Monday, October 24th, 2011...8:52 am

Why I Like Garter Snakes in My Garden

Garter Snake by Atomische • Tom Giebel

One day a friend sent me a photo of a tiny frog on one of her plants. She wanted to know if she should get rid of it. The other day when I was raking, I was raking with a young man who helps me once in a while on my grounds. (These are jobs my sons used to do for me. But where are they now when I am getting too old to do it by myself? Married and living far away so that they no longer have to do these chores and pretending that since they moved out the trees must have stopped shedding more leaves.  Why else wouldn’t they be rushing over to help me rake so that l wouldn’t have to spend money to hire another youngster :-)? )

While raking the young man saw a snake and asked me if he should kill it. He said that he didn’t like snakes. l gave him a resounding, ” NO do not kill the snake!”- just as I told my friend that her frog or toad was something she is lucky to have in her garden.  This summer I saw the first toad in my garden. I used to try to coax toads to live in my garden by bringing in toads from a friend’s backyard. She lived close by so I thought our environments were similar. But the toads always seemed to hop away. At least, I never saw them around. But I always wished that toads or frogs would adopt my garden. In the spring one of my favorite night choruses is of spring peepers that are singing in the property that is behind my property.  This is what I believe my friend found on her vegetation.

Back to my raking. My young garden helper had found a beautiful garter snake, not much longer than some of the worms I have in my garden. There had been a few sitings of snakes sunning themselves on the sidewalk in the area where this garter snake was found. Neighbors told me about them so I cannot know for sure what those snakes were. But I know that there are snakes on my property because they love my stream and eat some of the wild life that lives here as well as love all the wild plantings and rocks for them to hide in. I have found milk snakes and have been told that there are black water snakes.  But my snakes are the non-venomous kind. I don’t think any of the snakes on my property are dangerous even though all snakes will bite if they feel threatened.   Some of the snakes find their way indoors and one of my sons found one in our electrical outlet box once and neighbors have also found snakes in their houses. As much as I like snakes, I don’t want them indoors. But since my property is so wooded with the stream, it would be difficult to get rid of snakes even if I tried. To keep them out of the house, I  try to seal all the cracks that I can find. And I read that some people believe the use of aromatic cedar mulch annually deters snake presence on their properties.

Now about why I like my garter snakes. He or she eats lots of the things that I don’t want on my property,  like the white-footed mouse which is really a main culprit that carries the lyme tick or voles. I just wish I could teach my garter snakes to stop eating the things that I like to have living on my property, like my salamanders or my spring peepers.   See here.

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