There's a chance you've already stumbled upon one in your garden or yard this year.  What can you do with snakes when you find them?

How many times have you heard the saying, "The only good snake is a dead snake?"  Could that get you in trouble in New York State?

There's no doubt that snakes can be scary to suddenly find in your lawn or garden.  They're scaley and it's not natural to move the way that they move.  But can you legally just kill them because you don't like them?

Snakes can actually be good to have around your house

While a lot of people would prefer to simply take a shovel to them, snakes are good to have around your house. One of the biggest benefits is that some of their favorite snacks are the rodents who like to get into your house, tear up your walls, and chew into your cables.  They'll protect your yard from moles and voles and if you have grain or feed on your property, they'll eat the animals that would normally snack on your grains too.  They'll also eat some insects that can be a nuisance too!

Snakes in New York are rarely a threat

Although they might look scary, a lot of the snakes you'll see in New York State are non-venomous. It's more likely that the snakes you'll find in New York simply want to get away from you than to try to bite you.  Even if they do, they'll probably not even cause much damage.

It's illegal to kill many snakes in New York State

Also, killing that snake that means you no harm is illegal in New York.  I was surprised to see it myself, but it is illegal to capture, release, move, or kill any native snakes in New York.  If it is damaging your property or becoming a nuisance, you can apply for a DEC permit to take it (hunt, trap, or kill).

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Gallery Credit: Brett Alan

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