Slithering Garden Good Guys

World Snake Day, held every year on July 16, aims to increase awareness about the more than 3,500 snake species that exist across the world.  It’s a good time to recognize these natural pest controllers!  Gardeners should be glad to see snakes glide through the garden. These much-maligned reptiles consume garden pests, including slugs, grubs, mice, voles, and rats.

Garter snakes are the most common type found in our area.  They’re medium-sized slender snakes with a head barely wider than the neck. Most species have a stripe on top of the back, and on the bottom of each side, but on some species this stripe is faint or absent, and sometimes the side stripes are absent.

They won’t bite you unless provoked. They are really very shy and are not looking for a fight!

To make your property garter snake friendly:

  • Provide habitat if you have room. Old plywood or corrugated metal roofing left loosely on the ground in an out-of-the-way place provides hiding and nesting places for these slithering creatures. Old stumps and large rocks also make good snake habitat.
  • Walk your lawn before you mow to scare the snakes into hiding. Lawn mowers are deadly to snakes because they can’t hear like we do. Rather, they feel vibrations.
  • Don’t use chemicals such as pesticides and fertilizers, in areas used by snakes, including lawns.
  • If you have pets, the likelihood of attracting snakes is minimal.

5 Fun Facts About Snakes

  • Snakes don’t have eyelids and sleep with their eyes open.
  • Snakes have nostrils but they smell with the chemicals picked up with their tongue.
  • Snakes can’t bite or chew, so they swallow their food whole.
  • The only continent on the planet without snakes is Antarctica.
  • Snakes have up to 1,200 bones.

Learn more about snakes for World Snake Day, July 16, 2023

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