Three colorful garter snakes are at home in a flower garden. Garter snakes are beneficial helpers in the garden because they eat many pests, including slugs and squash bugs.


Viva Mertlich

WSU Master Gardener intern

While we may be used to thinking of snakes and spiders as scary, creepy crawlers, many of them live year-round in our gardens as beneficial helpers. The more we understand the roles these creatures play in the success of our gardens, the less we fear them.

Most snakes in our area are garter snakes. They are non-poisonous, rather shy and usually avoid humans. Garter snakes eat many garden pests including slugs, squash bugs and cucumber beetles. Larger garter snakes will eat small rodents, which can also be garden pests and disease vectors around the home.

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