Benefits of Snakes in the Garden
I live in a Chicago western suburb & only found garter snakes in a field of possibly 8-10 acres held by the municipality for some 35 years & meant for a future school location.
We have a shameful nature center that built an "eco-friendly building" 40 years ago but has ABOLITELY NO EDUCATIONAL DISPLAYS for immigrants from Asian or eastern descent to understand the Geology of our area or the relationship of the land, man or their local wildlife.
Last year they stripped ALL THE SOIL OF THAT ACREAGE OFF DOWN TO THE CLAY SUBSOIL.
This environmentally destructive building technique not only DESTROYS ALL EARTHEN DWELLING grounds squirrels, snakes AND ALSO HONEYBEE HIVES that often build subterranean nests.
With this comuning massive influx of immigrants, we are lucky that ANY OF THEIR CHILDREN LEARN ANYTHING about the EARTH THE "GREENIES" say they want to SAVE.
They'll dind their new "neighbors" never learned sh*t! ( That's where "the frizbee" came from).
I learned like Davey Crocket..."raised in the woods til he new every tree"...and learned the rocks, the forest wildflowers, the birds & reptiles in Boy Scouting at 11. My farming ancestors taught me soils, fertizers and replenishing our fields nutrients. My yard is a small restored IL forest lot and I'm 70.
ALL THE BIRDS MIGRATING & WILDFLOWERS ARRIVE..."ON SEASON". Except.if the flowers bloom & there are NO INSECTS due to unusually cold springs ( insects won't hatch"..they're cold blooded) arriving MIGRATORY BIRDS will STARVE. FURTHER...the wildflowers...now UNPOLLINATED...will languish and fail to spread seeds.
"A little knowledge is a dangerous thing"...as in "KILL IT!..IT'S A SNAKE!!!
It's primarily man's compulsion for using poisons & sprays that are killing insects, birds and CAUSIMG AUTISM because humans want GOLF COARSE LAWNS LAWNS & OPEN SIGHTLINES easily maintained by lawncare services while they sit in front of their "fairyland flat-screen televisions.
MY DOCTOR SAYS I'll be leaving soon, so let the kids worry about it".
I worry as to WHAT MORON will buy & destroy my restored "HABITAT", the 50 pine tree wind break I planted when I was 35, my maples, oaks & hickories that feed their wild inhabitants.
What one man created over his lifetime can be destroyed in 1-2 days.
And the kids learn...that bug could bite you! CRUSH IT!
Yes I have one he or she actually lives under my steps 3 steps concrete leading to back door . Actually today when cutting my front yard I seen a tiny one almost ran it over so maybe it's a female
I live next to a creek in Idaho. Since my cat discovered that snakes are fun to hunt (thankfully we don't have dangerous varieties in the nearby vicinity), he's brought me 5 so far this year. He drops them at my feet - once in the house! - and then just walks away. I must appear to him to be terrible hunter, and so out of pity he helps me out. Recognizing that they are garter snakes, I just pick them up and move them back to the grass by the creek. I've never been bitten, granted they are a bit in shock. My cat bit the first two, but it seems he's learned how to catch them without piercing them. The snakes always turn their head to face me while I am carrying them back to the grass. Maybe they don't bite because they sense my benign intentions?
I live just south of Cleveland, Ohio. Last week, I found a baby garden snake, and would very much like to keep him around, as we have LOTS for him to eat. I also know he (she?) has siblings but I haven't seen them in the hostas where this baby lives. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance!
It sounds like your garden is already an Eden for them! As long as there is food, water, and shelter, they should stick around.
Garter and Rat snakes are welcomed by our household! These snakes are so beneficial and nothing can replace them as control of pests. Saw a 3 inch Mantis the other day and he/she was mean, even tried to bite my fingers. I'll take the snakes anytime over the mantis, though they also perform yeoman duties in the garden!
I live in Colorado, and I'm used to seeing garter snakes in my garden. This year was unusual as we didn't see them until July. I was relieved when they finally showed up, because they really do control the pest population. Sometimes they startle me, but they are quite harmless. I've finally convinced my husband to wander around the yard before he mows so we don't have any snake casualties. My neighbors think I'm nuts, but I welcome the snakes every year and appreciate their service.
These common reptiles do some interesting things. In some populations males emit female pheremones. Males competing for mates expend their efforts on these tricky guys and then the female pheremone emitters "get lucky" more often with the females and conserve their genes more.
I usually tend to have one as a study-specimen. Usually individuals doing something so stupid they're probably going to be crow-food or road-kill pretty soon. They're active, always interested in what you're doing ( the current specimen is fascinated whenever I dump water in the toilet---he resides in an aquarium on the top of the toilet tank ).
As study-specimens they're easy to keep healthy if treated right. I don't handle captive reptiles any more than necessary. I look at 'em like keeping a fish that doesn't require a heavy leak-prone tank full of water. Something to study and enjoy esthetically. Where I live if there were any snakes to turn up they'd immediately be slaughtered by someone who is an obligate ophidiophobe so I don't get to see them wandering around in my yard. If I want to see any I have to keep captive specimens which is allowed in my state. Up to 3 specimens of non-protected/non-game/non-dangerous wildlife per conservation #.
I like snakes. Anyone who has no arms, legs and precious few friends but gets up every morning and goes out to "beat the world" has my vote. And yes, they do eat rodents. Mine just ate the legs and tail from a small rat I had to buy for my vendor-bought Nelson's milk snake ( it was still too big for her ) because my local pet store can't be bothered to keep frozen mice in-stock. The 25" garter snake ate the legs and the tail ( cut up in sections ) and seemed very happy to have had them.
It takes food from my fingers at the pulled-open corner of the top of the enclosure and almost always has to bite a finger once-or-twice just to make sure it's not missing some live prey. Yes, it's drawn blood. Not much, but some. I've never experienced any envenomation symptoms from the slightly-venomous saliva which is, as I understand it, rich in a common neurotransmitter which would already be something to which your body constantly exposes you---or that's what I read somewhere. Of course if enough of that gets into wounds in a small animal the balance in it's nervous system could be upset so it may struggle less violently with less chance of injury to the snake predating the small prey or less chance of it staging an escape.
They may also be poisonous ( they eat amphibian prey which may exude toxins from skin glands and these can be present in the flesh of their predators ). So if you're an obligate ophidiophobe and hoe some poor garter snake to death in your garden don't get all "ethical-hunter" and decide to eat what you kill. You might get the same sort of nasty surprise your dog got when you weren't keeping it on the leash when it ate that toad before you could catch up to it and stop it.
The worst thing garter snakes will generally do to you if handled in a state of agitation is to deposit some really malodorous musk on your hands. Unless you're a highly unusual individual you're probably not going to enjoy that very much. Depending on the individual you'll also probably get some minor lacerations from defensive bites though in some cases I've picked up individuals to take a closer look and had them act as-if they'd been captive-raised and were used to being handled. Like anyone else there are individual temperaments. But if you have a child fascinated with snakes they should be warned that if they catch a garter snake the're probably going to be bitten. An "exciting" experience if one is not used to it. Also one calling for the tetanus vaccinations to be up-to-date.
Very carefully, I read this article and made sure as I scrolled down to read it, I kept a piece of heavy paper on the screen to prevent from eyeing a picture. I'm so terrified of snakes, any kind of snake, even the garter, that I can't look at one for fear of having a nightmare about snakes. I just can't tolerate them. We used to find one every once in a while around our property, but I buy Snake Away at the local Lowes store to keep them away (as much as that works). I've not seen one in years, thank the good Lord!! I don't garden every year and when I do, I make sure I sprinkle plenty of Snake Away around my gardens before it becomes warm enough for them to be above ground. Everyone always says garters are "more afraid of you than you are of them". I don't believe that's true!! But thankfully I don't run into them...I'd scream bloody murder if I do. :c)
Robin: I'm sorry and I knew I will face my maker when asked about this but I kill snakes as I have high anxiety and very terrified of snakes. I have lots of gardens and have not seen one this year which I am grateful for. I realize I will have to account for my actions as I also ask a neighbour to come and deal with them. I am 69 on Saturday and cannot get past their slithering and actions - I scream every time. God Bless and thanks for listening.