If you see holes in your yard or garden, you may want to know whether they're snake holes or something else.
It is a common misconception that snakes create holes in the ground. Snakes are, in fact, incapable of making any kind of hole. However, snakes will occupy some holes created by other animals.
If you find a snake-sized hole in your garden or yard, your first concern should be the creature that made the hole. These holes can be created by mice, shrews, crayfish and chipmunks, to name a few. Some snakes may then utilise these holes for shelter, food or egg-laying.
If you're concerned about snakes in your yard, you should be aware of other things that may attract them. In general, anything that will attract rodents will also attract snakes. Besides holes, snakes will also hide under rocks, wood and other debris. Remove such items to discourage snake habitation.
There are roughly 2,400 species of snakes in the world. The first step in identifying a particular snake will be to become familiar with common snakes in your region. Your biggest concern is probably whether or not the snake is dangerous. In the United States, there are four dangerous venomous snakes: rattlesnakes, copperheads, cottonmouths and coral snakes. Rattlesnakes are the easiest to identify by the obvious rattle on the end of their tail. A rattlesnake will shake his rattle in warning before an attack. Copperheads have an oval-shaped head and rounded scales. Their colours can range from brown to orange or pink. They are commonly found in wooded areas and tend to be very shy. Cottonmouths vary greatly in colour and pattern but can be easily identified by a few of their common behaviours. They like water so are unlikely to be sighted unless there is a pond of lake nearby. They are also loners. If you spot several coexisting in a small area, they're unlikely to be cottonmouths. Coral snakes are distinctively striped with red, yellow and black. An old rhyme can be used to remember how to identify them from lookalikes. "If red touches yellow, you're a dead fellow. If red touches black, you're OK, Jack."
Before condemning an innocent local snake, keep in mind that most snakes are harmless. They feed on rodents, insects and worms and cause little to no damage. Snakes generally can't chew or create any damage.