Interesting visitor to my plants today

nannerbelle(8A)May 31, 2013

I went out to water all my plants that have been taken up and was thinking what a nice evening. I have the ones that have been potted up under an oak tree at the side of the house. All of my garden art has been taken up as have my bird baths and feeders. I noticed hummingbirds darting around in the limbs of the big old oak and decided to put a couple of feeders out for the duration until we move. I was just finishing up the last of the watering at the edge of the woods and noticed a visitor. There was a big, about 5 ft long, black snake draped among the knee high branches on a small oak on the edge of the woods directly behind the plants I was watering. He startled me at first, but I thought, how good he is there. Other snakes and rats around my Pods container be gone says the black snake!! Wish I had a camera when I saw him, I've never seen one use his self as Christmas Tree garland in June. :-)

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Yes those guys can climb. One of my earliest intros to NC was to have our fence builder point out a black snake sliding from branch to branch, one a foot below the other approximately eight to 10 feet up in the pines.

I guess they hibernate too. A couple years later, I tried to open a small drawer in my workshop and found it stiff to move because it was filled solid with a black snake packed in solid. I closed the drawer and found something else to do.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 9:13PM
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Lots of black and king snakes here this year. We have always had some, which we don't harm as they keep the mice away. However, this year we have SO many that it is driving the dog crazy. She can smell them and alerts me, so I have not (yet) put my hand down where one is.

The kings can be aggressive when cornered, but the black snakes usually try to get away. All part of Mother Nature.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 8:26AM
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So good to read people appreciating the snake and not seeking to kill it. Snakes are wonderful to have around...the black variety probably a rat snake or racer. Good rodent control.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 1:11PM
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Yes, he won't come to harm from me unless I have a problem with him like him trying to bite me or my dogs. I actually like having them around to keep bad snakes and mice away. The dogs steered way clear of him so I'm not worried about him being there. Back when I had horses I had a big one like this that lived under my feed room floor. Every now and again he would pop his head out and scare the crap out of a yearling colt I had. But he never interfered with any of the activities at the barn and never had any encounters of a bad kind with him. The worst he ever did was steal a chicken egg or two, which I just considered payment for a mouse free feed room.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 7:22PM
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dottie_in_charlotte(z7-8 NC)

I've had both the king and the black snake, about the same size, King came first for three days in a row then the black came a couple days after that.
I know I have voles but you should have seen my leaf/compost pile erupt with skinks as the snakes arrive.
Snakes must have a scent critters can detect but we can't.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 4:03PM
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My yard is so over run with voles and cotton rats that I go out of my way to catch snakes and release them in my yard when I can. It drives a lot of friends and visitors crazy because I don't care if they are poisonous snakes or not, as long as they eat rodents they are fine by me. Whenever I use bird netting to protect fruiting bushes or trees I check it twice a day to rescue any snakes or turtles that have gotten tangled up in it (this happens a lot!). My neighbors used to assume I was going to chop up the copperheads but I carefully cut them free and took them over to the brush pile. I need all the rodent eaters I can get. It helps that I worked for years and years as a zookeeper and had to handle snakes every day - they don't bother me at all. I enjoy them when I see them.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2013 at 2:32PM
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Black snakes will emit some kind of smell if bothered. I had oneon the back porch one time and was poking a hoe at it when I noticed a smell that wasn't there before I started poking.

Last snake that I killed was when I was in college 20 years ago or so. Neighbor called and asked if I'd come kill it. Must have been 6 or 8 feet long, black snake, fat as my wrist. Hard to kill with a hoe. I have always hated that I killed it since I did it, and have never killed another that I know of.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 8:21AM
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TriangleJohn, you are way braver than I am. I'm gonna run from poisonous snakes! I don't want those anywhere around me or my dogs. But I do love the big black snakes and having them around. They are really good garden helpers. And the little turtles and lizards are just cool to watch. I call them my little Dino-roars.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 4:00PM
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I may sing a different tune once me or one of the pets gets bitten but for 55 years I have lived with copperheads (and rattlesnakes back in OK) all around me and I've never had a problem. I garden barefoot and walk in the tall weedy fields around the house and through the woods in flip flops. I see them all the time, but I don't do whatever it is that gets other people bitten - or its just dumb luck.

The cotton rat problem is so bad that while out in the garden you'll see one scamper across the path in front of you and when you turn to tell someone about it you see another one scamper in the other direction. They're everywhere and they do as much damage as the voles. Snakes are my only solution.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2013 at 9:23AM
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CasaLester RTP, NC (7b)

John, have you tried the Havahart traps? Model 1020 works well for rats and mice, and 1030 for rabbits, squirrels, and opossums.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2013 at 9:38PM
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John, I have never heard of cotton rats so I looked them up. From wikipedia on predators: In North Carolina, bobcats (Lynx rufus) consumed substantial numbers of hispid cotton rats. Perhaps you need to attract some bobcats? Here kitty, kitty!

    Bookmark   June 8, 2013 at 10:08AM
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There are stray cats that hang out in the yard and I bet its all because of the rats. Coyotes are in this neighborhood so cats don't last long. I have a tall wire mesh fence around the entire property to keep the deer out which also keeps out most of the wildlife (raccoons and foxes and opossums don't like to climb a wobbly 8 foot fence).

My yards is entirely gardened, with very little lawn, it would take a thousand traps to catch all the rats in the acre and a half. I do put out two trap stations with snap traps in the winter. I count on the snakes during the summer.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2013 at 3:12PM
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So after all of the snakes, today we had a snapping turtle right outside the house. They say turtles lay their eggs rather far from the pond in which they live. I tried to get a photo, but that darned turtle just moved too fast...was in the weeds before I could get outside with a camera. We have had spring "visits" before, so this was not new, but on top of all of the snakes, her visit made us realize we now have a great habitat for critters. Dog is still not happy.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2013 at 8:57PM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

I have a big black snake that hangs around my place. It's been here for many years.

Sometimes I have to stop cutting grass and wait for s/he to move or go around it. Sometimes I actually have to move it so that I can finish!

I think it knows that I'm friendly and not afraid of it so it is no problem to pick up and move.

It has made some grown men scream like a little girl when they accidentally walk up on it while visiting! :)

    Bookmark   June 10, 2013 at 12:34PM
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