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Hello Little Friend

May 5th, 2012

Ever since we moved in here I’ve been hoping to spot a snake or two in the garden. A few years ago I found a dead baby black rat snake laying on the back deck, but I haven’t spotted a live snake until now. Yesterday, I rescued this little beauty from the outdoor cat.

I grew up around snakes and don’t fear them. We had pet boa constrictors almost my entire youth. Here you can see my dad when he was in high school with a big snake. We even had a pet snake that laid an egg once, which was super exciting for us kids.

I’m very excited to see this little guy in the garden. Sadly, many people are scared of snakes and kill them if they see them. Snakes are very beneficial to have around because they control pests. If they’re small they eat insects, slugs and other small prey, if they’re larger they can be of great help in controlling rodents. It’s important to learn about the snakes in your particular area, any that are venomous and the ones that are harmless. You should also find out if there are endangered snakes in your area. Educating yourself will go a long way in doing away with some of the fear you may have of them.

For years I’ve been building snake habitat in my garden. I figured I had snakes around and just hadn’t spotted one. I’m happy that I spotted this little guy and rescued him from the cat, luckily it wasn’t injured. Hopefully he/she will live a long healthy life here at Chiot’s Run!

How do you feel about snakes in the garden?

28 Comments to “Hello Little Friend”
  1. Kathi Cook on May 5, 2012 at 6:02 am

    I am happy when I see a snake (usually garter) in my garden. As long as they stay outside where they belong, I am ok.I have a friend who saw a snake in her veggie garden once and now can’t go back in it. I grew up with a snake loving brother who would catch them and keep them as pets, Although I am not as comfortable with them as you are, I welcome them in my yard. My brother used to lay down large boards or rocks for them to go under, then when he checked them there were often snakes there. I also get toads hanging around my yard which I love.

    Reply to Kathi Cook's comment

  2. Fawn on May 5, 2012 at 7:41 am

    I’m iffy with them. If I know for sure they are non venomous and are garden snakes, I have no problem! If I’m unsure, I’m scared. Do you recommend any books or websites to educate myself?

    Reply to Fawn's comment

    • Susy on May 5, 2012 at 7:49 am

      I’d recommend a book about snakes of the US & Canada. I usually prefer to get my info on the internet, but it can be hard to find. Usually my dad can identify whatever snakes we see and I know the ones we have in our area. This book would be a good one Snakes of the United States and Canada.

      Reply to Susy's comment

    • Misti on May 5, 2012 at 8:40 am

      Just in case you come across a venomous one in your yard, you should look up your local animal control/snake relocator service so they can come out and remove it safely to another location. I’ve never come across a venomous snake, but I’ve lived in mostly suburban areas, but the area I’m in now could definitely have copperheads or coral snakes.

      If you aren’t bothering them, they won’t bother you, just look twice when digging around wood piles or in thick brush.

      Reply to Misti's comment

  3. Darlene on May 5, 2012 at 7:44 am

    It has taken me years to get my snake -fearing husband to stop killing the snakes in our yard! We used to have black snakes that migrated across our yard every year.Sadly,it has been a good dozen years since I last saw one.We have lots of garter snakes that stay here and I try to make lots of places for them.
    My husband is still startled by them and not crazy about snakes,but now he comes and finds me and tells me “your snakes are back!”. And I look forward to seeing them every year.We have 3 that have staked out their territory and I enjoy running into them all Summer.I do hate when I find one eating one of my toads! But I let nature take it’s cycle.Even tho,I want to interfere!!

    Reply to Darlene's comment

  4. Allison on May 5, 2012 at 8:10 am

    We have snakes in the orchard! So I am sure they slither through the garden. They usually spook me at first, but then I just move on. I hope, once our hens start free ranging, they don’t bother them!

    Reply to Allison's comment

  5. Becca on May 5, 2012 at 8:16 am

    What kind of snake is this?

    Reply to Becca's comment

  6. rip van winkle on May 5, 2012 at 8:35 am

    Is there something tied to the snake’s tail?

    Reply to rip van winkle's comment

    • Susy on May 5, 2012 at 9:03 am

      It’s molting, so it’s out skin is sloughing off.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  7. Lisa on May 5, 2012 at 8:53 am

    In my area, having a BIG black racer means you likely have fewer poisonous snakes as they prey on their poisonous brothers. BUT, an un-intimidated, black racer the length of a car hood is a frightful sight. They “stand up” lifting their heads and necks off the ground like a cobra and hoooo-eey, talk about squeal-like-a-girl!

    Reply to Lisa's comment

  8. Trish on May 5, 2012 at 9:00 am

    I hate it when people kill snakes!!

    Reply to Trish's comment

  9. KimH on May 5, 2012 at 9:16 am

    I dont have an unreasonable fear of snakes, but I dont like them.. I too grew up in snake country and ran into them from the time I was a little girl playing in the woods. We had a lot of rattlers and coral snakes there.. and lots & lots of garter snakes. I used to play with them when I was a kid.. but those days are long over

    In North Texas, we had a lot of copperheads & water moccasins and they’re mean, mean, nasty snakes. There were a lot of rattlers too. My brother used to like to “keep” them.

    I used to have to mow my 2 acre meadow in shorts & tall boots cuz it’d be 100° but you better protect your feet & ankles well.. Copperheads are especially mean & aggressive. If they come across something warm-blooded, they strike. And where there is one, there are 20. Yuck!

    Yeah… Im not real fond of snakes. ;)

    Reply to KimH's comment

  10. tj on May 5, 2012 at 9:30 am

    …I love having ’em around. We have two cats and I think they have something to do with our snake population decreasing around here. Recently we spotted a snake by our pond and we believe it to be a Copperhead which is venomous. Both my husband and I know how beneficial they are and have decided to leave it be and just be aware that it is there. We know that they are as scared of us as we are of them and if given a chance a snake with slither away versus attack.

    …So yes, we welcome them. Spiders too. :o)


    Reply to tj's comment

    • tj on May 5, 2012 at 9:33 am

      …”…a snake “will” slither away…”. Geez, typos. *sigh* :o\

      Reply to tj's comment

  11. Christine on May 5, 2012 at 9:43 am

    No fear of snakes here-we have a 6 foot long corn snake as a pet. Funny what seems like a good idea when you’re 19;). Next year she will be 20!

    Reply to Christine's comment

    • KimH on May 5, 2012 at 10:02 am

      That is funny and awesome too!

      Reply to KimH's comment

  12. Chris on May 5, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    Yes, snakes are very beneficial to have around your yard and garden as they do eat lots of undesirable things…such as rodents and garden munching insects! I too used to let my cats out but not anymore…they kill too many wonderful garden visitors…they are responsible for killing millions of songbirds every yr. not to mention beneficial snakes…like yours…lizards, salamanders, frogs, chimpmunks, etc.
    Keep kitties inside…it is safer for them too!!

    Reply to Chris's comment

    • Susy on May 6, 2012 at 7:51 am

      Most of our cats are indoor cats, the one that caught the snake is a feral that moved into our garage, not a pet. We give her food and got her fixed but she is not tame enough to be an indoor cat.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  13. Peggy on May 5, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    I understand that snakes are beneficial but personally I do NOT like snakes. I came eye to eye with a rattle snack as a young child… Grandma had me stand perfectly still as she chopped its head off because it had started to rattle and move towards me. Yes, I do squeal when I see a garter snake or black racer but these days I just leave the area for a few minutes and then return to my work. I love that they help to keep the rodents and small pests under control… they just make my skin crawl a bit. :)

    Reply to Peggy's comment

  14. Maybelline on May 5, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    Welcome, dear serpent.

    Reply to Maybelline's comment

  15. bonnie on May 5, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    My son and I just saw what I think was a mole kingsnake this week. I didn’t like that it reminded me of a copperhead. We have lots of copperheads in this area (though none on my property that I know of). Copperheads are aggressive; they bite first and ask questions later.

    I have lots of black rat snakes – unfortunately one got my bluebird babies. I will have to get a different kind of post for the birdhouse. I have even had a black snake to get inside my house. I’m not afraid of the black snakes because it’s easy to readily see they are not poisonous.

    I’ve also seen a kingsnake, a couple of ground snakes, and a green snake on my property.

    Once a little brown snake found his way into my bathroom. I caught him up in a grocery bag, threw the bag and snake outside, and retrieved the bag later.

    Reply to bonnie's comment

  16. igardendaily on May 6, 2012 at 10:28 am

    Well, after reading everybody’s comments I have to say I am most in alignment with Peggy. I’m trying to get myself to be more comfortable around even just garter snakes but they make my skin crawl and I don’t like running into them day after day in the garden. I DO try to reason with myself about how beneficial and harmless they are but after a few weeks of always watching for them so that I’m not startled (actually scared) when I come across them, I usually try to get rid of them. Each year, I get a little better and this year I will try to coexist but for some reason I just have the worst fear of them.

    Reply to igardendaily's comment

  17. Sandy on May 6, 2012 at 11:42 am

    Snakes freak me out! They startle me every time. We don’t have poisonous snakes in our area and I know they are beneficial so I don’t kill the occasional snake I find in the garden. That said, I jump every time I see one!

    Reply to Sandy's comment

  18. Pat on May 6, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    I love snakes, we find one in the garden at least once during the summer. We get a lot of lizards, too, and the crickets and toads love my pond. The only critters I really dislike are mosquitoes and fortunately we have so many birds around that they don’t get too thick here.

    Reply to Pat's comment

  19. alison@thisbloominglife on May 6, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    In my part of the world we have several varities of poisonous snakes. They love living under plants like agapanthus and you just hear them and know they are there. Recently our cat went missing, I found a dead brown snake. So I think both animals lost out which is sad. I don’t like them but I respect that they are native to our environment and keep a watchful distance!

    Reply to alison@thisbloominglife's comment

  20. Trish on May 7, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    Could you post some time about the steps you’ve taken to make your gardens good habitat for snakes? We’ve seen toads, so have been working towards making our yard more habitable for them, but it hadn’t occurred to me to do the same for snakes. Now I’m curious and will have to do some research, but I’m interested to hear/see your personal experience as well.

    Reply to Trish's comment

  21. Sarah on May 8, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    We love snakes and actually have been herping a lot lately with the kids! Sam, our 7 year old is quite interested in all creatures – even the ones most fear – – snakes, spiders. We recently caught (and released) a ring neck snake in our yard – he was as small as the snake you’re holding here. Great post and fabulous pictures as always.

    Reply to Sarah's comment

  22. Miranda on May 9, 2012 at 1:26 am

    Yay, snakes! We’re on the same page this week (note my recent, re-hashed post).
    One of the things i don’t love about cats: they eat snakes and lizards and other things besides just rats. I do plan on keeping a barn cat or two, but i’d rather have a few more rats than a few fewer snakes… plus the snakes keep down the rats, too!

    Reply to Miranda's comment

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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