Snakes have remained some of the most feared animals across the world. In most cultures, snakes are even labelled evil and are widely feared not only because of their weird look but also for their deadly venom. What most people don’t know are the numerous benefits that snakes offer to their farm.
One of the biggest benefits that snakes offer is pest and rodent control. There is no other rodent predator that can control rodents better than snakes. In addition to that, snakes also control some of the insects in our farms. But which are the most common snakes you are likely to see on your farm? Well, we talked to John from The Snake Ranch on this topic, and he told us four snakes are common on farms, and what we should about them.
Garter snake or garden snake is probably some of the most popular snake species on our farms. They are among a few of the snakes that pose no danger to humans because they are harmless. However, there are some of its species that possess a mild neurotoxic venom but not life-threatening. Garter snake size varies from small to medium with an adult one measuring anything between 18 to 24 inches.
It is easy to identify this type of snakes because of its keeled scales and a head wider than the neck. However, they are uniformly dark with colours varying from white, yellow, green, brown to blue. Garter snakes prefer moist, grassy environment and more so where there is thicker vegetation. They are non-aggressive and usually bury their heads when threatened. However, they can bite when cornered.
Garter snakes eat insects, slugs, rodents and other small animals on the farm. So, they are beneficial to your farm. If you see them, walk away without disturbing. But if you notice that garden snakes are overrunning your farm, remove their friendly habitat, and they will just run away.
Black Rat Snake
Black rat snake, also known as a chicken snake or western rat snake, is one of the nonvenomous snake species mostly found on our farms. As the name suggests, the snake feeds on rats, moles and mice. Therefore, it is one of the most effective rodent population controllers on our farms. Due to their nonvenomous natures, they pose no danger to humans. That’s the reason why they are widely kept as pets across the world.
Black rat snakes are quite bigger than the garter snake and could measure anything from 3 feet to 6 free for an adult. You can easily identify them with their slender, large eyes and smooth scales. Their unique markings include brown blotches on grey background for the younger one and shiny black and white lips, throat and chin for adults. They are a bit timid but may strike to scare off a predator. When cornered, they a release a strong-smell must. They like hiding in loose substrates.
Black rat snake preys on rodents, frogs and lizards. Therefore, they are good for your farm since they help to keep the rodent population at bay. They also prey on some of the insects and other crop pests. If you feel that you have too many black rat snakes in your farm, you can trap and release them. Eliminating heavy brush, woodpiles and debris can also help control their population.
King snake, also known as a milk snake or chain snake, is probably one of the most beautiful snakes found on our farms. But that is not where they get the names from. The name ‘king’ comes from their ability to kill and prey on other snakes including the venomous ones, without the venom affecting them. They can eat snakes of the same size and even larger them. They are nonvenomous and that why some people keep them as a pet.
King snake lives a very active hunting life. A full-grown adult is typically 2 to 4 feet but can be as long as 7 feet. You can easily identify these snakes with their unique marking such as smooth, glossy scales. Their head is slightly wider than the neck. Lastly, they have bulging eyes. King snake hide in woodlands, river valleys, pine forests and rocky crops.
Apart from controlling the population of snakes, they also prey on rodents and other warm-blooded prey. This helps to reduce damages on your crops. They also prey another varmint population, including birds, which can lower your yields. Therefore, you need them on your farm for control rats, moles, mice and insects. If you want to get rid of them, eliminate their habitats, and they will disappear.
Yellow Rat Snakes
Yellow rat snakes, also known as the chicken snake, is another species of snakes you can see on your farm. They are slow in movement and most of the time they ‘freeze’ when they encounter a perceived danger. This is the reason why they make one of the largest numbers of snakes killed on the roadside. However, they are good climbers, and thus you are likely to find them in trees.
Yellow Rat snakes are distinguished by 4 dark stripes when seen against a light-yellow background. An average adult can measure anything between 26 and 72 inches. However, there are cases where yellow rat snakes have been found to be 90 inches long.
They prey on rodents and other varmint population on our farms, making them great for pest control. They have mild venom that does not threaten human. In case you feel that there are too many of these snakes in your farm, clear their habitats, and they will disappear.
In conclusion, snakes can be good for your farm as they are good in controlling rodents. Listed above are just a few of the good snakes that you can find on your farm. All of them do not pose any danger you because they are not venomous, and if they are, it’s mild.