estorms
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Snakes

Is there a way to keep snakes out of the compost pile?

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Kisal
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Probably not, unless you're willing to surround the pile with some kind of wire that has openings too small for them to pass through. What kind of snakes are they? They may be feeding on insects and mice that are in the pile. Personally, I'd rather have snakes in my compost rather than mouse nests, as long as the snakes aren't poisonous. :)
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

estorms
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snakes

I wouldn't mind if I could see them from far away, but they wait until I am almost on top of them and then dart out and slither away. They are garter snakes. I will tell you right now, they are NOT more afraid of me than I am of them. I am going to be turning this pile very slowly.

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hendi_alex
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Garter snakes eat small insects. I doubt that you could even force one to bite you. While what you say about fear of the snake is likely true, the snake SHOULD be more afraid of you. The snake is absolutely no threat to a human, but how many snakes are killed each year simply as a result of human phobias?
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
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estorms
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snakes

Intellectually, I know what you say is true. I would never kill one because I won't get close enough. I will take the bugs and rodents. In fact, I have two chipmunks who eat out of my hand and two squirrils who will come up to the table by my chair (outside of course) and take peanuts from the bowl.

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hendi_alex
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I used to be horribly phobic of spiders, any kind but especially black widows. I often had nightmares, occasionally still do, of black widows crawling on me or biting me. Couldn't stand to be close to any spider of any size. Around age 20, I decided to try and desensitize myself. First started handling daddy long legs. Then started handling small spiders and stepped it up to a little larger, letting them crawl on my hands. Now when in the yard, if I run across a large garden spider of say three inches diameter, counting the legs, I'll usually force myself to touch the critter on the back. If a spider gets on me now, I'll usually just brush it off or maybe will watch it a little before doing so. Before working on the issue, if a spider fairly large spider got on me, I would have just jumped up and down and screamed like a girl in a horror movie. So the process has worked pretty well. That has been good for me and also been good for our local spider population. Only the black widows continue to get squished as a result of my phobia.

Garter snakes or worm snakes might be a good choice for starting the desensitizing process!
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex

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Kisal
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Re: snakes

estorms wrote:Intellectually, I know what you say is true. I would never kill one because I won't get close enough. I will take the bugs and rodents. In fact, I have two chipmunks who eat out of my hand and two squirrils who will come up to the table by my chair (outside of course) and take peanuts from the bowl.
This is fine. I like all animals. However, I used to turn my compost pile every few days, and I was always finding mouse nests in them. Now and then, I'd find a mouse in my kitchen. I really preferred that the lovely garter snakes and my 5 cats take care of the mice. Don't want 'em in the kitchen ... the mice that is, not the cats. :roll:

They probably don't hear you coming, so they seem to leap out because you startle them. Could you bang on the side of the bin once or twice with a long stick? They could get out of your way beforehand. :)
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

estorms
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I am 66 with very high blood pressure. Desensitizing is probably too late for me, but I think banging on the bin would be a good idea. I didn't know snakes couldn't hear. I should have known, they have no ears! Thanks for your help.

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hendi_alex
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My bin almost always stays full of fire ants. No snakes nor much of anything else grows in there, as the ants keep anything living thing picked to the bone. If you like ants better than snakes, fire ants will likely do the trick! No matter how hard I try to get rid of them, the fire ants just keep coming back.

We see almost no snakes in the area, compared to before the arrival of fire ants. I'm wondering if the fire ants may have decimated snake populations, such that it is hard for the young to survive to adulthood.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
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hendi_alex
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Last copper head that we had in our yard area, I picked it up and put it in a bag, then delivered it to the swampy area at the edge of our property and about 1/2 mile from the house. No snake would ever leave that lush area to come back to the top of our dry sandy, desert like hill top. That was a relatively small copper head though.

Much as I would dislike the idea, any large poisonous snake visiting our yard would likely get its head removed. I walk outside at night, sometimes to the garden and compost area. Am not willing to have a resident poisonous snake in the yard. On the other hand, any time I'm driving or walking within a few miles of our house, any non poisonous snake that I see becomes part of the henderson snake relocation program. I jump out of the truck, grab the snake and take him back to our home. We used to have as many as a dozen black snakes living in the yard and barn area. Now we only occasionally see the animals.

Did see two large black rat snakes mating in the oak tree beside our house last year. Hopefully they made some babies, but have seen none this year.

[img]https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2452/5831368634_d7422ee87e_o.jpg[/img]
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex

toxcrusadr
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Wow, cool photo of the snakes! They are beautiful creatures. We've seen half a dozen different kinds on our wooded property, including a baby Prairie Ringneck, only as thick as your pinkie and coal black with a tiny bright orange ring around the neck. Really cool.

As kid I used to be terribly afraid of bees and would get very nervous around them. I began to see how they worked and that they wouldn't attack if left alone. Now I can work in the garden and have them buzzing around me getting nectar and I'm not nervous at all. A sense of wonder for wild creatures can overcome the fear.
Tox

estorms
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snakes

My son lives in Austin. He claims rattlesnakes, copperheads and fire ants are the Texas equilivant of a butterfly garden. I do have a sense of wonder when it comes to snakes. I wonder if they are going to bite me, or wrap around my arm or leg and scare me to death.

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ReptileAddiction
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I keep all different types of reptiles. I have never been bit. Snakes will NOT bite you unless threatened/cornered. If this happens they will do a warning strike (usually does not even draw blood) and then scurry a way. Garter snakes are not dangerous. This comes from experience with captive and wild snakes.

toxcrusadr
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I have encountered dozens of nonvenemous snakes in the garden and in wild areas, and I've never had one strike at me even once. The one venemous one I encountered was a rattlesnake on a hike in a rocky canyon in NM. We could not see it but heard it rattling under the rocks 5 feet from the trail. We kept moving as you might expect. :P

I love to stop and look at snakes when I see them, and they usually check me out and go on their way. They have no intention of attacking something 500 times bigger than they are if they can possibly avoid it. Keep telling yourself that.
Tox

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