What We Know About Garden Snakes
Snakes are an intriguing group of animals. Often misunderstood, they are an integral part of many natural habitats. Knowing more about them can help us enjoy the outdoors and appreciate the many different kinds of wildlife that surround us. This publication is intended to help people identify the snakes of Indiana, increase the awareness of snake conservation and biology, and correct many misconceptions about snakes.
Garden snakes are one of the most common snakes, generally in North America. They are recognized as ‘a snake’ by most people as they live in meadows, hillsides, forests, marshlands and gardens, vacant lots, drainage ditches or backyards and have resisted man's encroachment.
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 prevent garden snakes, 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.
Facts About Snakes:
Snakes are reptiles, a class of vertebrates that also includes lizards, turtles, crocodiles and the tuatara, a small group of lizard-like animals found in New Zealand. As a group, reptiles share many common characteristics. All reptiles have scales. They grow by literally “crawling out of their skin” two to four times annually- they must regularly shed the outside layer of their skin as they get bigger. Reptiles have a body temperature that is the same as their surroundings. They regulate their body temperature by basking in the sun when cold, or seeking shade and reducing activity when warm. Therefore, ambient temperature influences the daily activities of all snakes. For example, snakes tend to be more active during the middle of the day in the spring and fall when evenings are cool, and more active in the morning and evening during the hot summer months.
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