Snakes are a beneficial part of our environment, but unfortunately many people see them as being scary or gross. They can actually be a friend to the organic gardener. Snakes can control some garden pests like mice, voles, slugs and beetles. But if you’re worried about venomous species or have an overwhelming phobia, there are ways to gently rid your garden of snakes.
Remove What Attracts Them
However inconvenient, if you’re serious about keeping snakes out of your garden or yard, then you may need to clear some snake attractants. Simply remove tall grasses, shrubs, rock piles and block other places they could hide. This may sound like a lot of work, but using the proper tools can make the job easier. Anglia Tool Centre sells some great lawn tools that will make the job easier.
Logs are a popular resting place for snakes, but if you’re using them for your wood burning stove, you can’t get rid of those. Instead, you could build a log storage using 3 frames of small scale wire mesh with a solid roof, then add a mesh gate at the front. The holes would need to be less than 0.5cm/0.25in. The mesh should allow enough air circulation to keep the logs dry.
If you have a pond with lots of frogs, or a thriving mice population, then snakes will be very keen to snack on those. If possible, use humane traps to relocate them a good distance away from your property.
This is the most labour-intensive and costly method for keeping snakes out but you may feel it’s worth it. The fence needs to reach at least six inches below the soil level and slant outward at a 30° angle. Using a heavy, galvanised hardware cloth with quarter inch mesh between posts, should keep these reptiles at bay. This is a long-term solution and completely humane.
You can buy these or make them yourself from hardware cloth. Make a cylinder and close one end. Form another piece of cloth into a funnel and insert into the cylinder. If you put a box inside the trap, snakes will often curl up inside, instead of trying to find a way out. Snakes, whether venomous or not, can bite when threatened, so require careful handling. If you are not experienced in dealing with snakes, contact the relevant authority in your area.
The US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services apparently relies entirely on natural oils to repel snakes. They found oils made from cinnamon, clove and eugenol to be the most effective. They produced some useful notes on how to use the repellent.
Whether you see snakes as garden helper or the stuff of nightmares, remember to proceed with extreme caution if you encounter one. Most snakes are pretty docile if left alone. They’re beautiful and beneficial if you allow them to live peacefully in your garden. 🙂 But if you’re too frightened, simply follow our easy guidelines to Gently Rid your Garden of Snakes. Be kind.
*Image Credits: Path Walk In Garden Image courtesy of Keerati at FreeDigitalPhotos.net; Garden Sign Image courtesy of Simon Howden at FreeDigitalPhotos.net; Green Snake Image courtesy of PANPOTE at FreeDigitalPhotos.net; Green Snake Image courtesy of tiverylucky at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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