No, snakes cannot live in septic tanks. They can stay there for a little while, but they will struggle to find a way out. Septic tanks are not suitable environments for snakes, even for snake species that can thrive in water.
Snakes that found their way in septic tanks will eventually get to the toilet. Snakes, generally being land-based carnivores, will have nothing to eat inside a septic tank and die.
Snakes do not deliberately look for septic tanks. All these cases are accidental where the snake was merely trying to find its way out.
Disclaimer: This is information for entertainment and educational purposes only. Do not approach a wild animal and keep your distance. Only professionals should handle wild animals. Seek professional help immediately if you have been bitten or otherwise harmed. Consult your local wildlife authority for the right advice for your situation and locality.
Have Snakes Been Found in Septic Tanks?
Yes, stories of snakes being found in septic tanks are common. In 2010, newspapers presented a story of a 3-foot corn snake found in the toilet in New York. What makes this story especially baffling is that the toilet was on the 19th floor.
Jack Conrad, a herpetologist, said that it is possible for the snake to have made it way through the pipes, from the septic tank to the toilet. He also said that snakes are competent swimmers, and that they can hold their breath in the water for a long time.
Sea snakes can hold their breath underwater for up to two hours. For land snakes, it is not uncommon to stay underwater for thirty minutes. Apart from their capability to swim, snakes are small and can easily fit in pipes.
Read More: Sea Snakes vs Land Snakes
In another story, it goes that the snake made its way through a ventilation pipe, not a septic tank pipe. The man who found the snake in his toilet believed that the snake might have come from a tree outside and then found its way to his roof.
All these accounts are real, and they can happen to anyone. It is not unusual for snakes to go inside a human’s house. The reason behind this is food.
Since humans have waste products, there are rats that will frequently visit the house. And when rats are present, their predators will follow.
Do Snakes Commonly Hide In Septic Tanks?
Although snakes occasionally find themselves in a septic system, it’s unusual. Snakes do not consciously look for toilets or septic tanks. They usually find their way in after following the scent of a rat, which are commonly found in sewer pipes and septic systems.
One thing that could have happened is that the snake followed a rat. Then, as it is looking for a way out, it uses the pipes. Eventually, the lines led it to the septic tank. Snakes are hunters—they will follow a trail of smell, especially if they are hungry.
How To Prevent Snakes from Entering Septic System
Some people say that the septic tank must be covered at all times. Well, this only prevents the snake from coming out but not coming in. Snakes do not go into septic tanks from the outside. Here are two ways to prevent snakes entering your septic system:
1. Cover Ventilation Ducts with Screens
Snakes come into the septic tanks through the pipes. Because of this, one must focus his attention on these pipes. Most septic tanks have vents, so it is a good idea to cover these vents with screens.
2. Keep Your Toilet Covered
If the snake is already in the septic tank, it could manage its way through the toilet. Septic tanks have pipe provisions that flush water into the toilet and then to the drain.
To prevent the snake from coming into the house from the toilet, one must keep the toilet covered at all times. It is also a wise practice to look in the toilet first before sitting down.
Can Snakes Come Out of Plumbing?
Yes, if snakes find their way into your plumbing system they can make their way out via drain pipes and other openings. They can travel in any pipe where they can squeeze their bodies and fit it and may exit via the bathtub, sink, shower, or toilet.
The trick here is to keep all holes covered. Today, there are many flaps and covers that one can buy to cover these holes. All it takes is to go online and look for the right size and model that applies to the hole. Screens are the best choices because snakes and other pests cannot fit inside the mesh wires.
What to Do if you find a Snake in your Toilet or Plumbing
It can be scary to find a snake in your home, especially in the bathroom. The best course of action if this happens is to call animal control. It is not wise to attempt to move the snake, since snakes can be dangerous.
How Do Snakes Get Into Septic Tanks?
Most houses have the same architecture for sewage and plumbing. The toilet is not a closed system. In most cases, the roof has a vent stack which is connected to the main sewer. This allows an opening for snakes to enter, usually to chase down a rat or other rodent.
This vent stack on the roof is connected to the main sewer. Then, it cures to the soil stack. Snakes will use this vent to get to the pipes. Most of the time, these snakes come down from trees. If there is a tree that has branches overreaching the roof, it is a good idea to cut these branches.
Snakes can swim underwater, so covering the above-ground openings may not be enough.
Snakes can also smell rats in an attic. If rodents are present in a house, then there must be a hole where the rodents come and go. Snakes can smell these animals and will follow them.
There are also houses that have chimneys—a perfect place for snakes to slither their way in. If anything, the only way to prevent snakes from coming inside a home is to block all passages.
For attics and rat problems, one must call a professional and then ask that professional to cover all holes. All too common, the houses where rodents find their way through are made of wood.
The rodents would chew the wood and make their way inside the house. As such, they are also giving the snakes a way inside.
Snakes cannot live in the toilet or in your septic system, even though there are some snake species that specifically live in water. They may find themselves in there but will eventually try to escape or get out. They cannot live in septic tanks because the condition is not proper for them.
Snakes that are found in septic tanks typically come through septic pipes. If this happens, one must call animal control and not attempt to get the snake out.
Stuart is the editor of Fauna Facts. He edits our writers’ work as well as contributing his own content. Stuart is passionate about sustainable farming and animal welfare and has written extensively on cows and geese for the site.