We've all been conditioned to fear one animal or another. Unsure of your species of resistance? If you're a girl you probably you scream when you see it. If you're a guy you probably curse. Either way, snakes have little reason to be in our mental no-fly zone. According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, snakes are a major garden asset. Think in terms of mice: your garden has 2 harmless rodents. Those mice have just 2 babies. In 6 weeks, the 2 baby mice are capable of reproduction. If this happens for a full year, you have 600,000 mice. Gross.
(The red milk snake. It lives mostly under rocks in hilly areas or around cedar trees. It can be found statewide! Good old MO.)
So suddenly, I have quickly warmed up to the thought of a beautiful, fast-moving snake that can wear the pants in pest control instead of me. All natural.
Snakes swallow their prey whole; clearly, we don't have much do worry about. Even if we are close enough to a snake that might bite out of self-defense (venomous snakes are mostly in marshes and swamps...know your Missouri fishing holes), the incredible amount of vibration we send through the ground tells the snake it doesn't stand a chance, and it moves out of our way.
Regardless, snakes aren't culturally popular and simply have a difficult time surviving. Not only does our lack of understanding result in quick plights to kill them, but pollution and urbanization are currently ripping up their natural homes.
So now you're in the know: save your shovel head for digging up dirt, not smacking snake. It's not a hungry wolf or an angry moose....those are real things to run from.
Here's to a rodent-free garden and restoration of wildlife's natural balance..