NC State Extension

Keeping Snakes Out of Bird Houses

Snakes can climb smooth poles, even greased ones. Snakes are a common problem in North Carolina and other southern states but some snake problems may occur all across North America. The cone guard is an effective snake control method. Also effective is a 24 inch piece of hardware cloth placed directly under the bird house. Here’s how to prevent snakes from robbing your bird houses:

Location is very important. If your bird house is located in a tree or underneath a tree limb, snakes, cats, racoons and other predators can drop onto the house from above. Predation of the eggs and young birds will be greatly minimized by using one of the following methods to mount your bird house.

A smooth clean pipe is the best mounting system to use. A 10 foot piece of 3/4 inch EMT electrical conduit pipe can be purchased for a reasonable price. It will then need to be cut down to a length of approximately 8 feet, to place 2 feet of pipe in the ground and 6 feet of pipe above. The electrical conduit is zinc plated and will keep its slick surface for many years. Other heavy round pipe will also work well. Scrap pipe found at construction sites and salvage yards can also be used. An excellent source of pipe is from overhead garage door companies. In their scrap piles from discarded doors you will find either an 8 foot or 16 foot piece of 1 inch pipe. Most businesses will be glad to give them to you. If they are rusty, they should be sanded smooth. Flattening the bottom of the pipe with a heavy hammer will help stabilize the pipe and keep it from turning. A fence post driver is recommended over a heavy hammer for putting the pipe in the ground. There are several easy ways to mount a birdhouse to the pole.

Pre-drill two 5/16 inch holes through both the conduit or pipe and the back of the box. Use 1/4 inch bolts for anchoring the box to the pole. The drilling can be done before placement in the field.


Wrap two pieces of pipe strap around the pole and screw into the back of the box on either side of the pole. Secure another small piece of pipe strap to the back top and bend it down into the pole to keep the box from turning.


Place two electrical conduit hangers around the pole and screw into the box.

A method that works well for mounting lightweight boxes (i.e., PVC boxes) is the use of a 5 foot piece of 1/2 inch electrical conduit slipped over a 5 foot piece of rebar driven approximately 2 feet into the ground. A conduit connector (with a longer bottom screw) at the base is used to keep the conduit from turning.

Many excellent baffles are sold at local bird stores which include all the parts and instructions for easy mounting. You can make your own from the following materials. Use the picture as your guide.

drawing of snakegard vone on birdfeeder pole

Material List:

  • 3 foot diameter circle of 24- or 26-gauge galvanized sheet metal
  • 1/4 inch round head stove bolts
  • 2 hanger iron straps.
  • Disc blades also work well and can easily be found at farm auctions.
Page Last Updated: 3 months ago
Was the information on this page helpful? Yes check No close