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Snakes in the Garden

By Judy Sedbrook, Colorado Master GardenerSM, Colorado State University Cooperative Extension, Denver County

Even though snakes that are found in the garden are generally harmless, few people are comfortable having them there. If you have put in the time and effort necessary to create a water feature in your garden, you will probably not welcome the arrival of semi-amphibious garter snakes. Though non-poisonous, these pests can mean the end of  fish, frogs and turtles that contribute to the pleasure of having a pond.

To banish these harmless creatures from your garden, consider the following approaches:

  • Construct a snake-proof fence around your garden. A snake-proof fence can be made of heavy galvanized screen, about three feet wide with a quarter-inch mesh. The fence should slant away from the garden at a thirty-degree angle and be buried six inches below the soil surface. Remove or closely mow any vegetation that may be near the fence.
  • Make your garden and landscape unattractive to snakes by eliminating any shelter or hiding places that may seem inviting to them. Remove logs, boards, rocks, and other debris that may be lying on the ground. High grass and other vegetation should be mowed closely or removed in order to control insects and rodents that are attractive to snakes. Firewood should be stacked at least one foot off of the ground.

Unfortunately, there are no chemicals or other substances that have been found to be effective in repelling snakes.

If there is any question as to the type of snake you are dealing with, consult your local animal control agency or a professional pest control company for help in capturing it.

Photo: Judy Sedbrook

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Date last revised: 01/05/2010