Garden Maintenance: Snakes in my garden


Most people are terrified of snakes, and whilst many of the snakes found in your garden are harmless, it is certainly better to err on the side of caution. That said, let us start first of all by reiterating the fact that there is no purposely manufactured commercially produced snake repellent that is effective in repelling snakes. There are also no plants or herbs that would deter snakes from coming to your garden. 


There are three things that would encourage snakes to come to your garden: availability of shelter, water and food. In order to discourage snakes, you would firstly need to ensure that your garden and home don’t offer them any shelter. This is extremely difficult as every home and garden has some sort of drain system and ceiling space, pool pump covers, electric gate motors, retaining walls, flower beds and trees, and numerous other structures that could supply a snake with a home. To cut out water supply to the snake, every drain would have to be covered in such a way that it allows no access. The pool, fish pond, water feature and bird bath will have to go. We would also need to stop all rain, dew and water precipitation. Not possible.  If we then decided to remove all food sources, that would mean no pet hamsters, mice, canaries, or cockatiels. All the little ‘mossie’ birds in the roof, bats, the birdbath the fish pond (that calls frogs) will have to go. You will have to make a plan with the dustbin so that doesn’t attract any rats and mice. You can’t put on any lights either that calls frogs, toads, lizards and geckoes. You cannot have any flowering plants and fruit bearing trees!  Do you see where we are going with this?  

mozambiquan spitting cobra | snakes in my garden | eco balance landscaping


Let’s face it, snakes are here to stay and in fact are a necessary element in every balanced garden.  A truly balanced garden will contain an adequate food chain. The trick (and the challenge) is to manage the species of snakes that are safe and useful to have around your garden. South Africa is blessed with some 170 species and sub species of snakes of which only 13 are considered of medical importance.  In any given area you will never find more than 7 dangerous species occurring.  Surely anyone of reasonable intellect can learn to identify seven species?  On the Dolphin Coast east of the N2 freeway the species to be concerned about are: green mamba, boomslang, vine snake, forest cobra, Mozambique spitting cobra, night adder and stiletto snake.  In order to learn to identify these dangerous species a visit to your local reptile park could assist you, a decent snake book could prove invaluable, doing a snake awareness course could go along way to allaying your fears. 

Most of us make use of motor transport on a daily basis, this even though the risk of being involved in a motor vehicle accident is some 36% and risk of being bitten by a snake is some 0.01% yet we will all admire the neighbours new ride, but shriek in terror when we see a harmless bush snake in the garden! We've got our priorities wrong folks! Snakes are not bad nasties waiting to bite us. Bites are in fact rare!

So do a little reading then put your fear on the backburner and get out there into your garden and if you do spot a snake, call one of our local snake catchers like Nico from North Coast Venemous Snake Park on 0843706573 - rather be safe than sorry!

Happy Gardening!