How to Get Rid of Garter Snakes
There are 35 species of garter snakes. These snakes are easily identified by their long, slim bodies and colorful appearance. They have long, horizontal stripes and come in a variety of colors, such as red, gray, orange, yellow, green and even turquoise. They also have a lighter-colored belly.
Garter snakes don’t have fangs and aren’t poisonous. However, they do have a few rows of small teeth and can bite. Their bite can become infected if not cleaned and cared for properly, and some people are allergic to their saliva, although this is rare. Even though garter snakes are mostly harmless, they can cause quite a few problems in your home or garden.
What Do Garter Snakes Eat?
Garter snakes are cold-blooded creatures, so they are often found in homes where there is warmth and food in the winter. These slender snakes can enter your home through cracks and come inside to eat insects. Garter snakes often snack on small mammals, too, such as mice.
While garter snakes can act as a natural pest control, most people who discover snakes in their home find it to be a frightening experience. Garter snakes also smell bad and may be one of the smelliest snakes. While garter snakes are generally solitary creatures, they do tend to hibernate in large numbers to prevent heat loss and keep their bodies warm. This means you can have large numbers in your home during winter.
Garter Snakes in the Yard and Garden
A few garter snakes in the garden can be a good thing. They do eat insects, so they can help control pests that may harm your plants. You don’t want a large number of these snakes in your garden, however. Garter snakes will call your yard home if it provides the right habitat. These snakes like moist, grassy areas and are often found near water, such as streams, lakes and ditches. They also like areas that provide cover, so if your yard has piles of debris, such as rocks, logs, boards or dense vegetation, you are more likely to have garter snakes.
Garter snakes are problematic in the yard and garden for a couple of reasons. First, it can be frightening to encounter a snake while outdoors, and they will bite if you accidentally step on them. It is estimated between 1.2 and 5.5 million people get bitten by snakes each year around the world, with the largest number of bites coming from non-poisonous snakes. Second, while garter snakes do eat insects, they also eat beneficial insects, so if you have a larger number of these pests, it can do more harm than good for your garden plants.
How to Get Rid of Garter Snakes
Whether they are a nuisance or you are just frightened by their presence, garter snakes can be eliminated. Let’s look at how to get rid of snakes around the house.
Prevention is best. Go around your home and close up any cracks or holes where snakes could enter and work to make your home snake proof. There are products you can buy, such as Victor® Snake A-Way®. This granular formula of snake repellent is easy to use and effective. Put on some gloves and sprinkle the granules along the perimeter you want to protect.
So, how to get rid of garter snakes in your yard and garden? First, you can clean up any debris piles snakes use for shelter. You can also use products such as Safer® Brand Snake Shield™. This is also a granular snake repellent. The active ingredients are sulfur and natural oils, so it’s safe to use around the yard and in your vegetable and flower gardens. You can also use it under your home. Garter snakes don’t have to be a problem, if you take the right steps for prevention and deterrence.