Answer: Based on your description, I am not certain why the area is dying out. The mounds you see might be from moles or possibly woodchucks, with the snake simply borrowing the spot or chasing yet another creature through the tunnel or run. Moles might account for a lot of root disturbance, as could voles, and this might account for an area dying out. In general, the rodents could be trapped and removed from the area that way. The ants might or not be significant, although it is possible they have nested in and damaged some roots as well. However, there could also be insects at work under the sod, or possibly some other physical reason for the dieback such as a change in surface drainage conditions. You might want to consult with your county extension (825-5416) and/or with an animal control specialist to see if you can identify the actual culprit and then determine the best method of controlling it. I'm sorry I can't be more specific.
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