Image for article titled Why You Have Snakes In Your Backyard and How To Keep The Bad Out Out

Photo: MLArduengo (Shutterstock)

People tend to have strong opinions about snakes – usually they find them either fascinating (enough to keep one as a pet in some cases) or absolutely terrifying and off-putting, until they get chills (badly) just by taking a photo of one sees. But feelings aside, for some people with yards, snakes are a reality.

Of course, there are different types of snakes on different missions. Some are harmless and offer free pest control. Others are poisonous and probably not something you want to wiggle around your home. Here’s a quick look at why you can find snakes in your garden and how to keep the potentially harmful ones away.

Find out what type of snake (s) you are dealing with

Snakes are quick and sneaky, which makes them difficult to identify. So how can you tell the difference between a harmless one and a potentially toxic one? Unless you’re a snake expert yourself, it’s best to leave this to professionals.

If you can take a picture of the snake at a safe distance, do this, and then contact your state wildlife authority. Someone will help you identify the snake and provide further instructions on what to do next. But please don’t get too close to the snake or try to pick it up or touch it.

Why snakes are attracted to your garden

According to a guide on how to deal with snakes ThisOldHouse.com, Snakes are usually in your yard in search of food and / or shelter. Some of their favorite foods are:

  • Rats
  • Mice
  • moles
  • fish
  • frogs
  • Small farm animals
  • Snails
  • Snails
  • Locusts

So if you have any of these animals or other critters in, around, or near your property, they can all bring snakes into your yard. They can also provide shelter for snakes, including:

  • Thick brush
  • Dense compost piles or piles of leaves
  • Bodies of water
  • Broken gutters
  • Firewood container

This is how you will keep potentially harmful snakes out of your garden

If, after consulting with a local wildlife authority, you find that the snakes hanging around your yard are some kind of threat – and not just the harmless species that are part of your local ecosystem and food chain – here are some ways to Keeping them from sliding onto your property, courtesy of the editorial team at ThisOldHouse.com:

Stop giving them shelter

Snakes have predators too and like to hide from them in warm, sheltered places like piled hoses, open areas under sheds, storage areas, and the locations listed above. Remove, block, or take other steps necessary to clear their hiding spots.

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Get rid of areas of standing water

Some species of snakes nest near stagnant water. So, if you have areas of poor drainage where water has accumulated, find a way to remove them. The stagnant water isn’t necessarily outdoors, so check around coiled hoses and in your yard as well.

Feed your pets indoors

Your dog may like to eat outside, but don’t let their food sit outside when they’re not eating it. Their food attracts rodents and insects, which then become food for snakes.