Permaculture Design: Managing Snakes
Updated: Apr 12
We are often asked the question, "What about snakes on the farm? How do you deal with them? "
A farm is a habitat for all species, and the land belongs as much to the snakes as it belongs to us. That is the concept of a fair share in permaculture! Fair share is not only to share one's farm produce with other humans & species, but also to share the space with other species. After all, where are wild animals expected to go and live, if every inch of land is occupied by humans? Nature has not designed for the land to be owned by any species. So it is the responsibility of us humans, to provide a habitat for all species.
When we design our farm, we must leave enough space for wildlife to exist. This space is called the Wildlife Zone. It is an area that humans rarely go into, so we do not plant any crops in this area. When humans do not frequent an area, wild animals quickly recognise it as a safe zone and start living there. This area is planted with native trees and shrubs, so that wild animals have shelter and habitat.
Of course, there will be occasions when snakes and other animals come into the other zones of your farm. But when they see or hear a human, they will usually retrace their steps and go back to their wildlife zone. It is our terrible habit, to chase them towards this zone and kill them. This is not required, as the wildlife zone provides a safe space for them and us both. It is our ethical task to not kill them, as this planet belongs to them as well.
These snakes also play an important role in the ecosystem. They keep many of the other pests (like rats) in check and maintain the balance of the species. In turn, they are also kept in check by birds and mongoose, etc..
When you provide a space for snakes, like the wildlife zone, the conflict between humans and snakes is reduced dramatically. We have been working on the farm for a decade now, and have very little conflict with snakes. In the past, we used to feel creeped out or repulsed at the sight of a snake. Today, we are left in awe and wonder at its beauty and take a few photographs before allowing it to slither back into the wildlife zone.
We are living closely with nature today, and learning to appreciate the beauty in all the species, the ugliest of which are perhaps us humans.
You can watch these videos in Hindi & English to hear more about our views on Snakes!
We hope you will be convinced by our argument, and will work towards living in harmony with these beautiful creatures.