Did you know that 2013 is the year of the snake in the Chinese Zodiac? Here in Georgia that’s especially prophetic. Because of all the rain this year and relatively moderate temperatures, snake sightings have ramped up dramatically. A fellow bird watcher who lives about 10 miles away sent these pictures of the two snakes discovered in his yard this week. The one above is the Southern Banded Water Snake and the one below is a Red-bellied Snake. Neither is poisonous, but they’d certainly give me a fright.
Even though I don’t like snakes, they are an important part of the ecosystem. They eat bugs, rats, mice, and other pests. As a result, all non-poisonous snakes are protected in Georgia. Like other wildlife, snakes will lurk in areas where there’s a good food source, moisture, and cover. Tips for making your yard less attractive to them include
- Keep grass mowed and avoid dense ground covers
such as ivy.
- Replace pine straw mulch with hardwood mulch.
Rodents and snakes can hide under fluffy pine straw.
- Move birdfeeders, which can attract rodents,
away from the house.
I usually see 2 or 3 snakes slithering in the yard every summer, but I haven’t seen one this year. I’m not complaining at all, but it is odd. On the other hand, I’m sure the overgrown marsh is probably snake heaven--moist ground, lots of cover, and teeming with mice, frogs, and bugs.