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Permaculture and poisonous snakes.

 
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Hello, my wife and I live in Thailand on just over an acre and we have been applying permaculture principles.

I am quite determined to begin cover cropping around my trees and adding some dense forage, but my wife has brought up many concerns mainly over the large amount of dangerous snakes in our area. About 1/3 of our land is allocated to rice field and some bananas in between, leaving us not too much room to allocate to nature. Even a simple idea as polycultures or composts seem to add some danger to our garden, which is located not farm away from the house.

Our area has massive king cobras, and many other types of venomous snakes. So I guess my question is how can I avoid a tightly trimmed lawn, a mono-culture garden, and also prevent my wife from dying when entering the garden.
 
pollinator
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Location: Lehigh Valley, PA zone 6b
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Wow.
I have nothing useful to say, other than that you’ve really put my problems with slugs into perspective.

Mongoose army?
 
master pollinator
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Location: southern Illinois.
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Cobra huh!!! And to think, I was impressed today when my Border Collie corralled a Copperhead today near our chicken coop.
 
pollinator
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Location: Central Texas zone 8a, 800 chill hours 28 blessed inches of rain
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Brendan,

What are the natural predators for Cobras?  Is it possible to keep geese or other large fowl on your property?  

We have a problem with Rattlesnakes.  We encourage Kingsnakes to live in the area, since they eat pit vipers.  What eats cobras that you could live with having on the property, especially as another layer of production in the permiculture pyramid?  
 
pollinator
Posts: 945
Location: New Brunswick, Canada
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Now's probably a good time to consider raising the amount of life insurance you have on your wife...  
 
pollinator
Posts: 3095
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
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Cover crop nitrogren fixing plants doesn't have to only be 9inch tall dutch clover.
It can also be 20ft adler or 7ft pigeon pea.

You can plant creeping thyme/mint/etc and still mow them or subterranean clover/straight peanut and mow it.

You can do carbon farming and do pollarding chop and drop.

I dont see why a rice field would be safer than permaculture garden

A permaculture garden also doesn't have to be wild and messy to be functional.

 
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I want to suggest trying to contact Geof Lawton perhaps through his youtube channel? He has techniques for permaculture in different climate types & a farm in australia. I would guess they have to cope with the poisonous reptiles there. He may have ideas of how to cope with that situation.
Does the local government have a wildlife commission of any sort? Are there any zoos or rescue organizations?
Contacting someone in that vein may give you a way forward. Are snakes a protected species there? It maybe illegal to kill them.
Unique problem & very interesting one too.
I will suggest reaching out to another reptile vlogger who may have some suggestions or perhaps contacts to resolve this issue. Channel is Kamp Kenan on youtube.
bol
 
gardener
Posts: 369
Location: Nara, Japan. Zone 8-ish
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Each species of snake will be different in their behavior and life history, so its important to know about each species you may encounter in your area.

There are a good number of venomous snakes here where we are living in Japan. We take general precautions whenever visiting an area that may have snakes:
wear tall boots,
wear pants made of thick material,
make your presence known by walking with heavy steps and using a long stick to rustle bushy areas before approaching or weeding,
carry a flashlight for checking dark or shady areas before approaching.

Most snakes I know of prefer to run away from people if they know people are coming. Snakes will sense the vibrations from heavy footsteps or a prodding stick. If they have made a nest, however, they may choose to attack.

Learn where they like to nest and get rid of possible nesting areas on your property. Learn what prey they like to eat and eliminate their prey from your property. If they eat mice for instance, consider encouraging birds of prey or keeping a cat.


From Okinawa prefecture's guide to Habu (pit viper) prevention: https://www.pref.okinawa.lg.jp/site/hoken/eiken/eisei/minnadedekiruhabutaisaku.html

From the same guide: "snake spray"



As far as I can tell it's just bug spray, but with more distance. You may be able to find something similar, like a long distance hornet spray.

Solid walls or fencing with very small mesh may help. Traps also exist, but are species specific.

 
gardener
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Here in Brazil we have various species of venomous snakes, two or three venomous spider species, and caterpillars that can also kill you.
We incorporate permaculture principles into my small urban homestead, but we are very careful about keeping our yard clear of "junk" (old wood, sheet metal, etc) that makes for great rat/snake habitat. This means using things quickly, not saving things indefinitely, and chipping our brush to make mulch on a regular basis so that it doesn't pile up. We do have mouse and rat problems and try to resolve them quickly so that snakes do not move in and do it for us. I built hugel beds rather than mounds, since I had heard that mounds sometimes make an attractive place for rats to nest, and I stopped using compost piles and instead went with a combination of rabbits and the bokashi bucket. Snakes come in looking for food, so encourage the food to live somewhere else.

If I were you I would talk to locals and see if chickens/geese are effective in keeping snakes away, it seems like it would be the next logical step.
 
pollinator
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Location: Boudamasa, Chad
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I have the same problem. Spitting cobras and several types of viper here in central Africa. So I don't do living ground cover close to the house, just mulch. It's important to not have piles of branches. All branches get buried in garden beds, and I mulch with peanut shells that lays on the ground in a compact sort of way.

Still, we have snakes. My five little kids know to yell for me if they see one. I've killed a few vipers this year, and I've found cobras tracks and molted skin right near our house. But there's a real difference between a snake passing through, and creating snake habitat. If a snake knows you're coming, they don't stick around.

 
Posts: 138
Location: Russia, ~250m altitude, zone 6a, Moscow oblast, in the greater Sergeiv Posad reigon.
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What options do you have? Cats were historically used as a biocontrol for venomous snakes. They were introduced to Cyprus as a gift from the Byzantine Empress. At that time the island was overrun with snakes. The cats got right to work, and the snake population plummeted and left settled areas, where the cats roamed.  Other potential biocontrols: mongooses, king snakes, chickens, geese, ducks, secretory birds, honey badgers, Komodo dragons, eagles. Any of these animals should be useful for killing and chasing away snakes. Some of them are themselves undesirable. Many of them you can buy as domestic animals, and you can attract others with ideal habitat. Another important thing to do is remove snake habitat. If you get them from both directions, predators and habitat removal, and use appropriate safety precautions, you should be able to work in the garden without having to worry about snakes too much.
 
Myron Platte
Posts: 138
Location: Russia, ~250m altitude, zone 6a, Moscow oblast, in the greater Sergeiv Posad reigon.
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 this is a video by Geoff Lawton. He suggests fox terriers and bird perches near dwellings, and to make sure that there’s always somewhere for the snakes to run to. Watch the whole thing. It’s worth it.
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