This much is true: There are no snakes in Ireland.
Scientists suggest their absence is not because they left, but because they never got there at all. After the ice age, the icy sea surrounding this inhospitable island country simply prevented snakes from settling there. I think I prefer the tale of St. Patrick.
A land without snakes probably holds a lot of appeal to those with ophidiophobia (fear of snakes) or just find them icky on general principle. As a gardener, I am generally pro-snake, happy to have the slithery, low-profile predators on hand to keep rodent riff-raff from eating my plants. My tune changed just a bit the first time I found a black rat snake curled up in one of the chicken nesting boxes cheerfully swallowing his second egg. And when I was called onto an elementary school playground to remove a copperhead discovered under a play structure, a snake-free land started to look mighty appealing.
Copperheads are a venomous snake not uncommon here in North Carolina and their bite causes painful tissue damage and can even be fatal. North Carolina has the unfortunate distinction of having the highest rate of venomous snake bites in the United States. While it is usually my preference to relocate unwelcome wildlife, I do not hesitate to kill the copperhead.
If snakes have overstayed their welcome in your yard and St. Patrick isn’t on hand to drive them away with a wave of his shepherd’s crook, all is not lost. Although it is nearly impossible to truly keep outdoor spaces snake-free, a few preventative measures might keep them from hanging around.
Clean Up the Clutter
Mow the Lawn
Keep Hedges Trimmed and Tidy
Check Structures for Gaps or Holes
Collect Eggs Regularly
Most snakes are harmless (although still creepy), but unless you know exactly what kind you’re dealing with, proceed with extreme caution. If bitten, seek immediate medical attention.
Originally: Keep Snakes Out of Your Garden