Q: I just found out that I have rats in my crawlspace, which I’m having trapped by an expert. I also have a gazillion chipmunks.
They are soooo cute, but I worry there are too many and I may start noticing some sort of damage.
I’m looking for a way to control numbers and had the idea that if I could release some rat snakes into my yard, that may do the trick.
I have two questions for you: do you think this is a good idea and if so, where could I buy some to release in my yard? I suppose most people would be more freaked out by the snakes than the rats and ‘munks, but knowing rat snakes are not dangerous to humans, I wouldn’t mind their hanging around.
A: Theresa Schrum replies: “How refreshing to find someone who understands the usefulness of snakes. It’s said that the black plague that wiped out 1/3 of Europe in the 1300′s was exacerbated by the killing of snakes and cats which were thought to be Satanic. Rats proliferated and spread the disease.
“Alas, non-venomous snakes in Georgia are protected and their sale is prohibited. I encourage you to contact Jim Rodgers at Nearly Native Nursery (he is an amateur herpetologist) about how to attract snakes to your yard.
Also see Living with Wildlife for instructions on how to attract snakes.