Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Increase In Garter Snakes Reported In Dorchester

In the past couple of weeks, the Times staff has heard several stories from multiple Dorchester residents who say they've seen more garter snakes than usual this year.

The reason? Heavy rains, like last year, are ensuring taller, thicker grass.  And snakes in our neck of the woods thrive in tall, thick grass.

This year, our slithering reptiles are bigger than usual.  One area resident said if the snakes get much bigger, they'll soon be swallowing people's dogs and cats.

Jokes aside, we've read recent reports from the Chicago area where a snake invasion is occurring in the city's suburbs.  One Chicagoland neighborhood has gone without mail delivery due to slithering sidewalks.  In Wichita, snakes are invading homes due to the recent flooding.

Keep in mind that a female garter snake can have between 40 to 80 offspring per litter. So population control makes sense, no matter how many insects or mice a snake might eat.

We asked local experts what they recommend to control the local snake population. For those who want to minimize the chances of snakes in their yard -- or home -- here are the keys: 

  • Repellents don't seem to have good success rates, according to UNL Extension Educators.
  • Keep your yard and other properties mowed short and mowed often. (Including making sure your neighbor keeps his/her property mowed.) 
  • Make sure there are no bunches of leaf litter or compost piles in the yard.
  • Make sure there are no rock piles or wood piles in the yard.
  • Getting a good cat is probably the best way to get rid of them. (Remember, this is the advice of experts, not our opinion.)
  • Lava rock landscaping can sometimes reduce snakes.  Snakes will not lie on new lava rock because of its sharp edges. 
  • Lawn mowers have proved to be the number one enemy of all snakes.  We have not yet found a snake who has won a battle with a moving mower blade.


  1. David the BohunkJune 27, 2014 at 2:50 PM

    Snakes get a bad rap. They sure do keep the rodents in check.

  2. Replies
    1. David the BohunkJune 28, 2014 at 5:32 PM

      Prefer NATURE to expensive chemicals. Much cheaper. But, that's just me. To each his own.

      PS-Heard pesticides and chemicals are leaking into the Ogallala Aquifer and effecting water purity. Is that true?

  3. I place sticky traps by window wells and landscaping. I get insects, snakes and the occasional puppy. Casualties of war.

  4. wife hates snakes ..................................... has since the year after we got married ...................................................

  5. Here is a picture of a couple garters I found in my back yard in Dorchester. I agree, they are getting bigger.

  6. Here is a picture of a couple garters I found in my back yard in Dorchester. I agree, they are getting bigger.

  7. Ya, sure. Let's send everyone out to get more cats to kill the snakes. Not like we don't already have enough out killing and endangering our wildlife already. Cats are the number one invasive species in the US. Killing thousands of native species and endangering many. Getting a outdoors cat for killing snakes is not the answer to the problem. A little garter snakes not going to hurt anything or anyone.

    1. I agree, no cats or dogs, because small towns have enough of those Just do what I do, use a flame thrower on snakes Makes for a crispy treat when your done

  8. How about a fine or fee imposed on the owners who let their grass grow to knee-level. For an example, see the corner of 10th and Jefferson (SE Corner Lot). WHY can some people get away with this? More neighbors need to complain to the city.

  9. I.




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