Honeysuckle & Snakes

Overview

The sight of a snake huddling in your honeysuckle bush may raise your hackles, but snakes play an important role in the garden. About 125 species of snakes reside in North America, but only a few are poisonous. Snakes use honeysuckle plants for temporary shelter and habitat. They also use honeysuckle to find prey that also use the plant as part of their habitat.

Plant Description

Honeysuckle plants consist of native and invasive species that range in size from a few feet to 16 feet in height. While both types of plants add visual interest and fragrant blooms to the garden when in bloom, invasive types crowd out native plants that wildlife and birds find beneficial. Consider planting native types such as northern bush or American fly honeysuckle, since they do not form extensive mats that run over other plants. Besides attracting snakes, native honeysuckle plants work well to attract birds, butterflies and bees to your garden. These creatures help pollinate honeysuckle and other flowers in the landscape.

About Snakes

Since snakes cannot produce their own body heat, they spend part of their day in warm areas where they sun themselves. Providing an open area in the sun where the creatures can rest after visiting your honeysuckle plants helps them digest their food and gain energy. Warm sites remain especially important to female snakes when they are producing eggs or young. Snakes hunt prey around plants, including honeysuckle, as well as in brush piles.

Benefits

Snakes eat harmful insects, mice, rats and other annoying creatures that invade gardens and homes. As part of the food chain, owls and hawks may visit your yard, where they may hunt for snakes as well as rodents, giving you even more defense against creatures that cause problems in the garden or house.

Snake-friendly Gardens

To encourage snakes to visit your yard, plant groundcovers, perennials, annuals and vines, such as honeysuckle to attract garden snakes. You'll also encourage more frogs, lizards and birds to visit your yard, giving you even more creatures to help keep the bad insects to a minimum. You can also leave some wild areas by leaving small brush or stone piles that offer the snakes a place to make a home. In parts of the country where venomous snakes hang out in the garden, brush piles may pose a hazard.

Planting Locations

Honeysuckle makes a beautiful shrub for the garden or landscape. You can grow them on trellises and in hedge rows. Insects find their way to the plants, then snakes who rely on the bush as an important spot to hunt for prey, feed on the insects. For gardeners who prefer not to encourage snakes close to their front door or high-traffic areas of the garden, plant honeysuckle bushes in areas where wildlife feels safe but people seldom visit.

Keywords: honeysuckle and snakes, American fly honeysuckle, native honeysuckle plants

About this Author

Nancy Wagner is a marketing strategist, speaker and writer who started writing in 1998. Her articles have appeared in "Home Business Journal," "Nation’s Business," "Emerging Business," "The Mortgage Press," "Seattle: 150 Years of Progress," "Destination Issaquah," and "Northwest," among others. Wagner holds a Bachelor of Science in education from Eastern Illinois University.