ella33 21:39 10 Jun 2010

Reading through Noldi's thread made me think of something a friend was talking about a few days ago.

They live on a smallholding with a wood on one side and cornfields on the other. They are having a particularly bad problem this year with snakes, not just in the garden but getting into the house at the moment. They are not poisonous and it is known that they eat mice and insects but she wants to get them down a bit. They don't seem to have heard the news that the snake population is supposedly down!

She has been given advice, such as mixing cat litter and mothballs, which doesn't seem to work, she is growing wild garlic, mint and lemon grass which they are not supposed to like. They are considering getting large turkeys and ducks to eat them but the turkeys can get hard to handle I believe. One forum suggested secretary birds but they are only in Africa.

This is not a joke, looking back it does look like it! Does anyone have their foolproof or snakeproof methods of addressing the problem? (Moving has been suggested!)

  Brumas 21:49 10 Jun 2010

Afraid I cannot offer any real advice Ella other than these remedies I culled from the internet.

Make a dry repellent. Working in a well ventilated area, mix 2 cups of sulphur, 1 cup of moth ball flakes and ½ cup crushed red pepper. Sprinkle this in a thick line around the perimeter of your yard, garden, outbuildings and home. Replace every 30 days or following wet weather.

Mix a liquid repellent as an alternative by combining 4 cups of ammonia with 1 cup of lemon scented dish soap. Sprinkle around any area where you want to keep the snakes away. Reapply every two weeks or after a hard rain.

Punch holes in the sides of a coffee can. Fill the can with mothballs and cinnamon capsules and place anywhere you want snakes to avoid. This is a reasonable option if you have outside pets or small children and are concerned about exposing them to naphthalene (moth balls).

Now if you could just manage to find out how St. Patrick did it???

  ella33 22:01 10 Jun 2010

Yes, I have been thinking about St Patrick a lot since this came up! Whatever else is thought about that matter, there are certainly no snakes in Ireland!

I often wonder if it is the Irish peat and I used to cover my garden with it! Howver that is not practical for my friend as Irish moss peat is in short supply these days.

Well. thank you for the suggestions, Brumas, I will pass them on.

  ella33 00:36 11 Jun 2010

Thanks for the link. Yes, I was wondering about the natural habitats and what is going on in them. I wonder who is responsible for that piece of woodland, it is certainly worth investigating that.

  morddwyd 07:58 11 Jun 2010

I assume we are talking about the UK and if they are not venomous they must be grass snakes.

Go carefully as they are a protected species.

  michaelw 09:00 11 Jun 2010

Get a meerkat. Simples.

  ella33 09:52 11 Jun 2010

There has been some discussion about one species, that is rare in the UK and has been found in hedgerows in the SW. I will ask the name again later on. I don't think grass snakes do come inside, leaving adders which are not particularly dangerous, in the main. There haven't been any bites, she just wants them deterred, more than killed. But natural predators could help, although they may bring their own problems!

michealw, they are the most amazing animals aren't they. A meerkat would certainly do the job but I doubt that it would be possible to own one on a smallholding. Someone did suggest a mongoose, which is, of course impossible but I have only just discovered that a meerkat is a small mongoose. you live and learn!

Thanks for the replies, will pass it on.
Oh, she particularly welcomed the St Patrick idea, so if anyone has his number? (They do have quite a sense of humour but the snakes are a bit much this year)

  morddwyd 09:59 11 Jun 2010

Thanks for that.

Didn't know there were any other snakes, apart from sloworms, which, of course, are not snakes anyway!

  natdoor 11:02 11 Jun 2010

Probably some branches have fallen in the woods to form a platform. If the snakes are adders, they need log tables to multiply.

For the benefit of youngsters, log(arithmic) tables list the exponent by which 10 must be raised to yield a number. Adding two exponents of ten yields the exponent of the product of the two numbers. The result is then found in a list of anti-logs. Now you use a calculator!

  Woolwell 11:12 11 Jun 2010

British snakes click here
I didn't realise that British snakes are protected under law.
I doubt that it is an adder (viper). You want to leave them well alone but they normally don't want anything to do with you either.

  Woolwell 11:21 11 Jun 2010

The pdf file Reptiles in your Garden available to download from click here gives very good advice in dealing with snakes. Your neighbour's need to be careful not to break the law.

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