Snakes as rodent control

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by NotTheMomma, Jul 1, 2009.

  1. Many times I see it posted that snakes shouldn't be killed, rehomed, etc., because they are great for keeping the rat/mouse population under control. I question this though. If a snake only eats once a month, and a mouse/rat can breed rapidly, then explain how that snake eating a mouse or rat a month is going to help anything.

    My cat can kill far more rats/mice than a snake can. Plus my cat doesn't eat eggs.

    So would someone please explain the logic behind keeping a snake around for control of the rodents?
     
  2. deerman

    deerman Rest in Peace 1949-2012

    9,491
    53
    293
    Aug 24, 2008
    Southern Ohio
    Wow snakes only eat once a month????????

    Yes those ones that eat a 50 lb prey. a mouse would only be a snack for a black snake, more like 4 rats a week.
     
  3. I said IF a snake only eats once a month. Everyone that I've ever known that kept a snake for a pet says they feed them once a month. So I figure the ones in the wild must not eat very often either.

    Some posts say the snake is eating eggs everyday. Then I read another post that said there must be more than one snake then because they don't eat that frequently.

    So again, I'm wondering how can A snake keep down the rodent population? I'm thinking you must let MANY snakes stay if they are going to put a dent in the rodents. If that's the case, I'd much rather stick with a cat, knowing it eats several times a day.
     
  4. deerman

    deerman Rest in Peace 1949-2012

    9,491
    53
    293
    Aug 24, 2008
    Southern Ohio
    Well if a person feed their cats proper. They want be hunger to eat 4 times a day. Dogs and cats will kill just for fun, killing many birds in the spring baby birds are easy prey for cats.

    Snakes eat small prey have to eat more times.
     
  5. 2boxers

    2boxers Songster

    374
    0
    139
    Feb 16, 2008
    Halifax Co Virginia
    Conversely, the black snakes at my mother's spread ate an entire family of birds that had built a nest on my mother's deck. He just climbed up into the nest and gobbled down all the hatches. Even though she has a few blacks snakes on her property (roughly twelve acres) she also has a copperhead problem, which is why we don't over there much lol!

    I killed two black snakes in my coup on Monday. The two of them ate all but two medium eggs and one bantam (we have eight hens plus two bantams laying right now, so that is potentially six medium and one bantam egg between the two reptiles) and they likely would have gotten those eggs, too, had they not been killed in the act. Consequently, even with two (and probably more) black snakes roaming my property, there are still plenty of rodents for my cat to kill. She brings me at least two every day.
     
  6. Epona142

    Epona142 Songster

    640
    5
    151
    Apr 19, 2008
    Bedias, TX
    Quote:If someone is feeding their snake once a month, I sure hope it is either an extremely large python or boa. Otherwise, that is doing what we herp keepers call "maintenance feeding." In other words, feeding enough to keep the snake alive, but not enough to flourish on.

    My ball pythons eat a appropriate sized prey item once a week. Some of them, especially the younger ones, scarf down TWO prey items.

    If a rat snake comes across a nest of pinkie mice/rats, they will eat them all. Like popcorn. (Hehe)

    Snakes are opportunist eaters. If they are awake, and a mouse comes running by, they will eat it.
     
  7. I can always tell when there is a snake in our feed barn.... because there are no mice. I don't know if the snake eats them all or the mice leave but the end result is the same. no mice.

    Works for me

    Steve in NC
     
  8. deerman

    deerman Rest in Peace 1949-2012

    9,491
    53
    293
    Aug 24, 2008
    Southern Ohio
    Quote:If someone is feeding their snake once a month, I sure hope it is either an extremely large python or boa. Otherwise, that is doing what we herp keepers call "maintenance feeding." In other words, feeding enough to keep the snake alive, but not enough to flourish on.

    My ball pythons eat a appropriate sized prey item once a week. Some of them, especially the younger ones, scarf down TWO prey items.

    If a rat snake comes across a nest of pinkie mice/rats, they will eat them all. Like popcorn. (Hehe)

    Snakes are opportunist eaters. If they are awake, and a mouse comes running by, they will eat it.

    Very good point, snakes will go where the mice nest, yes they love the pinkies.
     
  9. AWChickens

    AWChickens Songster

    239
    1
    121
    Sep 16, 2008
    Bloomington, IN
    Most of the snakes you find around a barn in the central US are king snakes, rat snakes, and corn snakes. King snakes are great because they are voracious eaters (I had one in the barn that would happily eat 4-6 mice per week) and will kill copperheads and smaller water moccasins in addition to rodents- so great if you live near water and worry about poisonous snakes. Corn snakes and rat snakes are also pretty hardy eaters, especially in the first few years when they are growing. Medium- large rat snakes can eat 3-4 rats or 4-6 mice a week.

    The thing is, captive snakes aren't usually fed as often as they will eat. A wild snake will clean up an adult mice and nest of babies in one feeding, and they are hungry more often because they are burning more calories than a snake in a cage. PLUS, and this is the best part- snakes are a hypoallergenic addition to your barn yard. Unlike rodent dropping, which can cause feed to mold and spread disease- snake droppings and the skin that they shed don't spread dander or mold caused by urine. And they don't chew anything up.

    Every couple of years I hear a mouse in the walls (old farm house), and I get a 3-5 ft rat snake and release it into the wall behind my washer/dryer. They'll live in the walls long enough to kill all the mice, and when there's nothing left to eat they make their way outside and follow the mice to the barn [​IMG]
     
  10. 2boxers

    2boxers Songster

    374
    0
    139
    Feb 16, 2008
    Halifax Co Virginia
    Quote:Oh.
    My.
    God!!!

    [​IMG]

    I'd have to move out of that house! I would not be able to sleep at night! I know this is totally off topic, but just thinking of it makes my skin crawl [​IMG] I wish I wasn't such a weenie when it comes to snakes, but I reckon I'm just too girlie.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: