Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Garter Snakes Around The Homestead

 A garter snake in the yard

We have more than a few garter snakes living on our homestead this year. When I am in the garden they will slither away quickly. I have had to save a couple from our cats. Most people are scared of snakes and will kill them as soon as they see one in their yard. We do not feel that way about our snakes. In fact, they seem to know us.

Garter snakes feed on earthworms, frogs, insects, salamanders and occasionally on small birds or mammals, such as mice and moles. They like to live on damp ground. We don't have any standing water on our property, but we get enough rain usually to keep our ground moist.

 Three snakes in the morning sun!

Snakes are considered to be cold blooded. But they are not exactly cold blooded. They do not control their own body temperature. Mammals control their temperature by their internal metabolism. Snakes' temperature is dependent on their environment. That is why most of them live in warm climates. I am glad that our snakes here in NY are not the poisonous types. And I can understand people in tropical climates not wanting them around. But for me, I like our snakes, and even look for them in the morning.

Mickey (Dran) showing off a dead snake

Since I partly grew up in Crescent City, FL, I am fairly familiar with snakes. The kind that we had in FL were not the kind to mess around with. Behind our house was a swamp with trees in it. Often water moccasins would hang in the trees. It was not a place I ever went to. Though my brother would often go out there in a row boat with his gun. One time after I got off the school bus, he ran at me and pushed me out of the way. I didn't realize it at the time, but I almost stepped on a sand rattler and it was up in position to strike!

 Our biggest garter snake!

One morning some years back, our kitchen ceiling was opened up and a big snake was coiling down from it. Now that did scare me! Mostly because I didn't expect a snake coming out of my ceiling and he was a big one. How he got up in my attic I do not know, and hope we never have any up there again. My husband caught him and carried him down to the creek.

For the most part, snakes are as scared of you as you are of them. If you leave them alone they will usually go away from you. Don't threaten them unless you have no choice and they will leave you alone. Be careful around them and teach your children to also.

Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole
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