Good Neighbors

We are here to help

By Christie Hill, Naturalist and Docent Coordinator
August 27, 2020

Black Rat Snake

You may have recently seen a snake somewhere near your home. You are lucky to live near a snake. There’s a good chance you moved into their neighborhood, instead of the other way around. But no worries. Snakes are not demanding or irritating neighbors. They are actually helpful and provide lots of free services you may or may not even know about. We all want to feel comfortable and know that our homes and yards are safe and pest-free. Snakes are on the job eating rodents and insects, and removing all of these pests from your area for free! Somehow they manage to go about their lives of exploring, eating, shedding and hiding in the areas people have transformed for their own use, and do not want to infringe on us. Snakes simply need a section of land with plants for shade and cover that provides habitat for small animals. They get the water they need mostly from what they eat. Your need for exterminators and pesticides should be low where snakes are allowed to live and you will live in a healthier place, too. 

Reptiles are ectotherms. Their bodies depend on environmental sources to warm or cool them. When it’s warm, a reptile’s metabolism is high; when it cools down, its metabolism slows down. Many are unable to move around in temperatures that are too hot or too cold. When it gets hot they may manage to find shelter in a cool garage or basement. Snakes find hiding places in piles of logs or in holes underground. Watch where you walk and move things around in these areas. If you notice a snake, give it some space and let it move away from you. Only when people try to engage with a snake will a snake act to protect itself, you would too. If you need to move a snake, urge it with a broom to encourage it or a similar method that will not injure the animal, and then give it open space to move away from you. Leave the garage door open for a little while and see if it will move on its own. Once disturbed it will seek better shelter or give us a call and our Wildlife Staff will talk you through. 

Lately especially we are all thinking about acceptance and diversity!  Because we look different, behave different, or eat different kinds of food, doesn’t mean we can’t accept and be tolerant of each other. A healthy ecosystem is dependent on diversity just as healthy humans depend on working together instead of against each other. We have a lot to learn from each other.

The Wildlife Department at the Chattahoochee Nature Center is a great resource, if you have questions or need assistance with any animal.