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The No. 1 Sign There's a Snake in Your Car

This could tip you off that you're chauffeuring a slithering reptile around.

Even though they should be seen as a blessing to your lawn or garden, snakes can still find their way into places they shouldn't necessarily be. They can work their way into your attic or basement. They can sneak into your bedroom and hide in your closet or under your bed. And they most certainly can make their way into your garage—or even up into your vehicle. So if you're concerned you may have a stowaway serpent, there's one thing you should keep an eye out for. Read on to see what experts say is the top sign you have a snake in your car.

READ THIS NEXT: The No. 1 Place Snakes Love to Hide in Your Home.

Snakes make their way into your garage or car in search of warmth and food.

A snake coiled near the tire of a car

Snakes usually make their way into our territory in search of two things: food and protection from the elements. In many cases, garages can provide both for the reptiles, especially if they have a steady food supply in the form of a rodent infestation. But even if they've only just made their way into your car's parking space, they can still be enticed to slither on into your vehicle.

"Especially during the fall and winter, snakes are searching for a warm, enclosed place to seek shelter, sometimes making their way into your car," John West from Alamo Termite & Pest Control tells Best Life. "They can easily sneak in through an open door or window—or even up into your engine, undercarriage, or trunk if it's left open."

Experts say there's one key sign that a snake is hiding in your car.

An interior shot of a young man driving a car

If a snake has managed to make its way into your vehicle, it may be difficult to notice at first. After all, the reptiles have adapted to camouflage and stay out of sight for survival's sake. But experts say catching one thing should be a dead giveaway that you're carting around a reptile.

"The number one sign that a snake might be living in your car is probably shed snake skin," says West.

However, he also points out that most species only shed once every one to three months, meaning that this could be a sign the reptile has been in your car for a very long time. As with other areas of your property, there are additional pieces of evidence snakes can leave behind that might not be so obvious to the untrained eye.

"Keep an eye out for snake feces, which are dark brown or black solid logs that often have a urea cap on one end," he suggests. "They can also leave behind regurgitated food, which can happen if the snake gets disturbed."

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Keep an eye out for visual evidence that there's a snake around.

gray car parked in home garage

Maybe you're exhausted coming home from a long day at work. Or perhaps you're struggling to get a heavy load of groceries to the house. Whatever the case, distractions can make it easy to miss that you've left a window, door, or trunk open overnight. And if you're concerned something may have made its way inside, experts say there's one quick way you can tell.

"Look for a side-winding pattern in the dust near the car created by reptiles slithering across the ground, particularly along walls and beneath automobiles," Jon Callahan, reptile expert and founder of nature website OwtDores, tells Best Life.

Besides that, you may want to grab a flashlight and carefully inspect the space below seats, under objects like blankets or seat covers, and inside tight spaces like door cupholders for any hiding snakes. If you notice anything hiding, West says it's best to stop the car and get out to call animal control immediately.

There are a few simple ways to ensure snakes stay out of your car.

This photograph is of a garage lined with shelves full of things stored at home including, tools, cleaning supplies, holiday decorations and sporting equipment. The garage door is open.

Much like keeping them out of your home, experts say avoiding a snake in your car is more about prevention than anything else. Typically, this means shutting your doors and windows tight—even when parked in a closed garage—and keeping your vehicle tidy.

"You should remove any items that could provide shelter for a reptile," says Callahan. "This includes anything cute or cuddly, like pillows, blankets, hats, and purses." He adds that any cracks or holes you find in door or window liners that could give them entry to your car's interior should be repaired immediately.

It can also help to get your garage in better shape. Removing haphazard piles of storage boxes, firewood, or gardening supplies not only removes potential hiding places for snakes but also makes it less likely to turn your carport into a buffet for reptiles.

"Besides warmth, the other thing snakes are in search of is food," Sharon Roebuck, owner of Eastside Exterminators in Seattle, Washington, previously told Best Life. "Their main source of food in the wild is rodents. So, if you are attracting rodents into your garage, then snakes will soon follow."

Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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