Snakes tend to go to places where they can easily find a good hiding spot and food. Therefore, if pine straw fits those conditions, it will attract snakes. Usually, snakes will be attracted to pine straw that is thick, moist, and close to the ground.
This is because, for one, thick pine straw provides a safe hiding place such that it would not be easy to spot the snake. This is also true when the pine straw is too close to the ground.
Wet pine straw also provides a conducive environment for worms, toads, and crickets, which are all snake food.
Disclaimer: If you have snakes in or around your yard, contact professional pest control services to have it removed.
What Are Pine Straws?
As the name suggests, pine straws are products of pine trees. They are the needles that are shed from pine trees throughout the year and are used for mulching purposes.
When applied correctly, they create an aesthetic landscape in your lawn or garden.
More importantly, pine straws keep the soil adequately moist by reducing the evaporation of water from the soil and plants. They also control the growth of weeds in the garden and play a primary role in keeping the soil compact and reducing erosion.
Furthermore, pine straws keep the soil and plants at a stable temperature, thus protecting the plants from freezing during cooler climates.
Why Does Pine Straw Attract Snakes?
Snakes are attracted to places that can provide them with shelter and food. Pine straw falls under this category perfectly.
For one, pine straw is made up of many small pine needles that a small snake can slither through without being noticed. It is a fact that snakes prefer being incognito and staying out of sight as much as possible.
Moreover, pine straw maintains the moisture and temperature of the soil and plants beneath, creating a good breeding area for the snakes. What’s more, it is easy for snakes to find food in this environment.
Small animals such as worms, insects, and toads thrive in such an environment. Sometimes, rodents are found in pine straw feasting on the bark, and in turn, the rodents attract snakes.
Steps To Reduce the Chances of Attracting Snakes Into Your Pine Straw
1. Keep the Pine Straw Neat and Tidy
One of the steps you can take to reduce the chances of snakes coming into your garden or yard is by reducing the cover. Trim the pine straw, and keep the whole area clean, neat, and tidy.
Since snakes like to lounge and hang around bushy areas, they will be less encouraged to come by if the pine straw is too low for them to slither through unnoticed.
1. Get Rid of Open Water Bodies Close to The Pine Straw
Snakes like moist places, and tend to be attracted to ponds or other places where water has collected. It is, therefore, imperative to fill up these open water sources if they are too close to the pine straw. Furthermore, water attracts snake food such as frogs and toads, and in turn, attracts snakes.
Related: Are Snakes Attracted to Ponds?
3. Get Rid of Food Sources for Snakes
Make a point of eliminating stuff that snakes like to eat. You can achieve this by controlling the population of small insects, toads, and worms. Also, keeping the pine straw 2 to 3 inches away from the ground or the trunks of shrub and trees will keep rodents from feeding on the bark. Rodents are among snakes’ favorite dishes.
4. Snake Repellents
Disclaimer: If you have snakes in or around your yard, contact professional pest control services to have it removed. Home snake repellents are generally ineffective.
While there are many home snake repellent ideas out there (like several listed below), most don’t work. The truth is the best repellent is simply keeping a tidy yard with as few rodents around as possible. If you’d like to explore some potential repellents, check the following articles:
All Articles in our Snake Repellant Series:
5. Get a Cat!
Another effective method of keeping snakes away from your pine straw is introducing snake predators to scare the reptiles away. Animals such as honey badgers and mongoose hunt and kill snakes. But a great snake deterrent for the home? The cat! Yes, cats keep snakes away. Just remember to bell your cat so it doesn’t catch native birds.
6. Contact Wildlife Control Services
If you find a snake in your pine straw, the best thing to do would be to contact Wildlife Control Services. Avoid trying to get rid of it by yourself, as snakes can get incited to be defensive and strike as a result. A Wildlife Control professional will dislocate the snake safely, with no harm coming to neither the snake nor the owner of the premises.
Will The Snake Leave?
If you apply the above methods to keep snakes away from your pine straw, the chances are high that they will leave. However, you should know that snakes tend to have well-established home ranges.
This is a radius within which snakes know various places they can find shelter, breeding grounds, and get food. They also know their way around their home ranges.
Therefore, while they will go their way, it is not unlikely that they will be back after some time. They may explore other spots within the home range and return to either find food, breed or find shelter.
For this reason, simply relocating the snakes is pretty ineffective. Other methods such as those mentioned above, though, should work pretty well.
Pine straw attracts snakes. This is especially when it is thick, moist, and very close to the ground. In these conditions, pine straw provides snakes with shelter, food, and breeding ground. Also, animals that snakes eat, such as worms, insects, rodents, and toads, thrive in such environments.
Luckily, there are things one can do to reduce the attractiveness of your pine straw to snakes. One of the most effective methods is trimming the pine straw and keeping the area tidy and neat. You can also use ammonia to discourage snakes from coming any close or predators to scare the reptiles away.
Joe is a freelance writer for FaunaFacts. Joe has written extensively about snakes for the site, but also contributes content about a range of animals.