Are you the proud owner of a personal pond on your property? Do you sometimes see water snakes hanging around, or are you afraid you one day will?
In this post, you can find out why water snakes are attracted to ponds, how they benefit the ecosystem, and how you can best keep them away from your pond. By the end of this post, you’ll know how to keep your pond beautiful to you and not snakes.
Why Ponds Attract Snakes
Snakes love ponds because they provide an ideal habitat with plenty of food, shelter, and moisture. The abundance of insects near water sources is an especially attractive feature for snakes looking for a meal.
If there are tall grasses or shrubs around the pond’s edge, these can provide further protection from predators during the day. Additionally, since water helps regulate body temperature, snakes will often visit ponds to cool off on hot days or warm up on colder ones (the same can be said of turtles).
This is especially true for ecosystem ponds as they mimic natural bodies of water.
When Is It Safe To Catch & Remove A Water Snake?
The first step in dealing with an unwanted water snake is being able to identify one. In the United States, there are two main nonvenomous snakes the Northern Water Snake and the Common Watersnake.
Both species can grow up to four feet long but have distinct color patterns. The Northern Water Snake has dark vertical stripes on its back. The Common Watersnake has various shades of browns and grays with light crosses down its back.
You should also be aware that some venomous snakes do exist in parts of the US. Don’t go near it if it doesn’t look like either of the aforementioned snakes.
How To Deal With Water Snakes In A Pond
Predator Scent Deterrents
These products contain all-natural ingredients that are designed to mimic scents produced by animals that prey on snakes. Deter snakes by applying it around the edge of your pond. Reapply it after heavy rains or after several weeks of wear and tear due to wind or heat.
*This product is the best all-natural one. We do not sell it nor are we promoting it for sale; this is simply for informational purposes.
Use Snake Traps
There are several types of traps available, but the most effective ones use a baited container with an entrance ramp leading into it. This makes it easier for the snake to enter and get trapped inside without being able to escape. Some models even come with an automatic release mechanism so that no harm comes to the animal once it’s inside the trap.
Install Fish Shelters
These structures provide safe havens for vulnerable fish species and frogs. If the snakes can’t see or catch anything, they won’t stick around for long. Fish shelters come in various shapes and sizes, so you should easily be able to find something that fits within the parameters of your pond.
Add Aerator, Fountain, Or Waterfall
Adding an aerator or fountain to your pond will not only help oxygenate the water but also introduce noise and movement into the ecosystem. This may discourage snakes from hanging around because they prefer still waters that allow them to move undetected for hunting purposes. Keep in mind that any organic material (including leaves) should be removed regularly as it can provide cover for snakes seeking protection from predators.
Remove Or Regularly Trim Shoreline Plants
Shoreline plants provide shelter and protection for small animals which in turn attract larger predators, including water snakes. Trimming back vegetation along the shoreline will reduce hiding places and discourage snakes from making themselves at home near your pond. It’s worth noting that while this measure may decrease snake habitat, it may also reduce friendly wildlife like frogs.
Use Granulated Sulfur Or Natural Oils Snakes Dislike
Granulated sulfur is often used to repel unwanted critters such as insects and rodents around homes and garden areas, and it works on snakes too. Sprinkling granulated sulfur around the perimeter of your pond will create an environment that is unpleasant for snakes and likely drive them away. Similarly, certain oils, such as peppermint oil, can be sprayed around the area to deter them from coming back again.
Add Plants Snakes Dislike
Certain plants naturally repel many species of reptiles, including water snakes, due to their strong odors when crushed (think lavender). Consider adding these plants near the edge of your pond so that they form a natural barrier between shoreline vegetation and open water where snakes tend to congregate most often. Some common plants used for this purpose include marigolds, rosemary, wormwood, garlic chives, and more.
Introduce Snake Predators
Introducing predators is one way to control their numbers naturally without resorting to chemical solutions or traps. Birds of prey like hawks and owls are known to hunt small snake species while larger fish like bass consume both young and adult ones alike. Take care not to overstock the pond with predators who could damage other aspects of its delicate balance.
Buy A Goat Or Horse
Goats have long been used as lawnmowers due to their ability to munch through dense vegetation quickly, but did you know they can also help control snake populations? Goats are able to reach into crevices more easily than most humans, making them great at finding hidden nests where eggs might be waiting, all while keeping grass trimmed down too! Horses can work similarly but require more space since they need room for running.
Observe To Determine If Snake Is Problematic
You may spot a snake swimming around in your pond now and then – but does it pose any real threat? Before taking drastic measures like introducing predators or using repellents, try observing first. Many species of aquatic snake feed primarily on fish eggs which helps maintain healthy populations. Don’t automatically assume every sighting means trouble unless evidence suggests otherwise (i.e., dead fish floating near shore or you recognize it as one of the types of poisonous snakes).
The Number Of Species Of Pond Water Snakes
There are over 3,500 different types of snakes in the world. In fact, there are nearly 50 different types of snakes in the United States alone.
The Benefits Of Snakes
Snakes Help Maintain Ecosystem Balance
Snakes are key players in keeping the balance of nature intact. They help keep populations of animals such as rodents and rabbits in check, which helps prevent overpopulation.
If these animals become overpopulated, there is an increased risk for disease outbreaks, food shortages, and other issues that can cause harm to their population and other species living nearby.
Snakes Regulate Pest Populations
In addition to regulating animal populations, snakes also help keep pest populations under control by preying on insects like ants and mosquitos. This keeps them away from humans who would otherwise suffer from bites or stings caused by these pests.
Additionally, snakes feed on small lizards and frogs, which can carry bacteria or parasites that could potentially contaminate drinking water.
Snakes Feed Other Animals
Snakes provide food for other animals as well. Hawks and owls prey upon smaller varieties of snakes, while larger predators such as wolves and bears will eat larger ones when available.
This helps maintain a balanced diet among predators since they don’t always have access to smaller prey items like rodents or rabbits all the time. It also helps keep the food chain intact since those predators rely on snake meat for sustenance.
Common Snake Species Found Around Ponds In North Carolina
Eastern Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis)
The Eastern garter snake is one of the most common snakes found around ponds in North Carolina. It is a small, non-venomous snake that grows to an average length of 16 to 24 inches and features a black back with three distinct yellow stripes running down its length. The Eastern garter snake prefers to hide among vegetation close to water sources, where they feed on earthworms, frogs, and small fish.
Queen Snake (Regina septemvittata)
The Queen Snake is another non-venomous snake that can be found near ponds here in North Carolina. It usually grows between 14 and 20 inches long and has dark olive brown splotches along its back which can sometimes appear as stripes. The Queen Snake prefers to remain hidden close to bodies of water during daylight hours and becomes active at night when it is hunting for food.
Northern Water Snake (Nerodia sipedon sipedon)
Northern Water Snakes are easily distinguished by their large size (they can grow up to 4 feet long!). They have a blackish body with large reddish blotches running from head to tail. This species is often seen sunning itself on rocks or logs along the shoreline during warm months but retreats into the water when threatened or disturbed by humans or predators.
Protect Your Pond From More Than Just Snakes
Snakes aren’t the only thing you have to worry about when it comes to your backyard pond. A poorly maintained pond can become an eyesore, smelly, and a headache.
This is why pond owners turn to Charlotte Backyard Ponds! We can help you maintain your pond so that it always looks its best.
So, if you’re looking for someone to help you take care of your pond, look no further than Charlotte Backyard Ponds. Give us a call or fill out our contact form today!