Snakes are part of nature that many people bristle at. They prefer to not know that snakes are about, or how they are useful in the garden. The question is what type of snake do you want to have sunning itself between the rows of vegetables. The simple answer is snakes that are not poisonous.
In our region of the Appalachian, only two types of snakes are poisonous: timber rattle snakes and copperheads. We have only see the former around our cabin, though we have talked with people down the valleys who report seeing the copperheads. Furthermore, the timber rattle snakes nest on the top of the mountain where there are lots of rocks for dens. We see them only in dry summers, when they come down looking for water.
Of course, snakes are also looking for food, which brings them to our garden. Vegetables, soft soil and rock walls make for happy rodents. Rodents make for happy snakes. Fortunately, happy snakes usually have full abdomens, and therefore are less inclines to bite us when we cross paths. We are happy when the mice, voles, and chipmunks (sorry, they are just cute mice) are not nibbling on our tomatoes, cucumbers, and squash. Thus, we accept the black snakes, rat snakes, and garter snakes around our garden, but have negotiated a truce with the rattle snakes, “I’ll leave you alone, if you’ll leave us alone”.
I came across this rat snake which was lounging in the road earlier this summer. It did not want to leave its sunny slumber. After taking some photos (with a telephoto lens), I drove around it.