How to Scare Birds With Fake Snakes

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A scarecrow comes in handy for keeping some types of birds away from your garden, but in other cases, a scare snake does the trick. Since some snakes prey on birds, many birds naturally stay away from real snakes that they spot nearby. A fake snake may fool the birds for a few days, but they're quick to catch on that the snake isn't moving and will no longer see it as a threat. Move the snake around regularly to keep the birds on guard.

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Birds Fear Predators

Birds rely on survival instincts to find food and to avoid becoming food. The same small- to medium-size birds that might be seen as annoyances on your property do their best to stay away from raptors, such as owls and hawks, as well as from other predatory creatures, such as snakes or cats.

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When the nuisance birds think any of these predators are nearby, they'll avoid the area. While a real predator does the best job of scaring birds away, fake versions work as well within reason. A plain cement statue of any predatory creature probably won't scare many birds away, but if your faux predator looks realistic or moves around like it's alive, there's a good chance the birds will stay away.

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Finding the Right Fake Snakes

For a fake snake to be effective, it should be as realistic as possible and should look like a type of snake found in your area. Rat snakes, for instance, are found all across the Eastern and Central portions of the United States, and they're mostly black, so any black fake snake, such as a flexible rubber toy snake, works as a bird deterrent in those regions.

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Look for a fake snake that's easy to wiggle and reposition. If it's too stiff, it probably won't work for long since it will be in exactly the same position from day to day. Toy snakes often do quite well and they don't cost much, so you may want to buy a few to place them in several areas of the garden or in all the areas where the nuisance birds congregate. Try to find a fake snake that's similar in size to an adult version of the snakes found in your area. A toy snake that's the size of a pencil won't do much good, but if the mouth of the snake looks big enough to ingest bird eggs, it's a good choice.

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Placing the Fake Snakes

Put the snake within a couple of feet of the problem area where birds are a nuisance. For instance, if they're climbing through a blueberry bush, put the snake where it's easy for a bird to spot it in or on the bush. Wrap the snake around a visible area of a tree trunk if you're trying to keep the birds off a young tree, for instance, since some snakes hang out in trees. A bit of floral wire or fishing line helps secure the snake.

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Move the fake snake or snakes around every couple of days, but within the same area for maximum effectiveness. If the fake snake is long enough, secure part of it to an area like a tree branch and leave part of it dangling so even a slight breeze will move it. Add another snake or two if one isn't doing the job. In some cases, adding another item that moves in a breeze, such as a flag or a pinwheel, helps deter birds.

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