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Do Bird Feeders Attract Snakes?

do bird feeders attract snakes

Bird feeders may help the bird population in your area, but they attract other critters as well. This fact may lead you to wonder what types of animals do bird feeders attract. Specifically, one question you might ask then is, “Do bird feeders attract snakes?”

Interesting Facts About Snakes

Interestingly enough, snakes are all carnivores, no matter the type. Their diets vary slightly based on the variety of snakes. For instance, certain snakes eat warm-blooded animals, such as rabbits, rodents, and birds. 

On the other hand, other snakes consume cold-blooded animals, including frogs, reptiles, and toads. They may also eat fish, slugs, or earthworms. 

Snakes can’t chew their food, so whatever they eat, they’ll swallow it whole. They have flexible jaws so that they can open their mouths wider than their heads.  

Although different snakes are native to different areas, snakes can be found on every continent besides Antarctica. 

Fortunately, most varieties of snakes are harmless. And like most other animals, they would prefer to avoid humans. 

Do Snakes Hang Around Bird Feeders?

Birds aren’t the tidiest of eaters. Therefore, you’ll notice birdseed on the ground where you have the feeder. Although they won’t eat the fallen seeds, they will eat the animals that come to feed on the seeds. 

Particularly, they’ll prey on birds, mice, and squirrels. The seeds will also attract other rodents, which can be dinner for a snake. 

So to answer this question, the bird feeders themselves don’t attract snakes, nor do the contents. However, you could develop a snake problem if you have a bird feeder. 

How Do You Keep Snakes Out of Bird Feeders?

Essentially, the easiest solution for keeping snakes away from a bird feeder is not to have one at all. However, if you enjoy feeding or watching the birds, you could try a hummingbird feeder instead. Hang it in a location that’s hard for snakes to get to it. 

On the contrary, if you still want a bird feeder with seeds, don’t overfill the feeder. There’s more chance of spillage when there’s too much food in the feeder, which ground critters will eat. 

You could also focus on attracting only the birds you desire and researching what types of seeds they prefer. Since some birds are pickier eaters than others, they may discard the seeds they don’t want. These seeds will then end up on the ground. Therefore, by choosing to feed only the birds you want, they’ll be fewer wasted seeds. 

Another way to reduce the number of seeds on the ground is to have a pan under the bird feeder to catch seeds. You can purchase feeders with this design or place a pan under it. You won’t catch every seed and will need to dump it every day, but it will decrease the seeds that fall

Many bird feeder owners have also wrapped uneven metal like a slinky around the post of the bird feeder to make it more difficult for snakes to climb up in search of birds. 

Detering Snakes from Your Yard  

While you take steps to reduce the possibility of snakes around the feeder, you could also take the approach to keep snakes away from your yard in general. With this approach, you can continue to feed the birds and not have to worry about snakes. 

You can find products available in stores that you use to treat your yard. Fortunately, many of these products use essential oils, which are natural and safe for the environment. Many of the essential oils are safe if your pets or children come in contact with them, but not all are. Therefore, you should make sure you research the type of essential oil used to verify that it’s non-toxic, in particular, for your pets. 

The most common essential oils used in snake repellents include the following:

  • Garlic oil
  • Cinnamon oil
  • Clove oil
  • Cedar oil
  • Rosemary oil

Snakes don’t like the scent of these oils, so they’ll stay away from the area. 

Sulfer is another potential snake deterrent, specifically naphthalene. This ingredient comes from coal tar or crude oil. It’s used to make mothballs. 

Unfortunately, this option is harmful. When inhaled, humans can develop dizziness, headaches, nausea, and vomiting. 

If a child accidentally eats naphthalene, they experience abdominal pain, painful urination, discolored urine, diarrhea, or fever. Pets who consume it may vomit, have diarrhea, or become lethargic. They could also experience a decreased appetite or tremors.

Other Animals That Bird Feeders Attract

Other woodland creatures besides birds will eat the seeds in a bird feeder. Squirrels, chipmunks, rats, and mice will eat seeds from the ground. Depending on the feeder’s location, they may eat bird seeds directly from the feeder.

At night, you may catch raccoons, deer, bears, and possums eating the seeds as well.

Bird feeders are wonderful for avid bird watchers and help the birds have food during the winter. However, feeders will bring in a range of other critters, many you may not want around. Although the seeds aren’t a delicacy for snakes, the feeders do attract snake prey. 

 

Sources:

http://npic.orst.edu/factsheets/naphgen.html

https://thrivingyard.com/do-bird-feeders-attract-rodents-and-snakes/

https://www.familyhandyman.com/article/heres-how-to-keep-snakes-out-of-your-home/

https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/snakes-feeding

 

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