Sunday, July 10, 2011

Snakes have their place

I was out watering the garden and scared up a little garter snake,though not uncommon,I have been seeing more and more of them.In fact,the larger the garden gets,the more of them I see,there's a rather large one living in a small brush pile near the garden,we decided to leave the pile there and let the snake have it as his home for the summer.

I know,I know you hate snakes right?Well these little garden guards really are good to have around.They will help keep small pests out of the garden/yard that could damage your plants.Although they will catch a frog or toad once in a while,for the most part they will snack on some insects,small mice,things like that.

Garter snakes are not poisonous,although they will bite when given a reason to,but if you just leave them be,they will go on about their path and not bother you.In fact most any snake,as long as you don't bother it,won't bother you,even rattlers,which can be found here in Michigan.

The above photo gives a good example of what a native Massasauga Rattle Snake looks like,it is the only species of rattler in Michigan,it is also the state's only poisonous snake.We came across this one on a hiking trail last fall.If you see one,just give them plenty of room,they will go on their way without even stopping to look at you.If you see one curled up,just give him plenty of room and make a very wide path around him.If you're going to be out hiking in areas where there are tall weeds and lots of low lying brush it's a good idea to wear high cut boots and a good pair of jeans,if you surprise a snake,it will most likely strike at ankle height,a thick leather boot will help protect you from it's poison,but just be careful while hiking/walking outside in heavy brush,and watch where you step.

If you'd rather not have snakes in your yard,you don't need to invest/waste money on those snake repellants,you just need to clean up your yard a bit.Snakes like cool dark places to hide,under sheds,under brush,inside dense plants.Keep your lawn cut short,any brush piles picked up,and keep animals from burrowing under sheds to keep snakes from taking up residence in your yard.

If you do see a rattle snake in your yard,it's because either he's just passing through,or you have mice or rats hanging around,his favorite food,eliminate the food source,and the snake will have no reason to stay around.This is as easy as making sure that all people and pet food is kept in sealed containers,including feed for animals like horses and goats.Mice like grains,and if you have it available to them,they will come,and multiply,and where there are mice and rats,there will eventually be snakes.

For me,snakes are welcome in my yard and in my garden.There is nothing out there that's so important that it can't wait until the snake moves along on his path and out of mine.

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