TULSA, Okla. — The sight of snakes can send a chill up your spine.
As gardeners get outside to tend to their plants, they can run into snakes, mice and spiders that made their home in those piles of leaves during the cold winter.
Nancy Hauger spent the afternoon cleaning up the leaves from her yard, mostly so they don't blow into her neighbor's yard.
Other Oklahoma gardeners haven't been so lucky.
Native snakes, that don't feel or hear anyone coming, caught off guard, mostly strike when they're scared.
"You never know where snakes are going to be,” Master Gardener John Mowry said. “Again, most are not poisonous, they are beneficial."
The operative word there being "most".
Master Gardeners at the OSU Extension Office say there are 46 varities of snakes in Oklahoma. Seven of them are venomous.
The pros say there's a lot you can do to keep snakes from even feeling welcome in your yard, months before spring comes.
Clean up leaves in flower beds in the fall, maintain your compost piles so mice – a perfect food for snakes – don't live in them.
Same goes for water features. Clean them out so there are no surprises when you stick your hand down in there.
And before you start working in a garden bed, stomp your feet and clap your hands to give snakes a heads up, you're coming through.
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