A. The fear that some people have towards snakes is real – in fact it even has a name – it’s called ‘ophidophobia’. And while snakes may seem scary at first, they’re actually beneficial!
So let’s put aside some of the misconceptions that have besieged snakes since the beginning of time – like they’re slimy and out to bite you - and let’s focus on why seeing a snake in your garden is actually a good thing! Let’s remember that snakes must be cautious and would rather avoid putting themselves in potentially dangerous situations.
Snakes are an integral part of food chains. Depending on the size of the snake, it can eat potential pests like mice, slugs, snails and insects from your garden. They’re like natural pesticides! They’re also an important source of food for many species including skunks, hawks and other raptors.
So if you’re dealing with pest problems in your garden, there is a great way to solve this. All you have to do is create a safe area for your local snakes! Just let a corner of your yard go a little less maintained, a little wild. This will provide shaded areas for snakes (and other beneficial animals like toads) to cool off. You can also place rock piles and logs to provide places for snakes to bask in the sun and hide from predators. Be careful though when moving rocks or wood around your garden in case snakes are hiding underneath. And remember to avoid pesticides and chemical fertilizers as these can be harmful to snakes and other non-targeted species like beneficial pollinators.
Almost half of Canada’s snakes are species at risk, so they need our help. Unfortunately, they have been, and continue to be, misunderstood by many people. They are also threatened by development pressures, road mortality and agricultural operations. By leaving a little area of your property a little wild, you’ll be helping to create a healthy environment for not only snakes but also birds, butterflies, bees and more!