Yesterday I found a wounded garden snake which I carried back to my yard and nestled in some leaves, hoping for the best. Since only its head was injured, I guess that someone had tried to kill it, and it always makes me sad to see one of these creatures dead on the sidewalk. We humans have it in our heads that snakes should be killed, but these little reptiles are both harmless (to humans) and beneficial. However, this random destruction can't account for the decrease in garden and grass snakes that I've gradually become aware of. It used to be that I would often unearth these tiny sleeping serpents as I cleaned leaves out of my flower beds in the fall. And toads...they've become even rarer than the snakes. Spring used to bring a host of courting couples to our garden pond, filling night after night with their cacophony; now none come. What can account for it? In the late 1970's when we bought our house in a decaying inner-city neighborhood, using the term "lawn care" would have been derisive. Today trucks regularly pull up to many of our neighbors' homes, and a phalanx of workers descends on the yards, mowing, trimming, pruning, planting, dispensing fertilizer and, quite probably, herbicide and insecticide. Nothing I've read online in some cursory Googling says that these common reptiles and amphibians are endangered, but they've certainly vanished from my yard. What about you other gardeners out there, do you still frequently encounter garden snakes and toads where you live?