There’s a Snake in My… Garden

Summer is a time of enjoyment and exploration for everyone, including snakes. Many people start spotting snakes in and around their garden during the late summer months as the fall months begin approaching. Most snakes that are around homes are harmless. However, it is always a good decision to take some precautionary measures to ensure the safety of yourself and the snake. Colorado is home to 25 different species of snakes; only two of these species are venomous and can be easily identified.

Snake Encounters

When you encounter a snake on your property you first need to back away from the snake, leaving it alone. Once you are safely away from the snake, work on identifying the type of snake. Once you have identified the snake as venomous or if you are unable to identify the snake contact your local animal control agency. If the snake has been identified as nonvenomous you should leave it alone and it will most likely go away on its own. If the snake does not go away on its own after a few days there are a few steps that you can take that will deter the snake from your property. If the snake has been identified as venomous or you are unable to identify the snake, do not take matters into your own hands. Allowing a professional to deal with the situation will keep you, your pets, and family safe.

 

Venomous Snake Species Identification

According to Colorado State University there are six different ways to identify the two venomous species of snake:

  1. Rattles at the end of the tail
  2. Fangs in addition to their rows of teeth
  3. Facial pits between the nostrils and eyes
  4. Vertical and elliptical pupils that may look like thin lines in bright light. (Nonvenomous snakes have round pupils.)
  5. A Single row of scales between the vent and the tip of the tail. (Nonvenomous snakes have two rows of scales.)
  6. Broad triangular head and narrow neck

(http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/natres/06501.html)

The Massasauga (top image)  and The Western Rattlesnake (bottom image) are shown below.

Massasauga

Western Rattlesnake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snake Deterrence

A snake encounter can be nerve racking but try to keep in mind the positive effects that snakes have on the ecosystem when you come into contact with one. Snakes feed on insects, lizards, bird eggs, and rodents. Without snakes these animal’s populations would become out of control.  Snakes are prey too! Snakes are prey to humans, and birds such as hawks and eagles. While most snakes are harmless, many people are afraid of snakes. There are a few steps that you can take that will help to deter snakes from your property.

  1. Regularly check your home for cracks or holes along the foundation. If you do find a crack or hole you will want to seal the opening. Use caulking or mortar to seal the openings in your home.
  2. Identify cool, damp areas around your home where snakes could potentially hide and remove them. Remove rock piles, brush, and shrubbery along the foundation of your home and periodically cut back tall grass sections.
  3. Contain grain and food that is outdoors in tightly sealed containers to prevent an increase in the rodent and insect population. Control to the best of your ability the insect and rodent population on your property.

Visit the websites below for more tips on how to deter snakes from your property.

http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/natres/06501.html

http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/snakes/tips/solving_problems_snakes.html

 

 

Contact Designscapes Colorado at info@designscapes.org for more information.

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