You’re walking through your garden, the tomatoes are growing quickly and as you go to pick one off of the vine, you hear something rustling through the grass. The sun is shining, and the birds are whistling, but as you turn to look at what must be a chipmunk, the noise turns out to be a snake.
The tomato in your hand falls to the ground as you run the other way.
If this sounds like you, chances are you want to know how to keep snakes away. After all, snakes really have little purpose in your yard, but they do eat mice, which is a benefit. The good news is that we’re going to show you how to keep snakes out of your yard using a variety of repellents and deterrents.
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But before we go the repellent and deterrent route, let’s take a look at what’s attracting snakes in the first place.
Table of Contents
What attracts snakes, and how to stop inviting them?
The best natural snake repellent you can possibly have is not having the perfect yard for them to thrive in. Reptiles are a lot like humans – they go where food and water is located. If you live near a stream or lake, snakes have every reason to make your yard their home.
But this doesn’t mean you need to create a snake habitat.
Snakes love to:
- Live in damp and cool places.
- Live near streams.
- Sneak into garage walls or retaining walls.
- Live in wooded areas.
There’s a reason why snakes always seem to show themselves under your porch or in debris piles – it’s where they thrive. A fast and easy way to let snakes know they’re not welcome is to:
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- Clear any debris in your yard.
- Clear away leaf piles.
- Clear away wood piles.
And if you love to water your yard often and keep sprinklers running routinely, this, too, can attract snakes. Reducing the amount of times, you water the yard will help to lessen the amount of snakes that want to scare the life out of you.
Control the food supply
What keeps snakes away? Not having food. Snakes are resilient, and they can go weeks without eating, but they’ll become hungry and go on a search for food eventually. The good news is that this is the ample opportunity to get rid of them.
You need to eliminate their food supply – or lessen it.
A few of the steps you can take to achieve this are:
- Rats and Mice: Try your best to rid your yard of all rodents. Traps can help to reduce the rodent population and will work well to keep snakes away.
- Reptiles: Frogs are a tasty snack, so if possible, try to lessen the number of frogs in the area.
- Birds: If a bird lands in the wrong spot, a snake will snatch onto it and eat it. Remove bird feeders and nesting boxes from near the house.
It’s implausible for you to remove all of the food sources for a snake, but they’ll want to go someplace where there is an abundance of food available. If your yard has food and shelter readily available, there really is no reason for the snake to leave at this point.
Fix up common issues in the home
If you want to know how to keep snakes away from your house, you should use a mix of repellents (discussed below), but you’ll also want to correct a lot of the common issues around a home that allows snakes to enter your walls.
The garage is the prime spot where snakes enter, so fix and repair any holes where snakes can enter.
Roof holes that lead into an attic, for example, can cause snakes to enter the home, too. Inspect and repair any drywall issues. Snakes love to find their way into drywall as it’s a dark, cool place where they don’t need to worry about any predators coming their way.
I see a lot of people saying that snakes are harmless, and this is true for the most part.
But your kitten you love so much can be prey, and if you see a rattlesnake, the last thing you want to do is sit and admire the snake’s markings. While a lot of snakes really pose no danger to you, there are others that are poisonous and can be deadly if not for a rapid trip to the emergency room.
Small garden snakes are harmless; others can be deadly.
The last thing I recommend is waiting to find out if a snake is poisonous or not.
5 Snake repellents and deterrents
If you’ve taken measures (according to our recommendations above) to eliminate snakes, you’ve taken a big step in the right direction. But some snakes don’t want to go away. You also can’t kill every rodent and reptile in the area without major work on your part.
And unless you can control the weather, there is only so much that can be done to ensure your yard isn’t damp.
Snake deterrents will work to keep snakes away while you take care of all the other issues discussed. I always recommend a repellent and taking the measures above to take a three-pronged approach to eliminating your snake problem.
What deters snakes?
1. Mothballs are key
If you think back hard, I bet you’ll remember your grandmother placing moth balls inside of dresser drawers. These small balls are the best snake repellent, and they’re so readily available that it only makes sense to start repelling snakes with them.
Mothballs and snakes don’t coexist well.
What mothballs do is irritate the snake, and they will want nothing to do with the mothballs as a result.
You can then use these mothballs by doing the following:
- Placing them in areas where you notice snakes.
- Placing them around the yard.
Some people will even mix these balls with cat litter and mash them together before placing it around the yard. I’ve found this to cause more of a mess than anything else.
Note: Mothballs are effective versus some snakes, and do little to deter others. You’ll also want to keep these balls away from children and pets.
2. Sulfur for snakes
You can buy sulfur online in pellet form that will be able to repel snakes. This is the same ingredient found in many commercial products, and when used properly, it will keep snakes from coming around.
The goal is to get the snake to go through the line of sulfur.
So, how do you do this?
- Place the sulfur around the perimeter of the yard.
- Place the sulfur near any potential entryways.
If you know the snake is getting into your home through a hole in the garage, you’ll want to repair the hole, but you can also place sulfur in front of the hole, too.
The sulfur will not repel the snake due to its smell or anything like that.
Snakes need to slither through the sulfur, which will then begin to irritate its skin. The snake will not want to repeat the process as a result, deterring it from crossing over the sulfur line again.
But I do have a word of caution: the snake will be agitated.
Sulfur may repel snakes, but they’ll be fired up and more likely to be aggressive when they’re irritated.
You may hear some people stating that sulfur doesn’t work and is just a myth for repelling snakes, but others swear by this method. It’s likely to work against some snakes and not others, so use this method along with another repellents or deterrents for the best results. A lot of people also swear by the potency of sulfur as a repellent.
3. Commercial products
There are commercial snake products and snake sprays that can help keep snakes at bay. A quick search for “snake repellent Lowes” will lead you to a lot of great products that have been tested by numerous people and work effectively.
A few things you want to do before using a commercial snake repellent is:
- Safety: Chemicals can be deadly to animals, kids and adults. Read any and all safety instructions, and try to understand, which products are safe to use on your lawn.
- Lawn Usage: If you’re like me, you take pride in your lawn. Chemicals can stain the lawn you love so much, so make sure that the spray will not cause damage to your green lawn.
Two repellents that have been touted as working very well are:
- T’s Snake-A-Way: A product that is shown to have a 91% repellent rate. Made from 7% naphthalene and 28% sulfur, this product disrupts the snake’s sensory reception and repels them without actually killing them.
- Bonide Snake Stopper: All-natural ingredients allow you to spray this spray on lawns, wood piles and in gardens. You can even use this spray in your home.
If you want to know how to repel snakes, look no further than these products. The great thing is that there are a slew of other products that work well, too.
The one thing I recommend is to read snake repellent reviews to ensure that you choose a product that others have used with success to keep snakes away. The last thing you want to do is buy a product that doesn’t work – at all.
4. Plants that repel snakes
There is a lot of talk about certain plants repelling snakes. The problem is that none of these plants have been scientifically proven to deter snakes. This doesn’t mean that they don’t work well, but it does mean that either no studies were done, or few studies have been done using the right plants.
One plant that has been said to work by a lot of homeowners is: marigolds.
Marigolds are a beautiful plant, too. Red and yellow in color, this plant can be added to any garden or even in your landscaping to add a spice of color. The marigold flower is beautiful, too.
As an added bonus, this plant has been shown to repel mosquitos.
5. Cinnamon oil and clove oil
You can make your own homemade snake repellent that can be used as a spray and is very effective. Reports indicate that the Department of Agriculture actually uses this method to repel snakes, so you know that there is some validity behind the claim.
All you need to do is:
- Place one gallon of water into a bucket
- Mix 4 – 8 drops of each oil together
- Add the spray to a bottle
You can then start to spray away at your heart’s content. Homemade and safe, this mixture can be used all around the outside and inside of the home – it smells good, too.
The idea behind adding the oil to water is to dilute it, but if you find it’s not working well, you may need to use less water – trial and error works well.
Bonus: the cotton ball method.
Maybe you’d rather not make a spray and spend the entire day spraying your yard. If this sounds like you, you’ll be happy to know that you can soak cotton balls in the same oils and place them strategically inside and outside of the home.
The nice thing about the cotton ball method is that it has a higher potency than diluting the mixture, and works well for a lot of homeowners.
If you’re looking for something specific, such as a rattlesnake repellent, you’ll be pleased to know that all of the methods above work well for rattlesnakes, too. No one likes to hear a rattlesnake in their garden or yard, and if you seem to be overrun with them, you may be able to contact pest control to get them removed as a last ditch option.
The best way to get rid of snakes is to ensure you do your best to make your home and yard a place they don’t want as a habitat. Once you’ve done this – and mowed the lawn – move on to the five natural repellents discussed above. Also, a deeply planted fence may keep snakes away from your yard, but it needs to be a solid fence to work effectively.