How to Find a Lost Snake in the House


10.22.2004 - I removed the above pictured snake from a residential neighborhood. Whether it was a lost snake or a released pet I can't be sure, but my later experience leads me to believe that it could well have been a lost pet, because this one was a bonafide escape artist.

This snake is a Boa Constrictor. I removed it and brought it back to my house so that I could hang on to it while I waited for a local snake rescue and breeding group to come pick up the snake. I put the 5 1/2 foot snake in a large cardboard box and closed the top, sealing it shut with a laundry basket full of clothes. Upon waking the following morning, I went to check on the snake, and saw that the laundry basket had been rolled away, and the tomb was empty. The snake was gone!

I quickly did a glance around the room, figuring that this large snake would be sitting on the rug or draped over an armchair or something. Nope. I looked all around the house, and still didn't see the snake. I then went on a more serious search, in which I checked under all the furniture, looked up on the curtain rods, behind the refrigerator, etc. Nowhere. "Hmmm...." I thought, being the deep thinker that I am. I had to get to my workday of removing critters, and resolved to continue my search that night. When I arrived back at home, I put forth a hell of an effort looking for this lost sssslitherpants. I checked every nook and cranny, from the bowels of the water heater closet to the god-forsaken backs of the pantry and cabinets that are never used. When looking under the cushions didn't work, I cut open the lining of the couch and loveseat to see if it got in there. Where the heck could a snake this large and fat hide? I knew that the doors had certainly been shut. I was stumped.

Over the following days and weeks I remained perplexed, but eventually forgot about it. One of life's crazy mysteries, I supposed, flummoxed by a magic esssscape artissst. It wasn't until a trip to Cocoa Beach about a month after the incident that I dug to the bottom of my bureau, where I keep my swimsuit and other rarely-used articles of clothing, and there, curled in a happy ball, was the snake, at the very bottom. "So that's where you've been!", I said, once again thinking deeply. The snake was in great shape, since this kind of snake can go several months without food, and I called the snake breeder, and he came and got it, and, I assume, later lost it somewhere in his house.

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Snakes are adept escape artists. Their slender, smooth, and flexible body, coupled with their high killer instinct honed through millions of years of evolution give them the ability to slither away undetected. For snake owners, finding your lovely pet isn't going to be easy. However, it's not impossible. In this post, we'll explore steps to take to find that lost snake.

Step 1: Keep a Cool Head
Do not panic when you discover your snake isn't in its enclosure. Snakes are resilient and can survive for weeks on their own. There have even been some reported cases where owners found their pet snake after a year. However, you still want to look for it ASAP.

If your doors and windows were open, it might be outside. Contact your neighbors and show them your snake's picture so they know not to be afraid should they find it.

Step 2: Secure Your Pets
If you have other pets like dogs and cats, you do not want them roaming freely as they pose a significant risk to the snake. Cats are experts at catching snakes and you want to restrain your cat, especially at night.

Step 3: Do a Thorough Search of Your House
This is going to be the hardest stage and it all comes down to luck. You may find it behind its enclosure or you might have to overturn everything before you find it. However, the crucial key is to think like a snake. You might see no reason why a snake should be in a cramped up place, but it might make perfect sense from a snake's perspective. Here are some tips to help with this process: Lower the ambient temperature of your house
Since snakes are ectothermic creatures, reducing your home's temperature will force it to move to a warmer area, like behind the refrigerator.

Check above and under everything
Start from the area surrounding the enclosure. Thereafter, check virtually everything including, hollow boxes, shoes, garbage disposal, bookcases, cupboards, closets, drawers, air ducts, window sills, newspapers, fireplaces, and every other place you can think of. Be methodical in your search. Move from one room to the next, while sealing off a room once you're done.

If you're dealing with a nocturnal snake, it's best to search for it at night. On the other hand, if it's diurnal, search for it during the day.

Different helpful methods
There are different methods you can use to help you in your search. Some of which include:

Spread flour around the floor and leave it overnight. In the day, you should see trails along the flour indicating which direction it headed in. While it might not lead you to the exact location, it will surely help to narrow your search.

You can arrange pennies or even plastic bags along where the snake is most likely to pass, like along walls, furniture, and baseboards. Turn off all the lights and stay put in the center of the room. You can easily hear the noise from any movement and trace it.

You can place a mouse or unwashed chicken egg into a wire cage. This scent of food will help lure the snake into it. However, this strategy might not work if the snake isn't hungry.

Finding a lost snake requires patience and it can be challenging. That's why you should ensure that your snake's enclosure is perfectly secure. With time and work, you'll eventually figure out where it's hiding.

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