SNAKES alive!

Snakes do not want to hurt you, they just want to hide. If found in the house try not to let them crawl away to somewhere inaccessible. Find an empty box, hat or similar light weight container and encourage the snake to hide under it. Now, slide something flat underneath e.g. piece of cardboard the same size or larger than the container. Make sure the snake is on top of the flat thing then careful lift both items off the floor and carry the snake outside to release.

Ants dont need killing either just feed them on e.g. honey where convenient and they will stop trailing all over ghe kitchen.

That’s awful, what a terrible attitude! I think my neighbour has probably killed off all the hedgehogs as well, I can’t believe how many tubs of slug pellets he’s been chucking around the garden this year, and very close to my garden, it annoys me because I’m trying to grow as ‘organically’ as I possibly can, I’ve not used any pesticides in my veg patch going to great extremes to remove any unwanted visitors ie caterpillars by hand and to a different area of the garden. I’ve not had any problems with slugs and snails at all.

My wife was sleeping at home in the Philippines when a snake fell from the ceiling into the bed! They are everywhere there! Here we have grass snakes a plenty but also saalamanders. At a cottage I own nearby vipers did enter through the fromnt door once (about 35 years ago) and I have to admit I kelled them. That was a bit before animal welfare issues were as flagged up as they are today. We used to have frequent (almost annual) bee nest arrivals in our chimney in those days and the annual pompier visit was a highlight of our annual holidays.

Sadly, most French country people of a certain age (oldish) that I've met have this attitude that if an animal isn't of any use to them, kill it!

A few years go, I had to move a door step from in front of our house. Underneath was about a dozen snakes eggs. I carefully moved them and put them somewhere safe. I was so excited that I mentioned it to my neighbour, who was the nicest, kind man you could ever meet. I then went shopping and came back a few hours later and thought I'd have another look...they were gone. I asked my neighbour and he said "Well that's 12 times less likely of my getting bitten in the garden next year!"

I wish someone would tell my French neighbour, he brutally kills them on sight, even if they are in OUR garden! I am totally against the killing of any wildlife and I like snakes, although I prefer them not to visit our garden as my cat takes them on and I don’t want him or the snake to come to any harm! However, they are beautiful and have every right to go about their business un disturbed.

I have seen two small and one large European grass snakes recently whicu have yellow and black heads but not very distinct markings along their greyish brown bodies.

Western whip snakes, with a smooth greyish body and a yellow/black zigzag marking on heads, appear to be hatching out at present. I just rescued one about half an hour ago, our cat gets them every year. They normally appear later in August but the weather is probably making that early. This was a baby, slim and only about 25cm. I let it go in a wild patch and hope it will leave to gorge itself on rodents we do not need raiding my vegetable garden.

Well yes, I use the same theory with spiders webs. I leave the webs to develop and have the reward of almost no flies or other small insects in the house.

Good point Theo. That is why I leave our big one alone I guess. She has not got so big and fat on fresh air ;-)

Nice reminder. Strangely the huge snake here in the garden is hissing a bit, even the dogs leave her alone and I can not be bothered to re-home here in the fields as she is not dangerous for us, just for mice and rats...

Hi again Shirley.

True story from today.

We spent the weekend in Albi (beautiful city) and called in at Montauban for lunch.Montauban is a Bastide Royal and the centre is superb with loads of nice buildings etc. Lunchtime was very warm in the town square with loads of people eating in the restos etc. One chap was sitting on part of a low wall in the bastide and in front of him was a snake !!!

Perfectly true Shirley. He sat with the creature in the sun and me, being fascinated by snakes approached him and his mate and he told me all about his hobby. He has three pythons as pets and this one was a six year old Ball Python and at about 36" long one of the smaller breeds. Apparently he (the python) enjoys hot weather hence the sunbathing in full sun ! His owner, an interesting chap told me all about him and his requirements like having to eat a live rat (live preferably) or a couple of mice every five days. Pythons are apparently harmless and according to him, excellent and loving pets...The creature was heavier than I thought though I was not to touch his head too much as I was a stranger and he wasn't used to me..

Sleep well Shirley !!!

I would not guarantee a snake would be less stressed than me Peter! Fortunately not had to pût your theory to thé test! Think Calling the pompiers is best!

Iim one of those people who have a phobia against snakes.....I'm terrified at the thought of an encounter.......and I had no idea that they are protected here in France! neighbour found a smallish grass snake a few weeks ago, he trapped it, and killed it! Even though my husband told him it was harmless and to let it go in one of the fields!..,........I'm shivering just typing this reply!

Melissa's one seems to be a viperine snake (couleuvre vipérine) which people are forever mistaking for vipers but are harmless. We have western whip snakes around here (couleuvre verte et jaune) including one 'old friend' who appears to be a bit over 2m long and quite thick who now just tends to ignore me until I am too close but scarpers when our cat is anywhere around. We also have orvets (slow worms) our cat catches them now and again, so the whole family now knows them and we all handle them.

Having worked in countries where snakes are far more common and often very dangerous, I have been in a restaurant near Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala in the south of India that emptied when a king cobra decided to join the clientèle, I tend to be less wary of them than they are of me. I have a large, fine netted anglers' landing net and a kind of lid on another pole for recovering them, especially vipers, which I then release into the woodland a couple of hundred metres away. They are protected, so that is my first consideration and not that they are going to return, therefore (puts on Dalek voice) 'exterminate'. However, on the whole I find that snakes beat a quick retreat rather than take on a silly, flapping human.

All snakes in France are protected. It's illegal to trap them, or kill them. A friend called the local wildlife place near us having caught 2 snakes in a bucket and wanted to know what to do. The Society insisted that "he had not caught any snakes" and "they were no snakes in the bucket" if you get my drift.

If you contact an English Pest Controller in France, make sure they have the correct diploma. Only Certibiocides will do, anybody else will be trading illegally.

Or try "dératisation, désinsectisatio, désinfection"



I was in the shower the other night about 1130, mega great hornet ...very black, arrived through the Velux... well it was a hornet or an Apache attack helicopter, being brave, calm and rational, I got out the shower without opening the door.......had to back in to brush my teeth....yeah I know, I know....use honey and a warm blanket...

The best advice for dealing with snakes is to get a spray bottle of water - they do not like being sprayed and will slither off in the other direction.

Regarding ants, make a strong solution of peppermint essential oil and water and spray it where they are coming in. They really don’t like it. This works for wasps too.

I was gardening the other day and a grass snake popped its head out of a hole next to me. I don't now who was more surprised, me or the snake. When we had both composed ourselves the snake beat a hasty retreat into the hedge. I was surprised that I didn't run away screaming, as I am terrified of snakes , but strangely I just sttood still and watched it. It was quite beautiful.

Old chinese proverb Julien

"Never underestimate your mum"

Equipment required.

One flat ended stickabout about two feet long

one bucket with lid or sack

trapthe neck of the snake with the stick,

pick up snake by the tail,

keep the snake at arms length while using the stick to ensure snake doesn't recoil,

place snake carefuly in sack or bucket,

take to a wooded area or near water and release gently

don't panic, it's only a snake who will be more stressed than you !