Pet snakes are incredibly great at escaping their enclosures. A snake’s sleek and slender body makes them perfect for squeezing into small spaces even if it’s not meant for a snake to fit through.
I have a corn snake named Peaches who has escaped from his enclosure 5 times and luckily I’ve found him every single time.
You may think it’s luck, but at this point, I have come up with the best tips to find your lost pet snake whether it’s a small hognose or a good-sized red tail boa.
Here are the best steps to take to find a lost or missing pet snake.
- Isolate the area by closing doors and windows and sealing beneath the doors with towels or a blanket.
- Try not to freak out. Being frantic will only hurt you, not help you.
- Secure other pets in the house like cats or dogs so they don’t hurt your snake on the loose.
Where to Look First
Before going crazy and turning your whole house upside down there are a few places to check that are common places snakes will hide.
Hiding in the enclosure
I know it seems like a simple answer, but your snake could still be in the enclosure, especially if they are small.
The nooks and crannies of their hides or added enrichment are perfect for a little snake.
Baby corn snakes are as small as a #2 pencil and they sure like to burrow. Check the enclosure substrate thoroughly before searching the perimeter of their enclosure.
Also, check for any openings or evidence that your snake has actually escaped. This could be an open enclosure door, unlatched lock, open cover, or hole in a screen.
In their hides
Small snakes also have a habit of climbing into the tiniest places. I once had decor shaped like a tree branch and it was hollow inside.
My corn snake Peaches was so small that he went into the hollow branch so deep that I couldn’t even see him except a small part of orange I could see with a flashlight.
I made the mistake of looking all over my rented bedroom before discovering he was just inside this hollow tree decor. That’s why it’s worth mentioning here even though it might not apply to you.
Warm places like:
- Behind the tv
- Under or behind the fridge
- Near the washer and dryer
- Around the stove
- Near or in a floor vent
- Behind a computer
After you’ve looked high and low in their enclosure, the next best place to look is somewhere warm.
Once your snake has left its warm and comfortable enclosure, it will most likely look for another place to rest that’s warm and dark.
These warm spots are like magnets to your snake so it’s one of the first places you need to look.
I’ll have to use Peaches my corn snake as an example again because he’s escaped from his enclosure so many times.
This time he ran away for 3 days before he popped up…in my aquarium filter. Although I looked high and low, he managed to find the filter(that was warm from running 24/7) where he could warm up and rehydrate.
This was just my luck since I rented a bedroom in a house and it was the only place that he could be especially since I closed off the area. But if your snake escaped and you have the entire house, behind the TV and under the fridge are similar attractions for these cold-blooded creatures.
Along the windows or walls
Snakes will feel most secure when they slither along the wall since they’ll only have to defend themselves on their exposed side.
This means that your snake is more likely to stay along your wall than cross the room or stay exposed. Be sure to check your baseboards and windows and then check them again occasionally in case they’re on the move.
In or behind drawers
Crowded areas are an escaped snake’s favorite place to stay besides warm spots.
These crowded areas can include :
- behind furniture
- in drawers,
- In and around entertainment centers
Some furniture pieces have holes in the back for whatever reason. These holes make areas like your entertainment center or drawers the spot they’ll go to for somewhere dark and hidden.
Only move furniture around if you absolutely need to, but do it carefully so you don’t risk injuring your snake.
Use compact mirrors or your phone camera to look in hard-to-reach places.
Next, Set Traps
So you’ve looked all over the place for your snake, and you still can’t find them. That’s ok. Most snakes that escape aren’t found right away. These traps will help you find where they could be.
The good thing about these traps is that they can be left overnight and give you some ease of mind.
Some of these “traps” don’t really trap, but they’re a way to know where your snake could be.
The Flour Method
The flour method is best for finding your snake if you know it’ll be traveling on the ground.
To use this method, sprinkle flour in a line on the floors of areas where you think your snake could be or would go.
It’s best to do this in doorways or along the wall since those are common places they’ll cross.
The flour will act as a tracker when your snake crosses through it, making a streak wherever they go.
This will at least let you know they are in the area and potentially show you where they went. The good thing about these tracking methods is that they can be left overnight if need be.
The Penny Method
This method is similar to using flour to help you track where your snake has gone. It’s similar to using flour except with less mess.
Lay pennies in a line on the floor where you think your snake might go or cross. The pennies will move when the snake goes over them and you can get an idea of where it is.
Create a Warm Spot
As we’ve stated before, the best places to look for your snake after you realized they’ve escaped are warm spots.
Your best bet at finding a snake that’s missing in your house is to make a warm spot for them to go… and wait.
Lay a heat mat on the floor using a thermostat to make sure it doesn’t go above burning temperatures to entice the snake to lay there. You can even leave the snake’s enclosure open with the heat on so that they are drawn back to it.
Your snake is likely to want to bask or warm up, so the warm spot would be the best place for them to go back to.
It helps to lower the temperature in your house so that the warm spot is more appealing to your lost snake and increases your chances of finding it.
Make a Food Trap
A food trap is a good option for you to catch your snake or get them to show itself. Place bait in a cage to attract your snake or even create your own.
DIY traps can be made out of empty plastic bottles. Cut a hole in the bottle just large enough for your snake to fit into and put the bait inside.
The idea is that the snake will go into the hole, eat the bait, and not be able to escape with a full belly.
This trap works with live bait, but just know that a full-grown mouse or rat will be able to escape from any holes you make for your snake so be careful.
You can use frozen/thawed rodents for your bait, but it won’t be as effective to lure the snake since they don’t stay warm and that’s usually what snakes are attracted to.
With frozen/thawed rodents you also risk them decomposing and leaving an awful smell in your house.
To avoid any bad smells or escaping rodents, use fresh, unwashed chicken eggs which hopefully have enough scent to attract your snake.
Plastic bag or Foil Method
Just like the penny and flour method, the plastic bag method will help you track your snake. All you have to do is listen.
The idea is to line the floor with plastic bags and make the area as quiet as possible so you can hear the plastic bags moving when the snake touches it.
The same works for foil. If you lay the foil on the floor where you think the snake might crawl you may be able to hear them moving.
I think my snake escaped my house
Sadly, snakes that escape their enclosure don’t know the confinements of the home so there’s a chance that they’ve left the house.
In this case, look along the walls of your home and under or behind large rocks or shrubery.
Inform your neighbors and be specific about what kind of snake you’re looking for including the color, size, and species.
Luckily, we have technology on our side. Facebook is a great place to post about any lost pet including reptiles.
Look for your local lost and missing pet groups and be as specific as possible in your post.
Websites like lostmydoggie.com offer a network to find your missing pets. As of now, they help with reptiles including bearded dragons, iguanas, and turtles, but hopefully will expand to helping our legless friends too.
An escaped pet snake is common and it’s important to remember not to blame yourself. It’s a tough and scary time, but not all hope is lost.
Use these tips and reminders to help find your lost snake and there is a high chance that it’ll happen. Some people claim that their reptile pops up months or years later.
It might take a few minutes or it will take a few days, but no matter what there is a chance to find them.
Take it from me, a lady whose corn snake has escaped and come back a multiple times, they’ll pop up one of these days and you can be reunited.