Snake in your yard? Don’t panic! Snakes make great neighbors! They play an integral role in the ecosystem, control rodent populations and are actually really cool. Most snakes are harmless and all snakes deserve our respect. However, for some that may fear snakes, finding a snake in the yard can be an extremely unwanted experience. It is important to understand these animals, be compassionate and consider their right to live in nature. The best part? We can do so with no one getting hurt!

Here are three ways that you can make your home safe for you and for snakes:

(1) Be Snake Aware

Ask yourself, “Could a snake be there?” That’s being snake aware! When walking, playing or gardening in your yard, be conscious of where you put your hands and feet. Snakes like to curl up in dark, quiet places during the heat of the day. Typically in the early morning and evenings the snakes will become more active. Teach your children about snake safety. Tell them to never pick up snakes and say they need to get an adult if they see a snake. Learn about the snakes in your area. Find a reptile identification guide or simply search online for “snakes of {your area}”.

kingsnake, snakes in yard
This mountain kingsnake is a beautiful neighbor and, like all snakes, deserve our respect.

(2) Clean Up Your Property

Do you have boards, debris or trash lying around the yard? Clean it up! A board on the ground is a perfect hangout spot for a snake. Keep your yard tidy and the snakes won’t stay around your house. Keep your grass low and control thick vegetation around your home. Examine your home, see a place a snake could get into? Close up cracks and other openings. Rodent proof your home, but never use poison or glue traps to do so. Snakes will search for food where there is prey. No food? No snakes. Snakes are shy and prefer to not be bothered. If you maintain an active presence in your yard, you will scare most snakes away.

hognose, snakes in yard
This harmless hognose snake is sometimes misidentified as a venomous rattlesnake.

(3) Respect The Snake

If you find a snake, leave it be! Remember that the snake is more afraid of you, then you are of it. Do not try and pick it up. Do not try and get it to move by hitting it with a stick. Snakes are not aggressive, so watch it from a little distance. After some time it will move off on its own. After observing a snake, you might find that they are actually very interesting! Snakes have been around a long time, so it is very important to understand that we moved into the snake’s backyard first. We should do our best to coexist peacefully.

gartersnake, snakes in yard
Snakes are wonderful animals and should be appreciated.