiron

But according to wildlife biologist Nathalie Karvonen, removing them isn't a solution at all.

"Unless you actually change the environment ... you cut down the forest, you dry up the river, you remove the natural food sources," there will always be snakes there, said Karvonen, the executive director of the Toronto Wildlife Centre.

Karvonen says while it's unusual that so many have taken a liking to Liboiron's home, snakes native to Toronto are actually beneficial to the ecosystem. She also states they're harmless to humans unless provoked, and even then their bite is mild.

The best solution, Karvonen says, is coming to terms with sharing your property with the local wildlife.

"The best thing that we can recommend is to just educate yourself about those new wild neighbours that you have."

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