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Friday Favorite: Snakes

June 29th, 2018

I grew up in a snake loving family. We seemed to always have pet snakes, including a 12 foot boa constrictor. I’m always happy to see snakes in the garden, which happens quite frequently. I see lots of garden snakes, some ribbon snakes, and we have a fairly good sized milk snakes that I see occasionally in the garage.

Here in Maine, we have no venomous snakes. Where I grew up in Ohio we had copperheads, which we saw occasionally. In Colombia, where I spent most of my childhood, we had a fair number of venomous snakes, including one called the Quatro Narizes (Bothrops asper), which is a highly venomous pit viper. I remember seeing one when we were hiking once.

We have a good number of snakes here in the gardens, I see them daily. I’m always trying to keep the cats away from them as they like to catch the smaller ones. The chickens will also catch them and eat them if they see them.
There’s a three foot garden snake that lives under one of my raised beds in the back garden, I see it once a week or so. Snakes are so beneficial to our gardens, it’s too bad lots of people have aversions to them and kill them when they see them. Luckily, I think the wide knowledge of their beneficial nature of them is helping make those with fears leave them alone instead of killing them.

Do you have snakes in your garden? How often do you see them?

6 Comments to “Friday Favorite: Snakes”
  1. PennyAshevilleNC on June 29, 2018 at 8:16 am

    I have been desperately trying to lure/keep/encourage snakes in our yard this and last summer to no avail. I have a giant field mouse under the shed (never seen with another mouse or babies or anything) that needs to go.
    My husband saved me a black snake, but shortly after he brought it home, our neighbor started tearing up his backyard so it isn’t around anymore.

    It’s such a bummer.

    Reply to PennyAshevilleNC's comment

    • Susy on June 29, 2018 at 8:24 am

      I’ve had great luck bringing them in when I use lots of cardboard as mulch in the garden (usually under hay or compost). I think they like the dampness and they love it because it also attracts salamanders and crickets, which they’ll feast on. Maybe try that.

      Reply to Susy's comment

      • PennyAshevilleNC on July 2, 2018 at 8:11 am

        Oh- that makes sense, Thanks!!

        to PennyAshevilleNC's comment

  2. Misti on June 29, 2018 at 11:17 am

    We have an assortment of snakes in our garden. Just last week I saw a 4′ Texas rat snake in the garden and then a ribbon snake and another smaller garden snake that I can’t place the name of at the moment.

    We’ve had a couple of coral snakes as well as hognose snakes. For being on the water I’m surprised we’ve not seen moccasins but the potential is there.

    We like the snakes and definitely have to keep the ferals from killing them.

    Reply to Misti's comment

  3. Nebraska Dave on June 30, 2018 at 10:00 am

    Susy, when I first started gardening at Terra Nova Gardens, I would see snakes all the time. Since I’ve cleared the garden area and fenced it in I haven’t seen any snakes. I would guess the the wet marshy weed covered properties that surround mine have them but they don’t seem to come into my garden any more. I’m not a big fan of snakes but I tolerate them as I know they are beneficial to the garden. It could be that there aren’t any bugs in my garden because of the wild turkeys. So the food source isn’t there. We have poisonous snakes in Nebraska but in all my years of living here, I haven’t seen one. Supposedly we now have water moccasins in the Platte river which is just a few miles from my city. They never were here until just a few years ago. I always thought moccasins needed warmer winters than what Nebraska has but experts claim they can survive the Nebraska cold winters. The most common snake in Nebraska is the garter snake which can bite but is not poisonous. That’s about the only kind of snake that I’ve ever seen in Nebraska. We do have what is called a Bull snake that is not poisonous either but gets much bigger than a garter snake. They can eat baby rabbits, small rats, and mice. They especially like chicken eggs and will swallow them whole. Western Nebraska where the land is drier and has more sand in the make up has diamond back rattlers.They can get big enough to eat full grown rabbits. We have hawks and eagles in Nebraska that love snake on the menu so snakes aren’t that plentiful here. Most of Nebraska is farmland which doesn’t really provide a good habitat for snakes.Soft bare dirt under plants is not what they like.

    Have a great garden snake day.

    Nebraska Dave

    Reply to Nebraska Dave's comment

  4. Chris on July 1, 2018 at 12:11 pm

    Yes, we love our shy, little garter snakes we have in the garden. I am always so happy to see them when the weather warms up…As you say, they are so beneficial and I think are really quite pretty with all their varied stripes and colors.
    This is another reason we keep our cats indoors…along with the millions of song birds they kill every year, snakes, many other small amphibians, butterflies, etc. are also being decimated by domestic cats. With all the challenges faced by our wildlife, big and small, I feel I shouldn’t add to it by letting my cats roam free!

    Reply to Chris's comment

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