If I told you there were snakes in your yard, would you think twice about running around barefoot on your lawn? Well, I hate to break it to you, but if you live in the Hudson Valley you're probably sharing your property with at least a few snakes.

This time of year is actually your best chance to see these slithering neighbors of yours. Snakes are plentiful right now, and if you look carefully you can probably catch one out for a hunt or sunbathing on your deck. In fact, you've probably walked right past one of them recently without even noticing it.

Snakes are extremely common in the Hudson Valley, but that doesn't mean it's still not a shock to see one. Because they're painfully shy, snakes aren't often seen hanging out in your yard. Occasionally,  one may curl up right on your front stoop. Well, that's exactly what happened to me this weekend when I stepped outside my front door. Without even realizing it, I stepped right over a snake. I didn't even see him unit after I turned around to go back inside.

The good news is that snakes are actually great neighbors. The majority of snakes in our area are perfectly harmless. In fact, they're one of the best animals you can have in your back yard. Your average garter snake has no interest in destroying your plants or vegetables. They don't make any noise, dig up your yard, attract ticks, or leave droppings all over your lawn. In fact, all snakes really do are hide out of sight and eat your mutual enemies. Slugs, small rodents, crickets and other pests that target your garden are all on a snake's daily menu.

While I was happy to see my little snake friend drop by to say hello this weekend, I knew that having him camp out on the front stoop was a bad idea. Not only was he almost stepped on, but our two cats were licking their lips looking at him through the window. So, to keep the little guy safe I decided to transport him to the backyard where he will be much happier.

If you do decide to pick up a snake in your yard, be certain that it's not venomous. In the Hudson Valley the only two venomous snakes you will find are rattlesnakes and copperheads. They have pretty distinctive traits, but if you're unsure -- stay away!  Most likely, the snake in your yard will be a common garter snake. They're not aggressive but may snap at you if they feel threatened. Grabbing it close to the head will help you avoid getting bitten. But also be sure to keep your eye on the little guy's back end. Snakes will poop and pee all over you if they feel threatened. And man do they stink!

Once you have your snake safely in your hands, move him quickly to a safe new location in your yard. The National Wildlife Federation agrees that there's no reason to get rid of snakes that are in your yard. Unless, of course, it's poisonous. Trust me, once you realize he's there, you'll be very lucky to have this happy little tenant living in your garden.

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