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Encounters with a snake are rare - even more so in your own garden. That is precisely why you should know how to react correctly in order to avoid the unlikely event of a real confrontation.

In a nutshell

  • Snakes avoid encounters with humans as much as possible
  • the reptiles only attack when they feel threatened
  • loud stomping draws the animals' attention to you and enables them to escape
  • due to species protection concerns, you must not actively take action against bats

Which snake can you meet in the garden?

Overall, it is very rare that you actually encounter snakes in Germany. It is even more unlikely that this encounter will actually take place in the home garden. But once the time has come, most people do not know how to behave properly. First of all, it's worth taking a quick look at which types of snakes you can encounter at all. Because with this knowledge, a large part of the horror can be avoided in advance. Overall, there are probably a good handful of species that are native to us and are available in sufficiently large numbers. Above all:

  • adder
  • grass snake
  • Other snakes, e.g. smooth snake and dice snake

Of these snakes, the adder alone is poisonous at all. This means that the other animals are certainly capable of defending themselves with bites. However, it does not pose a real danger to humans.

Notice: There are other snake species in Germany that are also poisonous. Like the asp viper, for example, they can either only be found regionally to a very limited extent, or are represented in a generally minimal number of individuals.

What am I allowed to do?

Before we get to effective measures, let's take a look at what you can and cannot do from a legal perspective if you encounter a snake in your garden. The information should be sent in advance that all snake species native to Germany are placed under species protection because of their rarity and their ever-declining numbers. That means for you, you are allowed to see the animals

  • don't kill
  • capture
  • or disturb.
grass snake

behave correctly

Instead, there are some basic behaviors to keep in mind for an immediate encounter:

  • stay calm
  • do not move or only move slowly
  • Avoid jerky, hectic movements
  • slowly remove backwards
  • stepping or stamping vigorously when walking


What do you want to achieve with this behavior? To understand this, you need to know the basic nature of a snake. Basically, these animals are initially deaf. This means that loud shouting, whistling or other noises have no effect. Instead, the animals use their smell and their eyesight to orient themselves. Rapid, jerky movements are interpreted by the animals as an attack, so that the probability of an attack as resistance increases. On the other hand, if you slowly remove yourself from the meeting, the snake will have the opportunity to run away as well. The basic need of these creatures is generally to avoid meeting humans if at all possible. If you also step on hard, the vibrations can be felt through the sensitive organs of the snakes. On the one hand, you draw attention to yourself and avoid surprises. On the other hand, it becomes even clearer to the snake that you are removing yourself from the situation.

dice snake

Evict and relocate

You may not approach snakes in the garden directly. However, you can drive them out of your garden in other ways. Whether adder or adder, the animals will settle in your garden if they find suitable shelter and sufficient food there. Both can be found here, for example:

  • pile of leaves
  • compost heap
  • woodpile
  • Dense undergrowth
  • Other protective structures with cavities and gaps

Because in these places both the snake finds a shelter and its prey, i.e. small mammals and insects. If you now remove these bases of life, the snakes will run away in the long run or will not move in at all.

Notice: Ultimately, snakes are clearly beneficial creatures that keep the ecological balance stable. If eviction from the garden is not absolutely necessary, you too will benefit from the presence of the reptiles and should instead try to move possible shelters to less frequented areas of the garden.

frequently asked Questions

What do I do if a snake bites me?

In general, you should definitely consult a doctor. Because even non-toxic animals can sometimes transmit tetanus pathogens. Pay attention to the drawing of the snake skin and tell the doctor. In this way it can be determined whether poison could possibly be involved. Vipers (including the adder) have a distinctive zigzag pattern on their backs. Harmless snakes, on the other hand, usually only have small dots.

Can I destroy snake nests in my garden?

No. Species protection also includes nests and nests of animals in general. Anyone who destroys them is liable to prosecution. Instead, avoid possible nesting sites from the outset, such as piles of wood or piles of leaves.

Does this information also apply to blindworms?

Despite their appearance, slowworms are not snakes. They are among the lizards and are completely harmless even if they are quite large. If you encounter a creep, step aside and give it a chance to crawl into the undergrowth or brush.

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