We gardeners often do whatever we can to try to protect our plants and increase yields. After all, it takes a heck of a lot of time and effort to create and maintain a successful garden. There is simply nothing worse than seeing your crops decimated by insects or eaten by deer, birds, raccoons, groundhogs, voles or any other critter who happens to come through.

One thing many gardeners do to try to protect their garden is to drape netting over the plants. We use a few different types of garden netting here and, for the most part, it works well to help keep the local riff-raff from using our vegetable garden as an all you can eat buffet.

Garden netting can be deadly for snakes.

Generally speaking, snakes are very beneficial to gardens. They can be great for helping with pest control and will eat many annoying garden pests including mice, voles, grubs and slugs. If you've been reading my blog lately, you'll know that we recently had a black snake eat the baby bluebirds in one of our birdhouses (read full story here). As traumatic as that was, we still welcome non-poisonous snakes in our garden...we just don't want them eating our birds!

So, on our daily morning garden patrol today, we found that the netting we had on our broccoli had become (almost) deadly for a young black snake -- it had gotten itself tangled and was in real trouble.. At first glance, I thought for sure the little snake was dead - it's head was twisted to the side, it's mouth seemed to have been forced open permanently as he tried to push through the netting, and he wasn't moving.

Here's a photo of how I found him ... doesn't he look dead?

Black Snake Stuck in Garden Netting

I called to my husband and he came quickly to the rescue (again).

Cutting Black Snake from Garden Netting

The little black snake wasn't dead, but he was very, very tangled in the netting and looked like he was in great distress. It was a big, tangled mess of snake and netting.

Freeing Snake from Garden Netting

After working to free the body of the snake, the netting had to be carefully cut to free the snake's head and jaw. I imagine if we hadn't noticed the snake this morning, he would have died shortly.

Black Snake

Snakes getting caught in garden netting are a common occurrence. As snakes move around the garden or climb into bushes to get out of the sun, they can easily become entangled in netting. As they struggle to free themselves, it seems that they just get more and more entangled. If not freed, the snakes will likely die.

Have you patrolled your netting today? If not, go check it now... you might just save a snake!

ps - if you find a snake trapped in your garden netting and don't know for sure what kind of snake it is, find out or contact someone who does before you attempt to help it!  All snakes can bite, but some are also poisonous.

Jun 13 2013

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Horticultural Zone: 9
June 13, 2013

Netting is horrible for snakes! I can't tell you how many I've found entangled in netting over the years.


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