Garden snakes

Staten Island, NY(Zone 6a)

My son and family just moved to Florida and my daughter in law wants to garden but she cannot deal with the garden snakes . Is there something to use to keep them away ?

Bedford, VA(Zone 7a)

I don't know of anything that really works. As long as you have a food source for them, they will come. So, don't feed or house the birds or leave dog or cat food outside because that will attract rodents. Keep any mulch to less than an inch and leave nothing out that they can hide in or under.

Clermont, FL(Zone 9a)

I've been in Fl. 46 years and garden all the time and have never seen garden snakes. Once in a while I get a beautiful black snake and they are the good guys. What kind of snake are you referring to?

Tampa, FL(Zone 9b)

The only snakes I ever run across in my yard are black racers, which are a good snake and the occasional ring-necked snake. The black racers see you coming and will go the other way, so they are not usually a problem with gardeners and the ring-necked snake are generally nocturnal and may only get a foot long.


Staten Island, NY(Zone 6a)

Thank Bonnie and Shauna for your info , I will let my daughter in law know.

Winter Springs, FL(Zone 9b)

Don't put out bird seed, it attracts rodents, which attracts snakes. In 30 plus years I've never seen a poisonous snake in my garden. I have had all kinds of snakes though, the rat snake in the shed took care of the rats. But once we stopped bird seed and the snakes ate all the rats, we no longer see anything but black snakes.
I used to have such a fear of snakes, but now I enjoy watching them, from a distance. ☺

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

My DH gets the willies when he sees a snake... I saw a baby black one, assuming a racer while working in the yard... then after we had the flower beds mulched... DH found one that was living under a brick [the previous owner laid bricks around the foundation to keep the armadillos from digging... ]

the snake was about 18" and NOT happy that Dh was moving him to the back field... I would have left him alone.

When I know a snake is harmless, I am not bothered by them at all.

Bradenton, FL(Zone 9a)

I hate the bugs. The snakes if you see them will take off, not so with bugs.
The photo of the snake below lives in my yard.

Thumbnail by turtlewalker342
Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

Great photo!!

Winter Springs, FL(Zone 9b)

Nice close up, they don't let me get that close.

Last night I saw something on the dogs inside water dish, turned on the kitchen light and it was a frog, of course the dog and cats saw it and I have no idea where it is now, I'm sure I'll find it all shriveled up dead down the road. I've only had one other time a frog got in the house and that one was as big as my hand and in my shower. DH said that one could have come up through the sewer line (toilet). Not a comforting thought. Remember the lady that found a huge snake in her toilet a few years back?

(Zone 9a)

Tell your DIL to do the "snake stomp" dance when she is working in a brushy area or one with full plants or groundcover. Always stomp around before reaching in anyplace where you can't see the soil; any hidden snakes will skedaddle when they hear you coming.

Some folks, mostly newcomers to the southeast, will swear they see snakes all the time and to hear them tell it they are usually copperheads, LOL. Frankly, those of us who have been out in the garden for many years can assure you snake sightings are very few and far between.

Bedford, VA(Zone 7a)

Back on Staten Island, we used to see garter snakes all the time, no poisonous ones but here in Virginia, we do see a lot more poisonous snakes.

This year was bad for copperheads and water moccasins, people were actually putting out the word they were looking for king snakes to be brought to their places to get the copperheads to go away. Those suckers don't move no matter how much you stomp your feet. There was a water moccasin under our jon boat last spring and I had to take a few shots at it with a .22 before it decided that maybe it was a good time to move on.

Winter Springs, FL(Zone 9b)

This is a really great Florida Snake guide I have bookmarked on my computer for snake ID and other reptiles.

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

neat site. thx.

Staten Island, NY(Zone 6a)

Hi dragonfly53,I live on Staten Island for 42 years and I have never come across a garden snake . I have been gardening about 34 years but I am one that always try to keep my yard cleaned and raked . I do not care for snakes myself..

Bedford, VA(Zone 7a)


We would see them in Travis all the time especially before the expressway when Yonks stables were still running.. There used to be a lot of farms there til the land got filled in and houses were built. Not poisonous ones, though, think it was too sheltered.

I grew up in Stapleton and used to see them there too, believe it or not but back then, there was a lot of greenery there too.

Staten Island, NY(Zone 6a)

Oh yes when I moved to Staten Island there where lots of farms but I lived on the border of West Brighton and Port Richmond and was lucky I did not come across them, but I recalled my kids saying they are not afraid of garden snakes. The area I lived in the farms were already gone.

Davie, FL(Zone 10b)

i've seen some places sell snake repellant (also many versions in online stores)...i don't know how harmful it is or if it works though...personally i like snakes so i'd never try using it

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

Saw a beautiful Red Corn Snake in my front bed yesterday. It had to be 30" long.

when ever I see a snake, I run in for a quick google to find out if it's a "friendly"

About 6 weeks ago, when the "river" rose behind us, we saw a few more snakes in the yard, one was a bright green [forgot the name], but as long as it's non-venomous, it can stay in the yard.... hopefully eating mice and bugs and things.... From what i've heard.. .if you have "racers" or or hopefully other snakes, it keeps the rattlers away.

Jacksonville, FL(Zone 8b)

A good way to tell if a snake is venomous or not, is the following. If they look short even when they are not because their bodies are very thick. And they have large heads with thick "jaws" with a clear "necks" . Most of the non-venomous snakes heads seem to flow into the"necks" with very little change.

I was at a doctors office one day and a "stupid" boy scout was telling some one the way to tale the differences was the scales(shape and number) on the bottom of the snakes. I looked at him and asked "who was stupid enough to turn a snake over and check it's belly scales!!"

Jacksonville, FL(Zone 8b)

There is one "snake " that has a big head. But it is not true snake but a lizard. The grass lizard.

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

thanks sandy, and did a quick google... those look like a skink with a very long tail. I have a skink that lives in the back flower bed.

Jacksonville, FL(Zone 8b)

we have those also I some times see a extremely large male around here

Winter Springs, FL(Zone 9b)

We had a beautiful Corn snake living in our shed for awhile, took care of the rats and then moved on. They are beautiful, but I still give them plenty of room, all snakes will bite if threatened.

We've always had lots of skinks in the garden, I think they like the leaves, lots of bugs hang out in leaves. I see more this time of year while raking up all the leaves. The skinks with the blue tail are really striking looking.

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

>>all snakes will bite if threatened.

I always admire from a distance.

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

My neighbor just came over to show me a "skin" she found in her back yard.
my guess, by the skin - the snake was 3" + in diameter and it had distinct diamond coloring.

i'm going to google to see if I can find out what it was... her daughter was thinking either a Diamond back rattler [not a pygmy which we have in the area] or a water moccasin.

I'd never seen any like it before ... but then I've never lived in an area with a lot of snakes.

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

from the images I looked at, it was an Eastern Diamondback.

Clermont, FL(Zone 9a)

Been here 45 years and never seen all the snakes you others have. Maybe they don't like country life. LOL Only ones we kill are rattlers and in all that time only have seen 2. We keep grass well mowed around the house and pasture is low from cows eating it. I think they prefer wooded areas cause they can hide better. On my friends 900 acre ranch only have seen 1 in many years.
Maybe they like flower beds better but have them also. Wish my favorite little black racer would come back. Cats probably scare it away.


Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

Since the weather has really warmed... i'm seeing more -- not a lot, but but maybe 2 a week. The racer that lives in our flower bed somewhere - I probably see 3 times per week.

Saw a lovely tan with brown lateral striped one near the waters edge yesterday, probably 30" long.

Winter Springs, FL(Zone 9b)

One thing about rattlesnakes is they usually habitat in undisturbed areas away from humans, so it is rare for them to be close proximity to populated areas, unless you have a rodent problem or new construction close by. They like to use gopher tortoise burrows to travel and hide in, so stay away from those.

I have been hiking and camping around this state for well over 30 years and fortunately never encountered a rattle snake, but I stay on hiking paths and don't go into undisturbed areas. I do see lots of snakes all the time, but they take off in the other direction and so do I ☺. My husband an avid outdoors man has lived here his whole life and has only seen one rattlesnake and that was when he was a teenager. However we've seen them a couple times in the mountains while hiking, they like rocks.
One thing with all those snakes you have Terese, you won't have any rat problems, we're battling that right now since our neighbors kill every snake they see. I had to stop feeding birds and composting do to rats. Give me garden snakes any day over rats, they creep me out.

Jacksonville, FL(Zone 8b)

Know that the skin stretches as the snake crawls out of it, so the snake was smaller than 3" if you have the whole skin.
I have only seen one 2 rattlers and both where the pygmy

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

the chatter about the neighborhood is... there was a 5 footer killed about a week ago 1 street over from us.... no idea if it was the same one... but could have been.

Archer/Bronson, FL(Zone 8b)

Here on my place I have seen yellow rat snake, frequently black racers and 1 full grown adult coachwhip and then a young one later. One rattler right after we moved here, 9 years ago.

I'm surprised cats are a problem to snakes. My dogs will worry a wood pile for hours trying to get a snake hiding in there.

Without turning a snake over to see his belly (lol) I use the general quick method, if he has an arrowhead shaped head, he's probably poisonous.

I have 3 ponds I put in on my place. Since the ground toads seemed to have morphed into water frogs, I wonder now about water snakes. Never seen any here and never expected to since there is no natural water source for miles.


Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

For a coupla weeks, I was seeing snakes daily... now, nothing.
though Monday - which is landscape pick up day... and we had piles of palm fronds in the drive... I guess when they were removing the piles, they saw 3 snakes in there... guess gave one of the guys the willies... DH just calls me over, and I picked them up with gloves and put them in the lawn... they were Ring Necks... not more than 8" long. I told DH they were adults and obviously completely harmless.

So far, neither of our cats have seen any snakes, nor Buddy... only a skin or two, which freaks the heck out of Buddy. [our cats are leashed when out in the yard]


Winter Springs, FL(Zone 9b)

I'm so surprised after all the clean up I've been doing outside the past few months that I've not seen one single snake. I usually have black snakes at least. Just hope all the neighbors aren't killing them.

I have seen lots of skinks, here's a shot of a baby I captured while sunning on a Philodendron bark.

Thumbnail by sunkissed
Clermont, FL(Zone 9a)

Beautiful skink Sherri.

I'm happy to report I found a small black racer in my garden yesterday. Hope it stays around.

Bedford, VA(Zone 7a)

We found a black snake in our henhouse uesterday. We relocated him to another part of our property but I have no doubt he'll be back for a snack. They love birds eggs!

I had a bird house on my porch one year, as well as some raling planters. A pair of bluebirds were raising their young in it, and one day I went to water the pla ts in the planters and there was a 5 foot long blacksnake lying in it, with some suspicious lumps in its body. The birds nestong box was empty! I couldnt believe the snake had climbed a 6 foot high deck to get at those poor babies!

Clermont, FL(Zone 9a)

Guess that's what is called the food chain but hate to see baby birds disappear. We have nest boxes on posts for the eastern bluebird and they haven't been bothered yet!

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