BRANDON -- A spike in garter snake calls has subsided after a one-week respite from one of the coldest winters on record.
David Lane, manager of Poulin’s Pest Control in Brandon, said the company fielded an unusual number of calls from homeowners about the small snakes last week as temperatures climbed to near double-digits.
A return to frigid temperatures has quelled the slithering serpents for now.
"This is not a snake epidemic," Lane said, adding he’s received calls from people who suffer from ophidiophobia, the fear of snakes, who are concerned.
Garter snakes are a protected species, according to Lane.
He said they usually field calls to remove the snakes in late April and early May.
"They don’t do any harm and they’re more beneficial than they are a nuisance," Lane said. "They help control crickets, grasshoppers, frogs and mice to some extent. They are their own form of pest control."
However, with snow on the ground and frigid temperatures, those food sources aren’t available, forcing the snakes into basements where they can find both food and warmth.
"They’re a fragile animal as in needing the warmth to regulate their body temperature," Lane said.
Calls are also starting to pick up for mice, ants and other critters.
While there are a number of measures you can take to help prevent the animals from getting into your home, Lane said it is almost impossible to completely protect yourself.
"They get in from every possibility you can think of — high and low. They will find a way."