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Stop Snakes Invading Purple Martin Houses

By kytnbabe
July 11, 2016

My parents had stored berry/bird netting a couple of years ago and decided to get it out to cover strawberries. They found two big chicken snakes caught in it. My dad cut the dead snakes out of the netting and put the bird netting over the strawberries. Another snake was entangled. Hey! Bright idea!

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Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
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plantladylin
Jul 10, 2016 7:51 PM CST
Thumbs up Great tip kytnbabe! I had two purple martin houses in the yard for many years that were always used by Carolina Wrens and we had problems with big black snakes getting to the eggs and baby birds. Sad I love that idea of wrapping the netting around the base of the pole to keep the snakes out!!
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Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
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beckygardener
Jul 10, 2016 8:55 PM CST
I think I would rather use a squirrel or snake guard for the poles. I hate killing snakes because they keep the rat population down in my area. I consider snakes to be good predators to have in my yard (as long as they are not poisonous snakes). I use the cone guards:
http://www.duncraft.com/index/page/category/category_id/84/n...

A university website with more ideas:
http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/gaston/Pests/reptiles/snakegard.html

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
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dturner
Jul 11, 2016 9:34 AM CST
I had removed my netting from the tomatoes and had rolled it up and laid it on the garage floor. One day I went in the garage and I saw this large snake head for the door but before it made it, it got trapped in the netting. You are right, it is hard to get the snake out. I had to cut the snake in more than one place and had to cut the netting.
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
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dyzzypyxxy
Jul 11, 2016 3:16 PM CST
Becky, I'm with you on not wanting to kill the snakes. Although they do get some baby birds, they also keep the mice and rats away from my house and bird feeders now that my old cat is too dignified to hunt them. So don't kill off your snakes if you want to keep the rodents under control!! Nature is a delicate balance.

Try greasing the pole that the purple marten nest boxes are on, so the snakes can't climb up? I use an old toothbrush and SuperLube on my feeder poles.

I stopped using the bird netting altogether, once I discovered that the black snakes got entangled in it. My neighbor's daughter used to come over and help me free the snakes if they were still alive when I found them - just put a thick sock on your hand and grab the snake then have somebody else make the hole in the bird netting bigger so the snake can pass through forwards. A pair of scissors is all the tool needed, and I happened to have an old pair of bandage scissors (blunted on the lower blade) that were perfect.
Elaine

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Name: Mary Ann
Kentucky
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Muddymitts
Jul 12, 2016 2:07 PM CST
I'm surprised by all of this. We've had Martin houses in our yard for 30 years, and I have never seen a snake anywhere near them. Our houses are in a yard -- grass mowed, no weeds or plants nearby -- could that make a difference?
Thoughts become things -- choose the good ones. ([url=www.tut.com]www.tut.com[/url])
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
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Frillylily
Jul 12, 2016 3:25 PM CST
dturner said: I had to cut the snake in more than one place and had to cut the netting.


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I had to cut the net in more than one place to free the snake.


Garden Ideas: Level 1
kytnbabe
Jul 22, 2016 7:42 PM CST
Muddymitts, You won't necessarily see snakes. What I have seen in the past is adult birds mobbing the house but refusing to enter one side. The snakes had climbed the birdhouse pole during the night and started eating young birds that hadn't fledged, working their way around the birdhouse, holed up in one nest during the day. I've had mud snakes previously and had to literally lower the nest box and pull them out with two tobacco sticks, just like using chopsticks only on a grand scale. It's not easy to do because you're trying to get the nest door open without getting bitten, save as many baby birds as possible and hope that the adult birds return. I have never killed every snake I see in the area (rural farm land that meets the sprayed and mowed edges to my yard) because they are valuable in controlling rodents. I do protect the Purple Martin houses and my Bantam Brussels d'Uccle Heritage chickens.
Name: Mary Ann
Kentucky
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: United States of America Hostas Hummingbirder Daylilies Birds
Irises Keeps Horses Region: Kentucky Farmer Container Gardener Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Muddymitts
Jul 23, 2016 5:37 AM CST
I'm glad that you told me this kytn -- if I ever see that type of situation, I'll have an idea of what's going on. Better yet -- think I'll investigate snake guards.......

I'm glad that I found this conversation. Thanks, everyone!!
Thoughts become things -- choose the good ones. ([url=www.tut.com]www.tut.com[/url])

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