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Snakes in vinca groundcover? Other anti-snake recommendations?

Posted by almatt 6 (My Page) on
Thu, Jun 21, 07 at 13:17

I read a previous posting about snakes groundcover, and the reaction generally was, "Nature's wonderful, let the kiddies enjoy exploring the snakes." Generally, I agree, but that won't fly here, because the snakes in question are copperheads.

I have a part-shade, sloping bed that I was going to plant with periwinkle for erosion control (and I think vinca's pretty). But then my neighbor mentioned that they'd killed two copperhead snakes that week (we're in the Washington, DC suburbs).

Would a low ground cover such as vinca provide the type of hiding place a snake likes?

Are there better alternatives that look good, hold back erosion and don't encourage snakes?

I really don't want poisonous snakes in the yard where my kid plays, so if I can avoid turning my yard into a snake-friendly habitat, I'd be curious for any suggestions.

Thanks for your advice.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Snakes in vinca groundcover? Other anti-snake recommendation

I don't have a solution but I do have vinca.... my non poisonous snakes love the stuff.

what about really thick matting groundcovers like wooley thyme that spreads extremly fast and other thymes. great weed contolers too. I don't know much about copperheads but I believe they are too thick to hide under things like that.
My snakes love rock piles and branch piles and empty pots, anything they can get under.

Good luck. I will be interested to know what other people say.

RE: Snakes in vinca groundcover? Other anti-snake recommendation

The low ground cover will attract snakes. How much do you trust your neighbor's identification? There are many snakes that people mistakenly identify as copperheads. The mountains of Northwestern Maryland are the main suitable habitat in Maryland. I suppose its possible they could be in the outer suburbs of DC. They can do o.k. in suburban areas if the habitat is suitable.

copperheads in DC suburbs

I looked into some pretty specific county level snake data and it appears that many of the DC area counties do support a few small isolated copperhead populations, so I retract my skepticism of your neighbor's id of the snakes (Looks like I need to go looking more the next time I'm visiting relatives in Montgomery County)

Unfortunately I can't think of any vegetation that won't be a potentially attractive place for snakes. Even if you plant nothing at all, nature holds no guarantees so it's a matter of how important a slight reduction in risk of snakebite from very low to very very low is and how important having an attractive natural yard is.

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