Beneficial animals Gardening

Make Your Garden a Safer Place for Reptiles

It’s a good idea to keep a reptile in your garden. Establishing a home for a garden reptile is an excellent way to keep numerous pests and insects out. Photo:

By Glenn Anderson

Your garden is both a space for plants and beautiful flowers to bloom, as well as a spot for you to relax. This can be a haven for reptiles, based on where you reside, who can keep your garden secure.

The first step in attracting wildlife to your yard is to learn about the different species available and what they require. The information below is all you need to know about reptiles and how to keep the best ones in your yard.

Reptile-Friendly Gardens at Your Place

Snakes and lizards, for example, devour garden variety pests. With over 6,000 kinds of lizards and over 3,000 kinds of snakes worldwide, lizards and snakes come in different forms and sizes.

As already said, lizards and snakes eat harmful pests like insects and slugs and bothersome animals like mice and rats.

More significantly, the existence of these reptiles acts as a health indicator for the ecosystem. Because these scaly creatures are sensitive to pollution, their presence in your garden indicates low concentrations of heavy metals and insecticides.

This also guarantees that minimal quantities of these particles are present, important when you’re producing plants or food.

Garden Snakes and Other Reptiles

Garter snake
The eastern garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis) is the most common garden snake in eastern North America. Photo: D. Gordon E. Robertson, Wikimedia Commons

The idea of inviting snakes to the yard may sound strange to some, but they’re also the ideal solution for gardeners who have a slug, snail, or small animal issue. Snakes like garter snakes, for example, maybe a gardener’s best buddy. Garter snakes (Thamnophis spp.) are non-venomous to people and like sunbathing, mostly around gardens. 

Many people, however, eliminate these garden snakes without realizing how useful they may be. A garter snake’s nutritious diet may keep irritating and crop-destroying bugs out of your garden throughout the growing season.

Some snakes, such as the rat snakes (Pantherophis spp. and others), could be useful in the gardens as well. The importance of these garden snakes is that they eat venomous snakes like copperheads, which can represent a serious hazard to people. 

Superworms are a terrific alternative if you’re looking for a feeder bug for your reptile guest. They’re rich in fats and proteins, and they may provide water and a lot of nourishment to your guest. Raising these creatures is easy, as is discovering how to maintain superworms.

Tiny, less well-known snakes can also be useful in the garden. Please remember that there are several different sorts of snakes, and they vary according to your location, so always study to know which ones are good and which are dangerous. Sometimes, your area’s agricultural department or wildlife center can assist you.

How to Lure Reptiles In

Black rat snake
The black rat snake (Pantherophis obsoletus) is one of many species of rat snakes, It is found in central North America. Photo: Judy Gallagher, Wikipedia Commons

It’s simple to lure reptiles to your yard. Once you have succeeded in enticing one into your yard, there’s no need to spend money or time trying to keep it safe. If you treasure the existence of a reptile in your yard, a garden snake environment will ensure that you attract and keep your very own yard guardian. 

Reptiles require a hiding spot. An aged chunk of wood, an old trunk, or a scrap of roofing system board may easily offer enough cover. Anything and everything that creates a “safe haven” for the reptile will suffice.

  • Say No to Chemicals

If you want to attract and retain reptiles in your garden, you must eliminate the usage of any dangerous pesticides. Turning organic is good for both you and the ecosystem, but it’s also good for your garden reptile pal. Reptiles will be harmed by strong fertilizers and pesticides, which will eradicate their supply of food. 

Though transitioning to organic gardening practices such as well-aged compost, companion planting, crop rotation, and other non-toxic gardening methods requires a certain learning curve, it’s well worth the trouble overall.

  • Stay Away from Harsh Weed Killers

Weed-killing chemicals (herbicides) can be dangerous, particularly if sprayed over the whole yard. If you have weed issues, treat the issue locally rather than using a broad-spectrum herbicide in the whole garden. To organically prevent the development of weeds, consider hoeing, replanting, and trimming at the correct levels to recreate a healthy environment for the desired plants. Weeds can also be removed by plowing or plucking them out by hand.

  • Add Sunbathing Sites
Garter snake sunning itself.

Stone walls, huge boulders, and concrete slabs absorb the sun’s heat, which helps cold-blooded animals remain warm on frigid nights.

  • The Garden Should be Mulched 

Mulch is a fantastic addition to any garden. It maintains humidity, allowing reptiles to thrive in a moist environment, and it also keeps weeds at bay. When natural mulch decomposes over time, it improves soil health.

  • Your Garden Needs a Fence

Garden fencing defends not just your plants in the garden but also your reptiles from large animal predators. Gardeners should construct fences that blend into the environment, according to a reputable deer fencing provider. A high-quality deer fencing safeguards your garden from big animals while remaining virtually undetectable from afar.

  • Place Water for Your Reptiles 

Place a bowl or maybe even a pond as a water supply. Add sticks and stones at the side to make a ramp so they can get to the pond.

For a Reptile-Friendly Garden

With a little work, you can guarantee that your garden thrives while being reptile-friendly. Do whatever works for your garden by creating a lizard- and snake-friendly environment.

About the Author

Glenn Anderson has been a freelance writer for years. A pet enthusiast and a flag bearer of organic eating, a fitness freak, and obsessed with all things food, plants, and animals. He also loves writing and discussing things that make him happy.

Garden writer and blogger, author of 65 gardening books, lecturer and communicator, the Laidback Gardener, Larry Hodgson, passed away in October 2022. Known for his great generosity, his thoroughness and his sense of humor, he reached several generations of amateur and professional gardeners over his 40-year career. Thanks to his son, Mathieu Hodgson, and a team of contributors, will continue its mission of demystifying gardening and making it more accessible to all.

6 comments on “Make Your Garden a Safer Place for Reptiles

  1. Pingback: It Slithers, It Hisses… Ugh! The Fear of Snakes!

  2. This article comes at a perfect time for me. I just found out my property and my neighbor’s property are listed on the GIS map as wetlands. I had no idea until I looked the parcel up on the GIS map. Oddly the real estate agent never mentioned it. Our soil is moist clay but not soggy as I imagined a wetlands to be. I’ve dug many times to find eggs (maybe turtle?) in the soil. I’d stop digging and cover them back up and make sure not to disturb them. I’ve also seen neon orange salamanders and wondered why they like the north side of the house so much – and we have garter snakes in the garden. Anyway after reading this, I’ll be leaving all the fallen trees on the property alone and perhaps add a few more outcroppings of rocks for hiding places for these reptiles. It gives me a reason to have a more natural surrounding around the house.

  3. We get tiger salamanders here sometimes which help keep the slug population under control. All helpers are welcome.

  4. Iceni Summersides

    No, no, and NO! I’m terrified of them and they are all over my yard at times. ( I wouldn’t hurt them-just want them to stay away)

  5. Good ideas except for those like me who are petrified of them. 🙂

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