Can all snakes swim?

San Francisco snake

All snakes can swim. This may be surprising to find out, especially because a creature with no arms or legs makes an unlikely swimmer. While some snakes are more inclined toward water than others, or even live primarily in water, any snake can swim by moving their body in wave-like lateral movements. Like any creature, a snake will displace water, but its body density is so low compared to the water around it, most snakes easily float, making swimming easy. And while all snakes can swim, not all snakes are comfortable diving under water; most land snakes, if forced to swim, will do so with their heads above water. Snakes born to an aquatic lifestyle are the exception. Some are known to dive beneath the surface for hunting, and some are able to hold their breath for upwards of an hour.

Needless to say, surrounding your home with a moat isn’t a solution to having a snake infestation. Snakes tend to surprise people because they can swim and climb, and we often feel we are immune to snakes just because we don’t expect to see them in certain places. The good news is that getting rid of snakes is actually far easier than digging a deep trench around your property. Snakes are not around your home because they want anything to do with you. The opposite is true, and if you see a snake, the best thing you can do is stay away from it. The majority of snake bites in the United States are the result of people not minding their own business around snakes. They attempt to move or “scare” the snake away, and the animal retaliates by lashing out. Believe it or not, if you leave a snake alone, it will leave you alone. You just have to get over the initial creepy-crawly vibe you get when you see one in your yard.

Another fact to keep in mind is how beneficial snakes are to your property. If you have a snake or snakes that seem regular, they are there because you have a more insidious problem at hand. More likely than not, you have a rodent issue, and that rodent issue is going to be far more problematic than a few snakes in your yard would be. If you’ve ever let the grass outside grow too long, you’ll notice that you suddenly start seeing snakes and frogs and other small critters. These animals love the tall grass, and they use it for cover while they run around your property. A well-kept yard is critical to keeping all small creatures at bay. If the frogs and mice don’t start to over populate, you won’t see too many snakes, either. When you do start seeing snakes, you should be grateful. Without them, you run a much higher risk of rodent problems getting out of hand.

That all being said, sometimes snakes are just in your yard, and this is still not something to be overly alarmed about. If you have a venomous snake lingering on site, call a professional snake remover to handle the issue. Whatever you do, do not try to “get rid” of the venomous snake yourself unless you are skilled in the use and maintenance of glue traps.

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