Keeping Snakes out of the pond
I’ve been getting a lot of correspondence relating to people finding grass snakes in and around their ponds and water features. The Grass snake is a superb swimmer, just as happy in water as on land, and finds the temptations of a juicy frog difficult to ignore. So is there anything you can do to keep said snakes out of the pond… Well it is theoretically possible, but it probably isn’t worth the trouble.
Grass snakes feed of a wide variety of food, with their core diet in many areas being frogs, toads, newts and small fish. They do however feed on a range of mammals such as mice, small rats and voles. A grass snake in residence is often the sign of healthy countryside and a healthy pond. There presence can be an excellent deterrent to other vermin around the water, but may cost a few amphibians along the way.
There are no known repellants that keep snakes away, some chemical compounds are touted but these will probably do more harm than good to the garden and other animals. Another option is a slanted fence/barrier which may help. The trouble being that grass snakes are excellent climbers, often spending time in trees and bushes out of harms way. Unless your super-fence is of Glastonbury proportions you maybe doomed to fail.
In the end, save getting the snake professionally removed, there is little you can do, and really a few frogs and the old small fish are a good price to pay to have regular visits from one this Isles most interesting creatures. Add to that the fact that you should be free of rats and mice who could do significant damage to your cables and pond liner.
If you’ve got any good snake pictures, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.