University of Maryland Extension

June Wildlife Tips

man holding black snake

(More tips from HGIC)

  • This is snake mating season, their most active time of year. Snakes are beneficial creatures and should not be harmed. The most likely encountered large snake is the black rat snake.  It can grow to be about 5 feet long and is found in both rural and suburban areas.

  • Snakes in the garden help control insect and rodent pests. It is very unlikely that you will encounter copperheads or timber rattlesnakes in your landscape. These are the only two venomous snakes in Maryland.  Some harmless snakes, like corn snakes and hog-nosed snakes, have similar coloration as copperheads.  To prevent snake entry into structures seal up holes, cracks, and crevices around the foundation. Remove stacks of firewood, excessive mulch, and weeds close to the home. 
  • This also the season for many species of turtles to be moving about looking for egg-laying sites.  Occasionally, large female snapping turtles (video) are found in the home landscape laying eggs. Simply leave them alone. Keep small children and pets away from them as snappers can inflict a very painful bite.

  • Many bird species are lively singers when establishing and maintaining territories. If you hear birds singing at night, it is most likely the Northern Mockingbird. They tend to be males that have not found a mate. Mockingbirds have the ability to imitate other birds’ songs.

  • Keep bird feeders and bird baths clean and provide your wild birds with fresh water.

  • Woodpeckers may be heard tapping on wooden structures. This may be territorial behavior or active searching for insects. They prefer soft woods like cedar. Dissuade persistent woodpeckers by tacking up some hardware cloth over the area. Small trees may be protected from woodpecker damage by draping nylon netting over the canopy and trunk. Protect branches and trunks of larger trees by loosely wrapping ¼ inch hardware cloth or burlap around them.

  • Prevent deer from feeding on garden and landscape plants, by applying a repellent, such as “Deer-Away”, “Liquid Fence”, “Deer-Off”, “Hinder” or “Ro-Pel” to vulnerable plants.  If deer pressure is heavy, try rotating repellents.  Small deodorant soap bars and other types of repellents are used with some success.  Polywire fencing connected to an inexpensive, solar-powered charger can successfully exclude groundhogs and deer. Grow plants seldom damaged by deer. Refer to (PDF) FS 655 Deer Resistant Ornamentals.
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