I found a big snake in our backyard strawberry patch! I saw the brown, black and white stripped snake a few days ago as I reached to remove the netting over the plants. It was not a slim little garter snake. This snake was long and coiled beneath the strawberry and fig tree leaves. It was still until it saw me, then it poked its head through the netting, opened its mouth and wiggled its tongue at me. I ran for my camera. When I returned to the strawberry patch, the snake had completely disappeared. A bit nervous, I combed through the strawberry patch with a long stick and picked the last strawberries of the season.
Why did a big snake visit our small strawberry patch?
Snakes do not eat fruit, but they eat the critters (rodents, moles and chipmunks) that nibble our strawberries. Also, the fig leaves and strawberry plant leaves provide a cool hideout for the snake during the hot days. Although a bit frightening, the snake is a beneficial garden critter. It may even be more effective in protecting our strawberries than the netting!