Friday, May 31, 2013

Snakes in the Garden

There are seven different kinds of snakes in the area around the house and garden. With time I should be able to show you all of them, since we have seen them all over the years. The most common is the eastern garter snake. Although they are completely harmless, I do not like to have them around as they make me jump.
Eastern Garter Snake

If I die of a heart attack, I know how it will happen. I will be peacefully working in my shed, and I will reach into a bag of perlite or peat moss under the bench, and I will grab a snake. I know this, because it has already happened. Although I did not died, it has made me skittish ever since.

The shed is used both as a storage area and a greenhouse. Two sides have windows and the roof is translucent. With doors and windows closed on a sunny day, temperature can easily reach 30, if not 40. This is what attracts the snakes. Incidentally, they are also attracted by the cool. On a hot day, when the doors and windows to the shed are open, the bags or peat moss or vermiculite under the bench are a cool spots.

Inside the Garden Shed

Yesterday, I once again had an encounter with a garter snake in the shed. I first heard a noise which I thought was made by a snake but, looking carefully around, I did not see any snake. The noise was the sound of slithering on a plastic bag. However, half and hour later I walked in and there it was among the pots. As least it was not a complete surprise.

Garter Snake warming itself in the Garden Shed

I did with it what I do with all of them: I take them to the end of the field and release them. They probably come back, but it must take them at least a week.  They do eat mice, and I should be thankful they are around. But what I mind is jumping whenever they turn up unexpectedly. I thought this last one looked familiar (this was the fourth time I had moved one this season, and perhaps I had moved it already). Their coloring can be slightly different, the one before this one had red stripes on his or her back. Even if they are harmless, I must admit that I do not like to hold them and put on gloves before I grab them. Beside, nowadays I never reach in a dark bag with bare hands!


  1. Wow! Your snakes are great! But I see that they're quite sociable that they aren't afraid of people.

    In Poland we have only a grass snake living wild, which I'm willing to invite to my garden :) I saw its moult skin in the grasses in my plot once but I've never seen the real snake there. I know that they're timid and they're afraid of humans but I know that they're very useful animals in the garden.

  2. I often see garter snakes around the yard and garden and they make me jump too. Sometimes they swim in our garden pond, hunting for frogs. Sheri

  3. They also come here to hunt for frogs. The frogs seem to come here for mating and then they leave. Just now I don't see any. They will be back in July when it gets dry and wet spots are getting rare.


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