Ponds and Water Gardening forum: Removing Cotton Mouth Snakes from small water garden?

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Name: Sally
Wesley Chapel. FL (Zone 9a)
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Sossman
Jul 29, 2011 6:58 PM CST
I thought I had one small garter or ribbon snake in my 50 gallon garden pond. Tonight, I find I have TWO snakes in there....and they are Cotton Mouth's! Does anyone have any idea how to remove them (preferably without getting bitten) without sacrificing the fish in the pond?
Name: Marylyn
Houston, TX (Zone 9a)
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Marylyn
Jul 29, 2011 7:01 PM CST
Eeeek! Sad
Name: Sally
Wesley Chapel. FL (Zone 9a)
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Sossman
Jul 29, 2011 7:45 PM CST
Eeeeek is right! I'm sitting out there with the garden light on the pond. One snake comes out and takes off...probably out hunting. I sit there for a while longer and there comes the other one, right out front into the light where I can really see him! He's a good 3 - 4 ft long! And that's just ONE! I have two in there!!! They must use my little pond as their "bedroom", sleep during the day and come out at night to hunt. I know I have a few dozen minnows in the pond along with one big goldfish (at least I hope he's still in there)....and now I have two cottonmouths. Who could ask for anything more??? LOL
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
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beckygardener
Jul 29, 2011 7:52 PM CST
Sally - Yikes! Do be careful! You might have to try some kind of trapping system or call an exterminator. I have snakes in my yard too. Mostly black racers or rat snakes. But I've had a couple of coral snakes over the years. Probably one of the most deadly snakes found in the USA. They have stopped making the anti-venom for the coral snake bites, too! Eeeeeeek!

This article might be helpful:
http://pests.getridofthings.com/get-rid-of-snakes.htm
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
Garden Rooms and Becky's Budget Garden
Name: Sally
Wesley Chapel. FL (Zone 9a)
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Sossman
Jul 29, 2011 7:57 PM CST
I have seen all kinds of snakes in my yard (and inside the lanai), most of them harmless. However, the cottonmouths scare me! I think I will feed the pond from a distance and NEVER go near it after dark or during dusk hours! Not sure how aggressive these snakes are. Obviously any snake will be aggressive when cornered, but I will eventually need to service my pond's filter and thin out the hyacinths. I think I will put off that chore as long as I can!!!
Name: Cinda
Indiana Zone 5b
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gardengus
Jul 29, 2011 8:12 PM CST
I think there would be someone to call to have dangerous animals/reptiles removed, some government department? here it would be the DNR Department of Natural resources. Maybe a local animal control? or they would know who.
Please be safe Smiling
Keep believing ,hoping,and loving
all else is just existing.
Name: Sally
Wesley Chapel. FL (Zone 9a)
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Sossman
Jul 29, 2011 8:22 PM CST
Sammy and Sybil Snake were out slithering around one evening when they came upon Sally's sunken garden pond. Sammy looked around and noted the frogs and minnows in the pond and the remnants of fish pellets. He saw the shower from the garden spitter and turned to Sybil and said, "Honey, this is the mansion I always wanted to provide for you...three meals and a shower!!! Let's move in!" Sybil looked around and saw the retention pond in the background as well as the woods with the swampy area behind. She turned to Sammy and said, "Oh Sammy, look!! There's shopping within slithering distance!" And that's the story of how Sammy and Sybil Snake came to reside in Sally's sunken garden pond. The End.

BTW, I enjoy watching the Nature Channel and they have this show called "Swamp Wars" on there. It's a story of firefighters down in Miami who belong to the Venom Squad. Do you think I can convince them to come up to Wesley Chapel to help rid me of these snakes??? LOL
Name: Marylyn
Houston, TX (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I sent a postcard to Randy! Region: Texas Daylilies Lilies
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Marylyn
Jul 29, 2011 8:29 PM CST
Sossman said:She turned to Sammy and said, "Oh Sammy, look!! There's shopping within slithering distance!"


Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing

Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Container Gardener
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Birds Ponds
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beckygardener
Jul 29, 2011 9:26 PM CST
Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing

Call animal control. They will probably come out and remove them or tell you who to contact who will. You do not want to get bitten. If there are two snakes, they very well could be a mating pair. That would NOT be good ... Thumbs down
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
Garden Rooms and Becky's Budget Garden
Name: Sally
Wesley Chapel. FL (Zone 9a)
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Sossman
Jul 30, 2011 7:28 AM CST
OK, for the first time since I first noticed the snake a couple weeks ago, it came out during the day so we were able to get a very good look at it and close up pictures of his head. He is NOT a cottonmouth (thank goodness!) but a Florida Banded water snake. These are not poisonous snakes but can still inflict a nasty bite. We will respect his space and let him stay. :)
Name: Marylyn
Houston, TX (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I sent a postcard to Randy! Region: Texas Daylilies Lilies
Cat Lover Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Marylyn
Jul 30, 2011 7:43 AM CST
Whew!!! Hurray! Hurray! Hurray!
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
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beckygardener
Jul 30, 2011 7:43 AM CST
Hurray! Hurray! Hurray! Just adds to novelty of your water garden area! Smiling I love the snakes in my yard. I have some that have been there a very long time. We have a mutual respect for one another and our respective homes. I stay away from their home and they don't sneak into my house. Outdoors is a shared area. Smiling

How are you planning to care for your water lilies and other plants because of the snakes? Or are they planted directly into the ponds instead of sunken pots? Just wondering as that would be my challenge with water snakes. Confused
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
Garden Rooms and Becky's Budget Garden
Name: Sally
Wesley Chapel. FL (Zone 9a)
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Sossman
Jul 30, 2011 8:01 AM CST
I'm not sure about the pond care. My main concern would be the pond pump/filter as that is directly in the pond. I have to pull it out and clean it periodically. I think I will cross that bridge when I come to it! The snake seems to be getting very comfortable with us viewing him. Today is the first time that I have seen it during the day. It has it's home under the pond itself. The snake has been peeking out of it's hole and coming partially out all morning. We got some very good head shots of him that let us properly identify it. That being said, the Florida banded water snake has a mouth full of teeth and will bite if antagonized. I'm not sure if he would consider me coming by and cleaning the pump now and then antagonistic. Do they sell "snake suits" for use around snakes to keep one from being bitten??? LOL
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Container Gardener
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Birds Ponds
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beckygardener
Jul 30, 2011 8:44 AM CST
Use a stick to poke around before getting closer. I bet it has a snake den under that pond. And if there are two snakes, there could be offspring. I think your snakes need to find another home somewhere else in your yard. I had the same thing happen under one of my ponds, too. But it was dug under by rodents. The snakes just moved in with them and was eating the rodents ... one by one! Talk about efficient pest control! LOL! My snakes are welcome here. They usually just slither along when they see me coming. Mutual respect and we stay out of each other's way. My yard is big enough for all of us! Hilarious!
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
Garden Rooms and Becky's Budget Garden
Name: Sally
Wesley Chapel. FL (Zone 9a)
Tip Photographer Plant and/or Seed Trader Tropicals Ponds Orchids Container Gardener
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Sossman
Jul 30, 2011 3:38 PM CST
While Sammy Snake was sleepily snoring, Sybil Snake was scouting some serious shopping!

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Name: Carolyn Madden
Pennsylvania
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Carolyn22
Jul 30, 2011 4:20 PM CST
Interesting the threads that occur while one is sleeping. Went to bed early last night as I had to go to work the day before on 3 hours sleep - yes, I did sleep most of the day. I must be a teenager in middle aged woman's clothing! Rolling on the floor laughing

Sally - if the snakes are out shopping, it sounds like they are trying to get things better for their new digs. I highly doubt they are looking for formal attire to go to a black tie dinner. My fear would be they are trying to furnish a nursery. Anyway, you may want to call animal control anyway. I know we have had cats in the past that would take care of garter snakes - but they are not water snakes.....
Name: Sally
Wesley Chapel. FL (Zone 9a)
Tip Photographer Plant and/or Seed Trader Tropicals Ponds Orchids Container Gardener
Butterflies Birds Region: Florida Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Hummingbirder Garden Art
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Sossman
Jul 30, 2011 5:10 PM CST
I must say I am much more laid back than some people. I live on a conservation lot in Florida. There will be snakes, there will be deer, there will be armadillos, there will be raccoons and there will be a million other critters, most of who I am not even aware of. As long as I KNOW there are snakes near/in my garden pond (and in the retention pond just a few feet from there too), and as long as I am aware that there are alligators in the pond, and as long as I am aware that there are bobcats in the woods, and as long as I am aware that there may be spiders of any kind, possible scorpions, possible venomous critters of any kind...as long as I am aware that these critters may share my space with me then I am ok. If/when I identify the rabid/venomous critters in my space, I will find a professional to help me deal with that. Otherwise, I need to be a conscientious gardener. The snakes that I currently have near my pond are not venomous. Are they looking to (or have they already) started a family? Perhaps. But these snakes are the good guys. They help remove the harmful bugs and other critters from my yard. Will I scream if they suddenly pop up where I least expect them? Oh hell yeah! But will I make a concerted attempt to determine if they are beneficial or harmful? You bet. And will I make sure I give them space and leave them be if it is determined that they are harmless? Yes again. We, as humans, need to learn to live with the critters that Mother Nature placed here. We need to learn the place that these critters play in our lives rather than attempting to eradicate them from our environment.

***** Stepping off the soapbox and heading back to the lanai to enjoy the critters. *****

I tip my hat to you.
Name: Carolyn Madden
Pennsylvania
Charter ATP Member The WITWIT Badge I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Dog Lover Plant and/or Seed Trader Daylilies
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Carolyn22
Jul 30, 2011 5:17 PM CST
Sally

we have a lot of those critters as well and most of them do not bother me. Generally I am not concerned over snakes, but my concern with your snakes is that they will eat your fish. They may not be venomous, however, that does not mean the do not eat fish.....
Name: Sally
Wesley Chapel. FL (Zone 9a)
Tip Photographer Plant and/or Seed Trader Tropicals Ponds Orchids Container Gardener
Butterflies Birds Region: Florida Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Hummingbirder Garden Art
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Sossman
Jul 30, 2011 5:50 PM CST
Luckily at this point I have just one $3.00 goldfish in the pond. The rest of the fish are minnows that I "liberated" from the retention pond. My garden pond is young, just two years old at this time, and I was not about to put a lot of money into fancy fish until I learned I could handle the pond. Now I know that, I won't put a lot of money into critters in the pond, Mother Nature will do all the entertaining that I want! LOL
Name: Marylyn
Houston, TX (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I sent a postcard to Randy! Region: Texas Daylilies Lilies
Cat Lover Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Marylyn
Jul 30, 2011 6:12 PM CST
I agree Hurray!

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