SNAKES & STEWARDSHIP
WHY ARE SNAKES IMPORTANT?
Snakes have played a key role in the environment for millions of years. Snakes are important players in the food chain and are significant predators of rodents like mice, voles and pocket gophers. Snakes themselves are also important prey for other predators, such as hawks, badgers, coyotes, and bears. If our local snake populations continue to be threatened by human pressures (urban development, agriculture, vehicles), they could face extinction and be gone from this area forever. People who take the opportunity to better understand snakes find them fascinating animals.
WHO ARE THE SNAKES IN YOUR NEIGHBOURHOOD?
Seven different species of snake live in the Okangan and Similkameen, only one of which is venomous. Whether you are hiking in the hills, working outside, or playing in the dry Southern Interior of BC, snake encounters can be common. It is important to be able to distinguish between different kinds of snakes and to react appropriately. An understanding of snake biology and behaviour will help you to comfortably co-exist with these misunderstood reptiles.
There are photos of each of the snakes found in the Okanagan and Similkameen in the gallery below, but for a more indepth understanding of snakes and snake safety, check out our webinar series on the Snakes of the Okanagan! Part One is all about the biology of snakes in general as well as some of their really cool features. Part Two focusses on identifying local Okanagan snake species as well as rattlesnake safety.
Concerned about snakes and other wildlife around the farm? Check out some of the resources to the right, or head over to our Farming with Wildlife page for strategies to help with management of and coexistance with wildlife
YOU CAN HELP!
Brake for snakes! Be careful to avoid driving over snakes when they are crossing roads.
Avoid disturbing rock and woody debris in potential snake habitat
Encourage others to use harmless and effective ways to cope with snake encounters.
Control domestic pets (cats and dogs) to make sure they don't harm snakes. This also ensures that your pets are not harmed by a snake!
Do not disturb dens if you find them.
Do not move snakes around! Snakes are very loyal to their den sites.
Never harass a snake. Not only is this unkind, it also greatly increases the risk of a bite.