Snakes and Your Backyard
Snakes are a common sight in backyards across the United States. While they may be scary to some, snakes are an important part of the ecosystem. Most snakes are non venomous and can even help keep unwanted animal populations under control.
Snakes Around Your Pond
Ponds are a natural attraction for snakes, as they provide a source of water and food. Water snakes hide in plants near the edge of the pond and hunt for small critters. At night, they look for sleeping fish in the shallow water. You will rarely see a snake during the winter time. They come back into the sunlight in the spring, ready to eat and breed.
Some common nonvenomous snakes in North America include:
- Black rat snake
- Corn snake
- Garter snake
- Northern water snake
If you see a snake in your yard, the first step is to identify it. There are a few key differences between venomous and nonvenomous snakes. Venomous snakes typically have triangular-shaped heads, thick bodies, elongated pupils that look like a cat's, and swim with their entire bodies on the surface of the water. Nonvenomous snakes typically have rounder heads, slimmer bodies, round pupils, and mainly swim with just their heads out of the water.
What to Do if You See a Snake
If you see a snake in your yard, the best thing to do is to leave it alone. Most snakes will not bite unless they feel threatened. If you are unsure if a snake is venomous or not, you can contact your local university extension office or wildlife service for more information.
How to Keep Snakes Out of Your Yard
There are a few things you can do to keep snakes out of your yard:
- Keep your yard mowed and free of debris. Snakes like to hide in tall grass and weeds.
- Seal up any holes or cracks in your foundation or walls. This will prevent snakes from entering your home.
- Remove any water sources from your yard. Snakes are attracted to water, so removing any standing water will make your yard less attractive to them.
- Always check your shoes and boots before putting them on.
- Make sure your house doesn’t have any openings for snakes to slither in.
- Keep your lawn trimmed and scan areas before walking.
Repelling Snakes with Plants
There are a few plants that are said to repel snakes, including marigolds, pink agapanthus, sarpagandha, lemon grass, wormwood, and mother-in-laws tongue. Planting these plants around the perimeter of your yard may help to keep snakes out.
Living with Snakes
Snakes are a natural part of our environment and are an important part of the ecosystem. It is important to be respectful of snakes and to avoid harming them. If you see a snake in your yard, the best thing to do is to leave it alone.