It’s springtime in Florida and there’s more popping up than just azalea blossoms. March is when you can expect to start seeing snakes moving from their winter quarters to warmer-weather haunts. Welcome these “slender fellows in the grass” to your yards and gardens. They will help get rid of all sorts of garden pests, and they really are your garden allies.

Each spring snakes are on the move. Then again around October you’ll probably start seeing them move back to higher-drier locations for the winter. But most of the time these gardening pals keep to themselves and you probably won’t even notice them. Garter snakes (above right), eastern black racers (below) and the charming pale green rough snake are the snakes most-often seen. These harmless, helpful snakes far outnumber the poisonous ones. But to be sure you know what you are dealing with, consult a good reptile guide. When in doubt, give any snake you cannot recognize—plenty of room—advice that you are probably already following.