how high should snake guards be?

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rbblongview
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2016 6:57 pm
Location: Senoia, Ga

I have metal flange snake guards with netting on each of my three poles. They flange out from the pole and the netting is within the flange. One of guards is about 3 1/2 feet off the ground and the other two are about 5 feet off the ground. Last year a snake was long enough to go over the 3 1/2 foot flange. Does it matter how high the guards are off the ground?I would assume no snake guard is 100% proof but I wondered if the lower one was more vulnerable than the higher ones.
Louise Chambers
Site Admin
Posts: 6208
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2003 1:07 pm
Location: Corpus Christi, TX

Could you share a photo of the guards? not sure what you mean by flange, flange out. Usually it's recommended that the top of guard is not less than 4 ft above ground, but that is to stop larger raccoons. The snakes that raid martin systems & other bird houses are usually rat snakes, and they can extend about 2/3rds of their length, using last 3rd as support. So a 6 ft snake could extend up about 4 ft.
flyin-lowe
Posts: 2936
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 8:49 am
Location: Indiana/Henry Co.

Im sure someone can find it quicker then me but years ago there was a picture posted on here from the internet showing a snake on the ground "reaching" up pas the top of a predator guard, it was impressive to see what they can actually do.
2020 Currently 42 nest, 110 babies, 64 eggs left to hatch(6-22-20) HOSP count-8
2019- 31 Pair over 100 fledged
2018- 15 pair last count 49 fledged
2017 3 SY pair nested, 12 eggs total, fledged 10. 4 additional SY's stayed all summer but never paired/nested.
2016 1 pair fledged 4
2015 Visitors
2014 Visitors
2013 Moved 6 miles away, 1 pair fledged 2.
2012 30 pair fledged 100.
2011 12 pair (11 that nested), 43 fledged.
2010 5 pair, 21 eggs, 16 hatched, 14 fledged.
rbblongview
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2016 6:57 pm
Location: Senoia, Ga

Thank you. Your answer about the snakes' abilities to bypass the guards helps me better understand their capabilities. Sorry I can't provide a picture. My guard is made of 4-sided metal plates (I called flanges) which widen out as they angle down and away from the wooden pole. This provides a hollow space in which I have the netting. I have caught MANY snakes in the past; however, one day last year, I saw one on top of the pole. It had bypassed the guard. Luckily, I pulled it down with a rake.
Louise Chambers
Site Admin
Posts: 6208
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2003 1:07 pm
Location: Corpus Christi, TX

flyin lowe, I know the photo you mean, and want to mention one thing - that guard is not high enough on pole, way too low. Yes, larger snakes can bypass guards that are placed higher, and they climb using seams in guards, rivet heads, latches, hinges - all the stuff we need to make the guards removable works against us.

I see lots of photos where guards are not going to stop raccoons or snakes, because they are not placed high enough on pole. Placing them below rope winders or winches usually means they will be too low, that is, with top less than 4 ft above ground.
deancamp
Posts: 412
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2016 9:17 pm
Location: Raymore, MO

Just a thought, how about the netting above the guard as a second line of defense.
rbblongview
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2016 6:57 pm
Location: Senoia, Ga

I'm afraid a Martin or a fledgling might accidentally get caught in it. Anyone every have that happen?!?
rbblongview
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2016 6:57 pm
Location: Senoia, Ga

I'm afraid a Martin or a fledgling might accidentally get caught in it. Anyone every have that happen?!?
flyin-lowe
Posts: 2936
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 8:49 am
Location: Indiana/Henry Co.

I would guess far more martins are and will be killed by snakes then martins that die from getting tangled in the netting.
2020 Currently 42 nest, 110 babies, 64 eggs left to hatch(6-22-20) HOSP count-8
2019- 31 Pair over 100 fledged
2018- 15 pair last count 49 fledged
2017 3 SY pair nested, 12 eggs total, fledged 10. 4 additional SY's stayed all summer but never paired/nested.
2016 1 pair fledged 4
2015 Visitors
2014 Visitors
2013 Moved 6 miles away, 1 pair fledged 2.
2012 30 pair fledged 100.
2011 12 pair (11 that nested), 43 fledged.
2010 5 pair, 21 eggs, 16 hatched, 14 fledged.
deancamp
Posts: 412
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2016 9:17 pm
Location: Raymore, MO

I just put netting over my guards so i can't speak to experience. That being said I can't imagine they would get caught up in the netting with it being wrapped around the pole.
jasalva
Posts: 73
Joined: Mon Mar 17, 2014 3:54 pm
Location: DE/Milton

I had Martins in a previous location for years and never had a problem with snakes. This new location is another matter. I had water at both locations. Last year we had a real problem with black snakes. We had the guards and netting on our setup. We check the gourds every 5 - 7 days and record activity. Two gourds who had 5 eggs, maybe just already hatched, now were empty. It was moments later that the snake came out of another gourd. We took him away to a field 1/4 mile away and he returned. This time we added netting to the bottom of pole and we caught him when he returned. The rest of the year went smoothly. I would recommend using netting under and above predator guards especially if you are in a snake prone area. If I invite birds to our home, I want them to be safe and secure; it is my responsibility e as landlord.
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