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Thread: Garter snakes

  1. #1
    Super Member quilter1's Avatar
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    Garter snakes

    I am a city girl transplanted to the country last fall, so critters are not my favourite things. Like them from afar but not near me. We have a family of garter snakes living by the house. First I saw a couple sunning themselves on the stone porch- they slithered up and under the siding of the house!! My DH put moth balls there and they moved to the garden by the side door. Will those 18" long beings come into the house? I am very leery of finding one curled up somewhere. I know they are harmless and actually will eat other unwanted bugs and things, but... Now I need to get out and do some gardening and am scared of stepping on one, or worse yet, touching one. Any suggestions to help this Toronto raised girl?
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  2. #2
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    Garter snakes are shy so stomp your feet when you go near the plantings in your yard. They will move away when the feel and hear you coming.

  3. #3
    Super Member Lisa_wanna_b_quilter's Avatar
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    I've had snakes get in the house before, so I suppose it is possible. Try to look at it logically. They can't hurt you. They are not venomous. If you do step on it, it's going to be much hard on it than you. Take a deep breath and do what needs to be done.

    As you can tell, I'm a country girl. My boys used to catch baby garden snakes and watch them swim in the bathtub if I didn't pay attention to them. The snakes are no big deal to me. Of course, should I ever need to make my way through a huge, scary place like Toronto, I'll be holding your hand and hiding behind you! It's all in what you are used to in life.

  4. #4
    Super Member Kathy T.'s Avatar
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    I haven't seen garter snakes around here but I would welcome them like I welcome my black snakes. I try to think of them as outside pets ... they eat bugs, like you said, and they eat and keep other "bad" snakes away. Once you get over the fear of coming on one unexpectedly and being startled, you'll be fine. Push the handle of a rake or hoe around under the bushes where you want to work and they will sneak away and you'll never see them.

  5. #5
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    About the concern re: finding one in the house....get a kittie. We live in the country and various creatures get in some how...they are dispatched and offered as a gift to my DH.....on the floor next to his side of the bed.
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  6. #6
    Power Poster nativetexan's Avatar
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    We have them here too (Colorado) and they slither away when people or cats are near. I picked one up once. never again. my husband can do that! ick.

  7. #7
    Power Poster Onebyone's Avatar
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    We have large outside cats and they do a great job of keeping critters out of the yard and we are surrounded by woods and a deep creek. My DH says they are the only pets we have that earn their keep.
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  8. #8
    Super Member nanacc's Avatar
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    I live in the country and have never been fond of any form of "creepy crawlies"! I will add that you may consider yourself lucky that you have no rattlesnakes like I shot on my place last week!! I check around here with my binoculars regularly!

  9. #9
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    We have snakes and lizards here in southern California. But a lot of our snakes are poisonous. I don't stop to find out which kind - just run for the hills.

  10. #10
    Super Member auntpiggylpn's Avatar
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    I spent 32 years living in the country but the last 15 I was a city dweller. That is until January of this year. We moved out of state and purchased a house that is bordered by woods and a small river. I haven't seen any garter snakes yet but I did chase a 2.5 ft Black Rat Snake (non venomous and move verrrry slowwwwwly) out of our fenced in back yard 2 weeks ago. The snakes don't bother me; it is the spiders that are the size of my cat's head that freak me out. Found this Skinny Legged Wolf spider on the glass sliders yesterday. The concrete that he is sitting on us about 3" wide so that gives you a good idea of how big this thing was.
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  11. #11
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
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    Ditto everything Lisa said ... keep a rag handy and if you see any near you - swoosh the rag in their direction and they'll go away.

    Me? I see them mostly when I'm mowing the lawn. I pick them up and move them to the wood pile where they'll be safe from the mower. Garters are great garden companions. I save toads from the mower too.

    Funny story. One of my past dogs used to walk next to me when I was mowing. If I saw a toad (we have LOTS) I would stop the mower, pick it up and move it to the wood pile. I always told the dog "lets move Mr. Toad to the wood pile". Eventually ... the dog started seeing the toads first and would go out in front of me and "nose" them forward and "herd" them to the wood pile. I think I had the only toad herding dog in the world.
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  12. #12
    Super Member crafty pat's Avatar
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    I have rattlers in my yard. Have had them get in my garage. Also have rat snakes that look so much like the rattlers. We have the little garden snake also. I am so afraid of them all I want them all gone.

  13. #13
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    I've never seen one here in the city. But I grew up in the country and saw them all the time when I was little. My daughter has a pond in her yard in Colorado and "the boys" (aka Granddogs) love to find snakes in there and bring them in the house. They're quite proud of themselves.

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    Power Poster ube quilting's Avatar
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    Lucky you! I get copperheads in my yard. I always use a walking stick when going in the woods to make a movement before I step. They like my farm pond.
    I would love to see some garter snakes. They are harmless and useful. I do understand the eck factor for some people.

    I did find a ring neck snake in my laundry room many years ago. It was newly hatched, so it could have wiggled in under the outer door. This cutie is about 5" long and harmless.

    Good luck with the snakes.
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  15. #15
    Super Member MaryKatherine's Avatar
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    Buck up there Girl! We Canadians are a tough breed! Now you might freak at bit at my suggestion.

    Have some one help you CATCH one and HOLD it for a while ( okay a little one). Then you can see how delicate and silky they feel. The more you get to know them the more you will appreciate them and be less afraid. Still, I am ALWAYS startled when I come across a snake but not frightened
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  16. #16
    Power Poster solstice3's Avatar
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    If there is a way in the critters will come

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    I understand how you feel. I was raised in the country but still don't like snakes. In one town we lived, there were times I looked in the back yard and could see at least a half a dozen of snakes at one time. I would take the kids out we me when I would hang out clothes thinking that their running around would scare the snakes away.

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    I love your story, Dog House Mom! When my son was about 4 he told me that the problem with snakes is that they snake up on you. I name the garter snakes that live around my house. I look for them when I go outside to eliminate the startle factor.

  19. #19
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    That is exactly right, Mary Katherine.

  20. #20
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    Garter snakes eat more than bugs, they eat mice too.

    There were lots of Garter snakes around my grandmother's house. As a child I played with them. Now I prefer to see them first and it has been a few years since I picked on up. I think being startled is normal when something moves unexpectedly.

    I once saw a writhing mass of mating snakes, it was about the size of a basket ball. Fascinating.

    The only times we have had a snake inside is when the cats brought them in. We have had many cats that like to play with snakes, but none that killed them.

    My step mum is from NZ where they have no snakes. She lives in my grandmother's house for 4-5 months of each year, the summer when the snakes are out. She has gotten used to them, thank goodness her heart is strong.
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  21. #21
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    Wish I had some.


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    OMG I know just how you feel. As a young kid I went berry picking with my grandma and all of a sudden she says "shhhhhhh, don't move". She reached down into the berry patch and came up with a snake and flung him into the air into the field. I thought I was going to wet my pants lol. I have been scared ever since.
    Another time I asked my 8year old son to please get the rope I saw on the step. It looked like close line rope only fatter. All of a sudden he says to me " look mom the rope is moving" LOL. As I write about my country adventures I am laughing but I AM STILL AFRAID OF SNAKES!

  23. #23
    Super Member madamekelly's Avatar
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    My MIL had a terror of snakes. She was so afraid of them that she kept peacocks in her yard because she heard they eat snakes. Peacocks make a terrible racket, but they made her feel safer. We pulled into her yard one day to see her screaming "Snake! Snake! and chopping at it with the shovel. She was in full panic mode. My DH went to investigate, only to find she had "killed" the black extension cord that ran across the yard to her shed! We still tease her about being a 'big game hunter'! (We got her an orange extension cord to replace the black one.)
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  24. #24
    Super Member misseva's Avatar
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    I had a huge chicken snake living under my house and my mother's caregiver killed it! I could have cried. They eat mice. Snakes I can handle - mice - I'm terrified. My daughter would almost have a heart attach if she saw a spider that size.
    TwandasMom

  25. #25
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    Well, here in New Mexico, we have a variety of snakes. My husband found about a 5 foot coach whip (racer). It went up into nearby tree. He looked and looked for it but couldn't see it. From the house, I saw it slither around before it finally dropped from the tree. If you chase these snakes, they will turn around and chase you. They are very fast. I do not like these snakes. They get into bird nests and eat them. However, my husband says to leave the bull snakes alone. They keep the bad ones away.

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