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The Herps of La Crosse

Living With Herps

Easy Herp Monitoring

Herps as Pets

General Herp Info

Suggested Reading and Bibliography


About Me and Contact Info

Snakes in the Yard

            For those of you whom fear snakes, you may think that finding one in your yard is the most horrible thing imaginable.  Well in a way, your right.  A snake ending up in someone's yard is horrible in the fact that it normally means death for the snake.

        Conjure up in your mind a scenario, if you will.  You've been invited to a barbecue by your neighbors.  You leave the house and begin walking down the block.  They are new in town and forget to tell you which house is there's, but you figure you can determine which house it is by looking for people who are having a barbeque in their back yard.  

        You're walking along minding your own business, when suddenly something catches your attention.  In the distance, you smell meat, glazed in sweet sauce being slowly roasted over an open flame.  Realizing that you must be getting close, you walk faster and begin following your nose to the house with the barbeque smell emanating from its backyard.  You've found it!

        You come around the corner and see the party, full of wonderful food, places to sit and relax, as well as cool beverages.  You think you must have died and gone to heaven.  

        Then you look around and see something strange.  There are several large, dirty burglars running around, stealing food and making a mess of the place.  To your surprise, however, your new neighbors do not seem to even realize that they are there.  You figure you can help your neighbor out and get rid of these filthy robbers so you move forward to shoo them from the yard.

Then it hits you.

        Your neighbor suddenly throws a rock from across the lawn and it nearly hits you in the head.  You stop, confused, and wonder what in the world is going on.  Suddenly, more rocks are hurled at you as people scream and run away.  Not knowing what else to do, you turn and sprint away as fast as you can, barely making it with your skull intact.

        Sound unbelievable?  Yeah, it does.  However, this is exactly how we treat snakes.  We make our yards so attractive to them that we are basically inviting them over for dinner.  When they come over, they find our yards full of delicious rodents that we didn't even know were there.  However, as they move in to have a meal, we scream and try to kill them with a rock. 

It is unbelievable.  And completely ridiculous.

So, what can people who are afraid of snakes do?

        Keep something in mind:  snakes are beneficial.  They eat rodents that destroy your garden and carry disease.  You probably want to have snakes around.  They wont harm you.  If you leave them alone, they will offer you the same courtesy.

       However, if you are one of the millions who won't have anything to do with snakes, here's what can be done:

1) If you own birdfeeders, do not leave piles of discarded seeds at the base of the feeders.  This attracts rodents, which attracts snakes.

2) If you own birdfeeders, keep them away from your house (for the reason listed in no. 1).

3) Keep all bushes and trees trimmed so that the lowest lying branches do not touch the ground.  This is the type of cover that snakes like to hide in.

4) Keep your yard neatly mowed (for the reason listed in no. 3).

5) Either eliminate, or securely fence in vegetable gardens.  Gardens attract rodents, which attract snakes.

6) Remove all debris from your yard (i.e. piles of metal or wood).  Snakes like this kind of shelter to hide under.  In addition, many rodents will build nests here, which also attracts snakes.

7) Fix all cracks in your foundation.  Snakes are attracted to the warmth (especially when fall draws nearer) and they may mistakenly think it is a good place to hibernate.

8) The last resort is to build a fence around your property.  It must go some distance into the ground (probably around 8 to 12") so that nothing can burrow under it.


        Finally, never kill a snake you find in your yard for any reason.  If it is there, there's a good chance you have rodents of some kind.  The snake will most likely move along within a day, a few hours, or even less.

Call the local DNR or animal control.  If you see a rattlesnake, report it to the DNR by calling 1-888-74SNAKE.


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