Birds can be a problem. Your best friend to scare pest birds may be a rubber snake. With a dollar and a minute, you can set up a one-snake yard. With a few more dollars, you can have a variety of fake snakes glaring at those pesky birds. Try these tips to get the most benefit from fake snakes.

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Rubber snakes

Step 1

Shop for rubber snakes at dollar stores, garden shops and toy stores. Buy cheap snakes. Nature stores carry quality realistic snakes for more money, but a crane or hawk may carry off your snake. Watching a dollar snake fly away is not as painful as watching a sawbuck disappear in a bird beak. They won't bring your snake back.

Select a snake that you will recognize. Your garden may be home to several natural snakes. You need to move the snakes for them to be effective. You do not want to grab the wrong snake by mistake. If your garden generally has slender green snakes, you may want a chunky brown or striped coral fake snake.

Choose from clown snakes, coiled or curvy shapes and bright or natural colors. Some are inflatable and look like giant boas. Others expand in water to 6 times their normal size. They shrink back down as they dry. The easiest snakes to use are 1 to 2 feet long.

Buy several different snakes. Experiment to find which one works against your problem birds. Not all birds are discouraged by snakes and others are scared easily even with cut pieces of black rubber hose hanging from trees.

Place your snakes on rocks, near shrubs and on patios. Tuck them in trees along branches or in gardens between plants. Put a fake snake on the window sill to keep birds away from glass.

Step 6

Hang snakes in the rafters. If birds are roosting in eaves, use a cable tie and attach the snake to a gutter nail or hook at the roost. For birds nesting in ventilation shafts, clean out the nest and put in a round top gutter downspout screen. Place a snake near the vent pipe for a few days.

Move the snakes. If you are afraid to touch the fake snakes, use tongs or a stick. Every day or two you need to move each snake to a new location. Otherwise the birds soon know they are not real. Put a spinning flower or whirligig between the snakes. The spinning ornaments and fake snakes combine to keep the birds nervous. Now slither down to the store and pick out your snakes.