While most people think of spiders and ants when considering pest control, there is another, larger pest that often causes alarm for homeowners. Snakes often appear in early spring and in most cases are not poisonous.
Garter snakes are the most common snake you will find in your yard. “Garter snakes are mildly toxic, but to their prey, which they only stun,” said Ed Johnson, director of science at the Staten Island Museum. “They pose no danger to the average person. From a human perspective they do bite, but it’s not a big deal.”
Frank T. Burbrink, a biologist at the College of Staten Island, said: “Snakes want to do two things – they want to eat and they want to breed. We don’t figure into either of those categories.” He added: “Mostly people are bitten because they are provoking the snake. Snakes usually don’t bite. Even when they do, people can get worse reactions from being bitten by another human.”
As spring approaches you can do a few things to limit the snakes in your yard. Like most other pests, snakes like clutter, heavily shrubbery, wood debris, leaves, and anything else where they can easily hide. They also are attracted to food sources. If you have a yard full of mice, crickets, or other pests, snakes will be attracted to your yard as a feeding source.
Removing any standing water or anything else that would attract pests to your yard is your first step. Next, do a little spring cleaning in the yard and remove anything that isn’t needed and as the grass grows keep it cut short.
So what should you do if you see a snake? As with all wild animals, admire it from a respectful distance, but otherwise leave it alone. If you find a snake in your home, call a professional to help you remove it safely.
Want to know the difference between poisonous and non-poisonous snakes? Look for our next article.