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The Top 5 Snakes You'll Find In Your Backyard

the top 5 snakes you'll find in your backyard

While this is not a favorite topic for many people, snakes in your backyard are not uncommon as you think. This is especially true if you have standing water, say a small pond or water tub, or heavy shrubbery.

For this reason, it's important to know the top 5 snakes you'll find in your backyard and why they are attracted to your backyard. In addition, knowing how to protect yourself using clothing like snake chaps will come in handy.

However, before we dive deeper, it's important to note that some of the snakes you might find in your backyard, such as garden snakes and water snakes, are non-venomous. In fact, they are beneficial in that they feed on rodents and insects that destroy your lawn.

But first, what brings snakes to your yard?

Why Do Snakes Love Your Backyard?

Like pests, snakes will make your property home if they have access to water, food, and shelter. Snakes will love your backyard if they have their favorite food(prey), which includes:

  • Snails

  • Slugs

  • Rodents

  • Grasshoppers

  • Moles

  • Fish

  • Frogs

  • Small farm animals

Where Are You Likely to Find in Your Backyard?

Snake shelters in your backyard may include:

  1. Thick shrubbery or bush - A thick bush or shrub in your yard makes the perfect shelter for snakes. Here, they can hide and feed on insects, rodents, and other prey.

  2. Water - Snakes and other pests love to nest around water. This could be a standing pool of water in your garden, say a fish pond, or near a water hose. In addition, birdbaths are also known to attract snakes.

  3. Tallgrass - Snakes like to travel through tall grass. This may make them more attracted to your backyard.

  4. Firewood storage areas - Snakes love warm and hidden areas such as firewood storage areas. Here, they can stay hidden and even lay eggs, increasing the snake population in your backyard.

Other favorable snake shelters include;

  • Piled hoses

  • Ventilations

  • Broken gutters

  • Compost or pits of leaves

Signs You Have Snakes In Your Backyard

More often than not, you may not know you have snakes in your backyard unless you have spotted one. However, knowing what to look out for may help keep you and your family safe.

Below are a few signs that the scaly reptiles have made a home in your backyard.

  1. Snake holes

  2. Slither tracks

  3. Snake droppings

  4. Snake skins

  5. A sudden decrease in the number of rodents on your property

  6. Strange noises in the floor area

  7. A distinct smell in enclosed spaces

What Are The Top 5 Snakes You'll Find In Your Backyard?

It can be hard to determine a snake species when you spot it in your backyard. This is because snakes are often fast and good at hiding. That said, it's critical to know what kind of snake you're dealing with before getting rid of it from your backyard.

Below are the top 5 snakes you're likely to find in your yard.

snake nesting on wood

1. Rat Snakes

Rat snakes come from the Colubridae snake family. They are medium to large-sized and kill their prey through constriction. In addition, these non-venomous snakes often have a dark body, underbelly, and lower chin. However, sometimes you can find rat snakes in other various colors.

You can find rat snakes in your backyard if you have a standing pool of water or live nearby a lake. Although they are good swimmers, these snakes are also climbers and can be found lounging atop a tree. In addition, rat snakes have a noticeably large head than the rest of their bodies, making it a great identifying feature.

2. Garter Snakes

Garter snakes are small to medium-sized and often found in North America. These snakes have three stripes that run down their bodies. In addition, their heads are proportional to the rest of their bodies.

Growing up to 54 inches long, a garter snake feeds on snails, insects, leeches, pests, and small rodents. While the idea of having snakes in your backyard can be scary, garter snakes are beneficial as they feed on pests feeding on perennials and bulbs.

This non-venomous snake is highly adaptive, living in different habitats like fields, grasslands, and, you guessed it, your lawn. In addition, they're great swimmers and sometimes include frogs in their diet.

3. King Snakes

Kingsnakes are non-venomous and often confused with venomous coral snakes due to their color. These backyard snakes have red, yellow, or black markings, round pupils, and a spoon-shaped head.

Kingsnakes are called "king" because they feed on other snakes, such as copperheads and rattlesnakes. They are also constrictors, making them non-venomous in case of a bite. In addition, they're quite aggressive compared to rat snakes and garter snakes.

4. Gopher Snakes

A gopher snake, also known as a farmer's best friend, feeds on small rodents that burrow and damage your crops. However, these snakes also feed on small birds, bats, rats and mice.

Gopher snakes have a beautiful appearance, similar to rattlesnakes. Even so, they lack the white stripes/bands around the rattle. In addition, gopher snakes are non-venomous and harmless to you and your pets.

Farmers consider these snakes a blessing. Gopher snakes are your "go-to" security if you're dealing with rodents going after an animal feed, garden crops or fertilizer in your shed, greenhouse or barn.

5. Banded Water Snake

This semi-aquatic snake is mid-sized and heavily bodied. With a dark stripe starting from the eye to the jaw, you can find this snake in various colors, from red or light brown to black. In addition, the banded water snake has dark crossbands, unlike those of a copperhead.

Banded water snakes can be found in aquatic habitats, like a fish pond or a lake. They also love to nest on branches or logs overhanging the water, where they can feed on fish, frogs and other amphibians.

How Do You Get Rid Of Snakes In Your Backyard

A snake in your house or backyard can be a serious problem. The first thing to note is that snakes are often more afraid of humans than we are of them. However, they can lash out and harm you when they feel trapped or cornered.

Another important factor to keep in mind when getting rid of a snake in your backyard is identifying its species. Why? You want to ensure that it's not venomous before trying to remove it by yourself.

However, if you're not sure how to identify the snake species, it's advisable to call a pest control specialist in your area for help.

Keeping your backyard snake-free can be difficult, especially if you live around a snake territory. Fortunately, there're a few ways to ensure live snakes don't infest your backyard. These include:

1. Remove Standing Water Pools

Removing standing water sources is key to getting rid of snakes in your yard. This is because frogs, snails, insects, and other pests love to nest by the water. In turn, they attract snakes who want to eat them.

It's also advisable to limit overwatering your lawn. This is because moisture attracts amphibians, rodents, birds, and insects, which are food for snakes.

2. Destroy or Remove Snake Shelters

Thorough and frequent cleaning of warm and hidden snake shelters can greatly help reduce a snake infestation in your backyard. These include furniture storage areas, piled hoses, and other open spaces under your house or shed.

Other snake shelters in most backyards are rock or debris piles. Piled-up rocks in landscaping make a great home for snakes. Therefore, ensure you clean up rock, debris, and leaves pits frequently.