Do snakes sometimes visit your home?
Or stop by to hang out in your yard?
Those are usually the reasons people ask about snake repellents.
If you’ve ever been startled by a snake on your own property, you’ve certainly looked into ways of keeping them out.
And snake repellents are a common suggestion.
But does snake repellent work, or is it more like those pheromone sprays they sell to desperate men hoping to attract (usually also desperate) women?
Keep reading to learn how effective snake repellents are, along with some alternative courses of action to prevent snakes from stopping by your property.
Table of Contents
- 1 Do Snake Repellents Work?
- 1.1 The Problem With Snake Repellents
- 1.2 Most Effective Smells For Repelling Snakes
- 1.3 How To Snake-Proof Your Yard
- 1.4 Chemicals That Kill Snakes Instantly
- 1.5 What To Do If You Encounter A Snake In Your Home
- 1.6 What To Do If You Encounter A Snake In The Wild?
- 2 Does Snake Repellent Work: Final Thoughts
Do Snake Repellents Work?
Unfortunately, most snake repellents do not work. They are basically a waste of money. But there are certain smells that snakes do not like and those can sometimes help keep them away.
If you’re wondering whether snake repellents work, you probably live in a region where snakes are prevalent. Or you may have recently encountered a snake and would prefer not to repeat the experience. Or you have seen signs that a snake lives in your yard or home.
Basically, you’re looking for a way to keep snakes away from you in the future. To help you with that, we’re going to examine why most snake repellents do not work as advertised and give you some alternatives.
We’ll also cover other ways to keep snakes off your property and what you should do if you encounter a snake in the wild.
The Problem With Snake Repellents
Perhaps you recently had a traumatic encounter with a snake and felt utterly defenseless. You didn’t know what you were supposed to do. Now that you are safe, you want to prevent another such encounter in the future.
That led you to snake repellents. They are one obvious solution to this problem. After all, what better way to avoid snakes than to repel them before they aver even get to you?
Unfortunately, the vast majority of commercial snake repellents don’t work. Even the best snake repellents only work for some snakes, but not all. You just end up wasting money on a useless item.
Why They Don’t Work
To better understand why snake repellents don’t work, you must study the ingredients used to make these products. Snake repellents usually contain chemicals, along with compounds like sulfur, clove, vinegar, and cinnamon oil.
Many say that these substances help repel snakes, but there is no scientific evidence to support these baseless claims. That said, substances like onion, cinnamon oil, vinegar, and other natural ingredients have been shown, anecdotally, to help repel snakes.
These items can work on their own, but usually lose their effectiveness when included in a commercial repellent along with various chemicals and other ingredients.
Snakes are sensitive to smell and dislike the scent of these substances. That is why these natural snake repellents could help keep them away. But they don’t work 100% of the time. Snakes dislike them, but could decide to approach anyway.
And different snakes have different levels of aversion to the same smells. Nevertheless, some of these natural items are worth a try. Let’s take a look at the ones that have proven most effective.
Most Effective Smells For Repelling Snakes
Many people have found effective natural home remedies to keep snakes out of their homes and gardens.
Some of these remedies can be very effective at repelling snakes. This is because snakes are highly sensitive to smell and most have a strong dislike of these overpowering scents.
Onions And Garlic
Garlic and onions contain a substance called sulfonic acid. This is the same substance that makes us cry when we’re chopping onions. You can see why it might make it an effective snake repellent.
A good way to give these two a try is to grind them up and mix them with rock salt. This way you can then sprinkle it all around your yard for the best results.
Powdered sulfur gives off a powerful odor, making it an effective means to repel snakes. Many people have reported positive results from using sulfur to repel snakes. Simply sprinkle it around the area you want to protect.
Ammonia has a powerful smell that we humans find very unpleasant. The same goes for snakes, which is why it’s such an excellent snake repellent. Simply pour ammonia around the area from which you want to keep snakes.
The smell of naphthalene is a very good snake irritant. If you’re not familiar with this, it is used to make mothballs. But not everywhere. The EU banned it in 2008 and even China has now made it illegal. The US has set exposure limits, but still allows it. Nevertheless, you may want to view this one as an absolute last resort.
How To Snake-Proof Your Yard
Sprinkling various compounds around your yard may not be something you are comfortable with. Perhaps you have small children or pets and are worried about their health. Or you simply don’t want the smell in your yard.
Whatever the reason, there are alternatives. You can take steps to minimize the likelihood of snakes showing up in your yard. Adopt the following measures to make your home and yard far less attractive to snakes.
Eliminate Hiding Places
Snakes thrive in dark and damp places where they can hide comfortably. Places like wall cracks and crevices inside your home are perfect hiding places for snakes.
Having such locations available can increase the likelihood of snakes entering your home. These are also the type of places where you can find rattlesnake dens or dens of other types of snakes.
You need to make sure there aren’t any cracks and crevices inside your wall. If there are any cracks, fill them up to prevent snakes from entering your home.
If you have a lot of clutter around your yard, you definitely want to eliminate that as much as possible. Anything that can offer a hiding spot for a snake makes your yad more attractive. This can include man made things like old tires, or natural features like bushes.
Keep Your Grass Short
This is related to the previous point. Since snakes thrive in places where they can hide easily, they love yards with tall grass. If you want to make your property less attractive, make sure you keep your grass short.
Remove Water Sources
Snakes often enter yards that have ponds or other water sources, simply so that they can have a drink. Water sources also attract other animals, so they make good hunting grounds.
Remove Food Sources
Snakes love to eat rodents and other small animals. If your property has a lot of small animals on it, you are much more likely to also find snakes there.
To make your yard and home less inviting for snakes, keep it clean to make it less inviting for small animals. If their prey stops hanging out on your property, the snakes will also stop coming.
Chemicals That Kill Snakes Instantly
Just to be clear, we do not advocate killing snakes at all. If none of the natural repellents work and you have a snake problem anyway, we recommend calling a professional to remove them.
On top of that, the type of chemicals that can kill snakes instantly are particularly harmful and can be dangerous even for humans. You need to be very careful when using them.
Despite all of this, we are including this section here for completeness’ sake. But again, we do not recommend killing any snakes. Snakes mean you no harm and they are an important part of the ecosystem (non-native species excepted).
It is also against the law to kill snakes in may states. Virginia is one state where it is illegal to kill snakes, for example, although there is an exception for your property.
Calcium cyanide is one chemical that can kill snakes that are living in burrows and cracks along the walls of your home. Similarly, several harmful gasses can help kill snakes.
You generally need to use such substances in larger amounts over an extended period to kill snakes effectively. Again, it is not a good idea. And unless you know what you are doing, hire a professional!
What To Do If You Encounter A Snake In Your Home
If a snake enters your home, get everyone outside immediately, unless you are 100% sure the snake is harmless. If you have pets at home, be sure to take them with you. Try to be as calm and quiet on your feet as possible. This way, you won’t startle the snake.
Sudden movements can evoke a negative response from the snake, so be sure you’re steady on your feet. Once you’ve gotten everyone out, close all the doors and fill the gap underneath the doors with a towel so the snake can’t leave.
The obvious next step would be to call animal control and tell them there’s a snake in your house. They will remove the snake for you.
If you know the snake is harmless and you are up for it, you could also try to lure the snake out of hiding to remove it on your own. One option is to try and smoke it out.
Since these creatures are very sensitive to smell, smoke can be very irritating for them. Enough smoke will make life unpleasant for the snake and will eventually drive it out of your home or yard.
What To Do If You Encounter A Snake In The Wild?
While you may be able to prevent snakes from wanting to enter your property, there is nothing you can do the keep them out of nature. If you enjoy hiking or otherwise spending time outdoors, there is a chance you will encounter a snake at some point.
That’s why it is important you know what to do if you encounter a snake in the wild. The key, above all, is to remain calm. In most cases, snakes only attack when provoked.
Snakes are generally shy creatures, so they won’t harm you unless you startle them, by making sudden movements or by making them feel cornered.
Stay calm and back away from the snake slowly. Once you are far enough away to no longer be deemed a threat, the snake will be only too happy to relax and go the opposite direction.
Does Snake Repellent Work: Final Thoughts
There are a ton of snake repellents on the market, but none of them work as advertised. A few can be effective at repelling snakes in some situations, but they are never effective in all cases and with all snakes.
There are a number of natural scents you can use to try and repel snakes, but they are also not 100% effective. Usually, the best thing you can do is take steps to make your property less inviting for snakes, and also for small animals like rodents, whose presence attracts snakes.