Humans and wildlife alike are taking advantage of the longer days and warmer weather that marks the start of another Georgia Summer. The spring and summer months specifically encourage greater activity in snakes in the Southeast, increasing your chances of crossing paths with them. So don’t be surprised if you’re joined by some reptilian company as you’re outside soaking up sunshine because it’s their favorite season too.
It’s totally understandable to be concerned about possible threats snakes pose to you, your family, and your pets. The majority of snake sightings in Georgia this time of year involve common garter snakes, which leads to a lot of people asking, “How dangerous are common garter snakes?” Common garter snakes are a relatively harmless species with a weak bite force and a venom that’s not potent enough to harm humans or most pets. Some species of garter snakes possess a mild neurotoxic venom, but even those bites are not dangerous to humans.
Garter snakes thrive in almost any environment in this region, and they are well-adapted to living among people, making encounters with them significantly more common than more elusive and dangerous snake species. Garter snakes are also known by the nickname garden snakes because, you guessed it, they’re frequent visitors of suburban gardens and grassy lawns. Without strong preferences for a preferred habitat, you can also spot common garter snakes hanging around woods and marshes, grassy areas surrounding water; anywhere with access to food and water–some species are even adept swimmers! They camp out in these places to feed on slugs, grasshoppers, and snails–the same pests your garden attracts. Simple prevention methods like limiting water and food sources help deter common garter snakes from making your yard their home. For more tips on removing and repelling garter snakes, check out our blog.
If you find a snake slithering through your yard, you can identify it as a common garter snake by the three vertical (typically yellow) stripes down their dark-colored bodies. Garter snakes are small, between 23 and 30 inches in length in most cases. They are stout-bodied with a ridge down the center of their back, and some of them have intricate patterns in addition to the three stripes.
Common garter snakes typically try to avoid humans and other large mammals. Should you encounter one outside, try to remain calm and give it the right-of-way to escape the situation without incident. If you find a garter snake inside your home, remain calm, ensure children and pets are a safe distance away, and avoid disturbing the snake or driving it into hiding. If you aren’t able to gently guide the snake outside using a broom or something similar, or if garter snakes entering your home is a recurring problem, it’s time to call pest control pros like Bug House to handle things.
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