Providing A Garden Snake Habitat – How To Attract Snakes In A Garden

Image by Christine Majul

By Susan Patterson, Master Gardener

They may seem scary at first, but most of the time finding a snake in a garden is a good thing. In fact, providing a garden snake habitat is a great way to keep many rodents and insect pests to a minimum in the landscape. Keep reading to learn more about how to attract snakes to your garden and take advantage of what they can offer.

Significance of Garden Snakes

For some people, the thought of attracting snakes to the garden would seem absurd, but for die-hard gardeners with a slug, snail or small mammal problem, they are the perfect solution. Garden snakes, also known as garter snakes, can, in fact, be a gardener’s best friend.


Garter snakes are harmless to humans and love to bask in the warm sun in and around garden areas. Unfortunately, many people kill these garden snakes before they realize just how beneficial they can be. The broad diet of a garter snake can effectively keep annoying and crop destroying pests out of your garden all season long.

Black snakes may also be beneficial in the garden. The significance of garden snakes like these can be found in their diet of small rodents, which commonly feast on garden bulbs, and will also take care of poisonous snakes, such as copperheads, which can pose a big threat to people.

Many smaller, lesser known snakes can also be of use in the garden. There’s no need to employ expensive or time-consuming efforts to keep your garden safe when you have a snake around.

How to Attract Snakes

Attracting snakes to the garden is easy. If you value the presence of a snake in a garden, you can be sure to attract and retain your very own garden bouncer by providing a garden snake habitat. First and foremost, snakes need a place to hide. You can easily provide sufficient shelter using an old piece of plywood, an old stump or a piece of metal roofing panel. Virtually anything that provides a “safe place” for the snake works well.

Snakes, like all animals, need a source of fresh water. Ground level birdbaths or a small, shallow fountain will do the trick as long as the water is clean and accessible.

Remember, however, to reduce the chance of accidentally killing your snake friend with the mower or weed eater by walking around before you mow. Your garden friend should retreat to its hiding place when it hears you coming.

Attracting Snakes Means No Chemicals

Eliminating the use of any harmful chemicals in the garden is crucial if you want to attract and keep snakes in your garden. Going organic is not only better for you and the environment but also for your garden snake friend.

Harsh fertilizers and herbicides will harm snakes and eliminate their food source. Although changing to organic measures such as using well-aged manure, companion planting, crop rotation and other non-toxic gardening techniques may take some time, it is well worth the effort for everyone.

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