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Old 07-17-2012, 04:33 PM   #1
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Default Snakes!

Snakes stir up some incredibly irrational fears in people for a number of reasons, but all in all they are just that...irrational. They are a valuable part of an ecosystem. Many snakes that are valuable to gardens will typically go unseen, being night hunter or burrowers, and they are all harmless. Around the world there are many snakes that eat insects, especially slugs, small mice and rats, and even venomous snakes!

Here in Louisiana we've got a number of interesting ones, this is just a few. The Texas Brown Snake is a tiny nocturnal snake that loves to devour snails and slugs. The Rough Green Snake which eats snails, slugs, many insects with exoskeletons, and some tree frogs (which is OK here in the south!) The Speckled King Snake, my personal favorite around these parts, who will eat rodents and best of all, its preferred prey, young venomous snakes!

I'm sure this info is nothing new to the gurus on the site, but I didn't see a thread on it so I made this one!

What snakes do you have that are garden-friendly around your home?
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Old 07-17-2012, 05:09 PM   #2
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What a great idea for a thread.

I want to welcome you, even though I should jump over to your post in "Introduce Yourself Please"...but I saw this post first. Welcome to Wildlife Gardeners.

In the four years we've lived here, my take on snakes is slowly changing (not that it was so bad to begin with). I've said for a while now that snakes and I have an agreement: when we run into each other, they go one way, and I go the other. The snakes I've encountered are always trying to make a quick retreat. However, in the past couple of years, I've begun to break the agreement; if I have a camera in hand, I usually follow them until I can get a good photo.

Funny, the day we had our home inspection, I remember a garter snake heading toward the basement door...the home inspecter picked it up and tossed it in the other direction.

Another encounter I had was in our garage/barn...while putting a recently purchased front door against the wall in there, I spotted the tail half of a black (rat?) snake right were we planned to set the door. I grabbed a broom handle and prodded it lightly to send it on its way. It barely moved. After a little investigation, I realized it was trapped in a bundle of bird netting that I'd found out in the yard and threw in the garage. It was hopelessly tangled. So, I grabbed a pair of scissors and set to work. This was not something I was eager to do, but I sure was determined to set it free. I give my partner credit as he stood by me the whole time lending moral support...and then gently pinning its head (with a broom) as I got close to freeing it...once it was nearly free it became quite active and would likely have darted away still tangled near its throat--surely it would not have survived if it tried to swallow prey with this plastic bird netting still attached.

After the last snip, we let it go. It was only then that I tried to get a photo of it (I couldn't justify taking the time while it was trapped and suffering.), but I can't find it...(yet?)

I told a friend this story, and he said that anyon else would've taken a shovel to its head. I'd have to think that not many members here would do that.
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Old 07-17-2012, 05:21 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dapjwy View Post
What a great idea for a thread.

I want to welcome you, even though I should jump over to your post in "Introduce Yourself Please"...but I saw this post first. Welcome to Wildlife Gardeners.

In the four years we've lived here, my take on snakes is slowly changing (not that it was so bad to begin with). I've said for a while now that snakes and I have an agreement: when we run into each other, they go one way, and I go the other. The snakes I've encountered are always trying to make a quick retreat. However, in the past couple of years, I've begun to break the agreement; if I have a camera in hand, I usually follow them until I can get a good photo.

Funny, the day we had our home inspection, I remember a garter snake heading toward the basement door...the home inspecter picked it up and tossed it in the other direction.

Another encounter I had was in our garage/barn...while putting a recently purchased front door against the wall in there, I spotted the tail half of a black (rat?) snake right were we planned to set the door. I grabbed a broom handle and prodded it lightly to send it on its way. It barely moved. After a little investigation, I realized it was trapped in a bundle of bird netting that I'd found out in the yard and threw in the garage. It was hopelessly tangled. So, I grabbed a pair of scissors and set to work. This was not something I was eager to do, but I sure was determined to set it free. I give my partner credit as he stood by me the whole time lending moral support...and then gently pinning its head (with a broom) as I got close to freeing it...once it was nearly free it became quite active and would likely have darted away still tangled near its throat--surely it would not have survived if it tried to swallow prey with this plastic bird netting still attached.

After the last snip, we let it go. It was only then that I tried to get a photo of it (I couldn't justify taking the time while it was trapped and suffering.), but I can't find it...(yet?)

I told a friend this story, and he said that anyon else would've taken a shovel to its head. I'd have to think that not many members here would do that.

That is really awesome! I hope there are plenty of people here that are open minded about snakes and other beneficial garden critters. Where I work I take pride in helping people to get over their fears, but some people are just the hopeless, "the only good snake is a dead snake", "snakes are evil", types...it always hurts my heart to find them, at least when they are stone-like in nature and will not open up.

It's a very interesting thing to experience, hosting a truly biodiverse atmosphere. I much prefer my life enjoying the spiders and snakes, as opposed to being afraid or grossed out by them because I don't know any better.

Thank you for the welcome, and for rescuing the snake!
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Old 07-17-2012, 06:37 PM   #4
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Quote:
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That is really awesome! I hope there are plenty of people here that are open minded about snakes and other beneficial garden critters.
I'm certain you will.

People here are gardening with wildlife in mind.

I'm very interested in native plants, and I'm trying to restore our two acres. In doing so, I'm attracting many insects, birds, and other critters. I've had bluebirds nesting every year since I put up nest boxes our first spring here.

[quote=Manimal;116442]Where I work I take pride in helping people to get over their fears, but some people are just the hopeless, "the only good snake is a dead snake", "snakes are evil", types...it always hurts my heart to find them, at least when they are stone-like in nature and will not open up.

It's a very interesting thing to experience, hosting a truly biodiverse atmosphere. I much prefer my life enjoying the spiders and snakes, as opposed to being afraid or grossed out by them because I don't know any better. /QUOTE]

I'm sure you touch more people than you do...and, perhaps you even plant a seed in those hard-hearted people.


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Thank you for the welcome, and for rescuing the snake!
No problem...I'm grateful for the experience.
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Old 07-17-2012, 08:16 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dapjwy View Post
I'm certain you will.

People here are gardening with wildlife in mind.

I'm very interested in native plants, and I'm trying to restore our two acres. In doing so, I'm attracting many insects, birds, and other critters. I've had bluebirds nesting every year since I put up nest boxes our first spring here.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manimal View Post
Where I work I take pride in helping people to get over their fears, but some people are just the hopeless, "the only good snake is a dead snake", "snakes are evil", types...it always hurts my heart to find them, at least when they are stone-like in nature and will not open up.

It's a very interesting thing to experience, hosting a truly biodiverse atmosphere. I much prefer my life enjoying the spiders and snakes, as opposed to being afraid or grossed out by them because I don't know any better. /QUOTE]

I'm sure you touch more people than you do...and, perhaps you even plant a seed in those hard-hearted people.




No problem...I'm grateful for the experience.
Dap, do you notice a difference in the bumblebee population this year? I mean in comparison to last?
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Old 07-17-2012, 08:47 PM   #6
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Dap, do you notice a difference in the bumblebee population this year? I mean in comparison to last?
Ever since I read your comment a couple of weeks ago, I've been paying more attention to how many (if any) bumblebees I've seen. I definitely think there are LESS...however, I am seeing a few lately...and I have to wonder, did I see more later in the season. If I remember correctly, my A. tuberosa was full of them last year. This year, I see quite a few honeybees, but no bumbles yet (although, I've spotted a few elsewhere).

~sigh~ Let's hope this is temporary.
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Old 07-17-2012, 08:54 PM   #7
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The one most familiar to me, in the Virginia piedmont and in south-central Pennsylvania is the black rat snake. Found one in my compost bin just recently, which was content to remain there while I scooped out a bucket of compost. Had the opportunity to rescue an elderly neighbor lady from a large one which was too close to her front door. I uncovered a small unmarked brown snake in leaf litter this week.

Always glad to see them around - outside, not sharing my living space.
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Old 07-17-2012, 09:22 PM   #8
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I forgot to mention that, years ago, we were at Jenning's Prairie (a remnant prairie in Western PA) where we saw the rare Masauga rattlesnake. There was a sign at the parking area expaining the rare (and protected, I think) rattlesnake...and that you should consider yourself lucky if you see one. I think we did consider ourselves lucky...but I also recall the phone number for poison control placed prominently near the other sign.

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Always glad to see them around - outside, not sharing my living space.
Exactly.

I'm not too keen on touching them...but I did touch the one I rescued from the plastic netting.
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Old 07-17-2012, 09:28 PM   #9
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Hey there, Manimal, I am always glad to find another snakephile, er...snake afficianado...or whatever. (There may be a word for it, but I sure as heck can't think of it.)
I have recorded the following species on my place in the past years (which you may also have)--- (common names): Ground or earth Snake, Yellow-bellied Water Snake, Western Coachwhip, Ribbon Snake, Eastern Copperhead, Coral Snake, (I never kill poisonous snakes), Speckled Kingsnake, Rough Green Snake, and Texas Rat Snake, which is more abundant than anything else.
One time in my backyard, years ago, I saw a kingsnake constricting a copperhead larger than he (alas, no camera at the time!) and that kingsnake hung on for over two hours until he finally had to give up and leave. The copperhead stayed put for awhile, squeezed all out of shape, and I caught him, put him in an ice cream bucket and trucked him down to the woods.
I always loved snakes when I was growing up because they are beautiful, mysterious, and misunderstood. My favorite has always been the Eastern Hognose. Now that is a snake with personality!
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Old 07-17-2012, 11:44 PM   #10
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I've got a little garter snake that's been hanging out by my raspberries. He's really a nice looking little snake. I think he's getting used to me because he doesn't take off anymore.
--
scarecrow> You moved a copperhead!!! That's the 1 snake I admit to being afraid of. I give them a real wide berth.
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