Thursday, March 29, 2012

Have Garter Snakes? Yeah for you!

Question asked by member: 

I was over at the property we are buying and noticed that there were a lot of garden (garter) snakes coming out. I don't know if it was because of the rain we had at the first of the week or not. I don't mind a few but do you know how to control the population of snakes and how do you have chickens with them. Won't they eat the chicks?

Answer by Caleb Warnock:

Garden snakes, also called garter snakes, are a wonderful organic pest control, and a lot of fun too. We have three at our house and we see at least one of them everyday now that it is spring. Like everything else, they are out early this year because it is unusually warm. Garter snakes feed primarily on slugs in the garden and are very beneficial -- they can eat a huge amount of slugs. Garter snakes never have teeth, and don't bite. Our three garter snakes (we've named them all Henry because we can't tell them apart and we call them "the Henries") wander free-range around our yard, garden, and pasture. The kids pick them up and play with them, as do I. They are also a great way to teach kids (and nervous parents) about the benefits of natural wildlife. Part of the reason we keep a pond in our backyard is to attract wildlife, including the snakes. Garter snakes also eat squash bugs and tomato worms. They are a blessing in the garden.


  1. We love our snakes too! If I find one, I always stick it in the garden.

  2. they do bite i know from experience... they usually dont though i have handled hundreds of these as a kid maybe thousands but only been bittenonce... onlyhurt a little... more suprising and scary for a child.

  3. Hi! I'm a volunteer at the Cooperation Operation in Chicago, IL, located in the Pullman neighborhood.

    We have squash bugs! Do you recommend introducing garter snakes to our garden to combat the squash bugs? Should we move the squash out of their raised bed to an area where we've already spotted a few snakes? Do you have any recommendations?