My mom taught me a long time ago to share. And believe it or not, I like to share. It’s fun. But when it comes to my yard and my house, I refuse to share…with snakes. Because unlike my young friend Clara here, I’m not real comfortable sharing my personal space with snakes. I know that they serve a useful purpose in the cosmic order and the whole circle of life thing, but I prefer that they serve their useful purpose on the other side of my fence. And every year it seems like I’m trying to come up with a new and more effective way to teach those snakes that my ‘no trespassing’ sign actually applies to them too. This year I’m even more determined and have been scouring the internet and asking all my friends for some useful tips and hints to try.
Now before I share my newly found knowledge with all of you, let me just say a few things first. There is NO SUCH THING as Snake-B-Gone. No amount of preparation, no chemical, no repellent, no poison, no magic spell, no supernatural charm, not even Harry Potter’s wand is going to guarantee your yard as the new Snake-Free zone. Snakes are kind of like death and taxes…we all face them sooner or later. And like it or not, there is actually a law in Arkansas that you can’t go on a wild snake hunt and kill every snake you see. No really, I didn’t make that up. According to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, it is illegal to kill a snake unless it “pose(s) reasonable threat or endangerment to persons or property”. In fact, some of the snakes indigenous to Arkansas are actually endangered.
So now that I’ve made the adequate disclaimer paragraph, let’s move on to creating our Snake-Free-Safety-Zone.
1. Get rid of the debris. Snakes like rocks, sticks, logs, leaves, boards, and any other debris they can hide in. So your first strike in the war against slithering nuisances is to get rid of all these things, or at the very least move them to the farthest corners of your property lines.
2. Close down the diner! If you have a rodent problem, you will probably have a snake problem too. Eliminating their food source is a sure-fire way to get rid of snakes.
3. Seal any openings into your house. Snakes are master contortionists and can easily fit through an opening as small as a dime. Remember to check the clearance of door bottoms and any openings where pipes for plumbing come into your house, like under your sinks.
4. Let your dog roam. Snakes don’t like dogs and can actually smell them. So give your favorite furry friend lots of room to run.
5. Mow. Snakes eat the bugs that hang out in weeds and tall grass. Mowing can eliminate that food source and make the snakes less likely to stop by for dinner.
6. Use Natural Deterrents. Snakes are sensitive to smell and seem to stay away from Marigolds, Mint, Sulfur and Moth Balls. Should you choose to use Sulfur remember it is a dust that shouldn’t be inhaled while applying. Moth Balls are toxic to snakes, but are also toxic to animals and children and should only be used in areas where animals and children won’t be. Moth Balls and Sulfur will lose their smell over time and will need to be reapplied. Marigolds come with the added benefit of keeping other common garden pests away too such as insects, bunnies and dogs that like to dig in your garden.
7. Use Commercial Deterrents. You can find commercial deterrents for purchase at your local hardware and/or garden stores.
These tips and tricks will hopefully help to decrease your chances of encountering too many snakes as the hotter months approach us, but remember, should you come into contact with a snake, the best course of action is to leave it alone. And if that snake happens to be in your home and you aren’t sure if it’s poisonous or not, call Animal Control and let them remove it for you.