You are walking through your garden, the tomatoes are growing rapidly and as you go to pick one from the vine, you hear something rustling through the grass. The sun is shining, and the birds are hissing, but as he turns to look at what must be a squirrel, the noise turns out to be a snake.
The tomato in your hand falls to the ground as you run to the other side.
If this sounds like you, you probably want to know how to keep snakes away. After all, snakes really serve little purpose in your yard, but they do eat mice, which is a benefit. The good news is that we are going to show you how to keep snakes out of your yard using a variety of repellants and deterrents.
But before we go the repellant and deterrent route, let’s take a look at what’s attracting snakes in the first place.
What Attracts Snakes, and How to Stop Inviting Them?
The best natural snake repellant you can have is not having the perfect yard for them to thrive in. Reptiles are a lot like humans – they go where food and water are found. If you live near a stream or lake, snakes have every reason to make their home in your yard.
But this does not mean that you need to create a snake habitat.
- Live in humid and cold places.
- Live near the flows.
- Dig into garage walls or retain walls.
- Live in wooded areas.
There’s a reason snakes always seem to show up under your porch or in piles of debris – it’s where they thrive. A quick and easy way to let snakes know they are not welcome is to:
- Clear debris from your yard.
- Clean sheet piles.
- Clean piles of wood.
And if you like to water your yard often and keep the sprinklers running routinely, this can also attract snakes. By reducing the number of times you water the yard will help reduce the number of snakes that want to scare the life out of you.
1. Control the Food Supply
What keeps snakes away? not eat Snakes are hardy, and can go weeks without eating, but eventually they will go hungry and search for food. The good news is that this is ample opportunity to get rid of them.
You have to eliminate their food supply – or decrease it.
Some of the steps you can take to achieve this are:
- Rats and Mice: Do your best to rid your yard of all rodents. Traps can help reduce rodent populations and will work well to keep snakes away.
- Reptiles: Frogs are a tasty snack, so try to reduce the number of frogs in the area if possible.
- Birds: If a bird lands in the wrong place, a snake will snatch it up and eat it. Remove bird feeders and nesting boxes from near the house.
It is unlikely for you to remove all food sources for a snake, but they will want to go somewhere where an abundance of food is available. If your yard has food and shelter readily available, there is really no reason for the snake to leave at this time.
2. Solve Common Problems at Home
If you want to know how to keep snakes out of your home, you’ll want to use a mix of repellents (described below), but you’ll also want to correct many of the common problems in a home that allow snakes into your walls.
The garage is the main place where snakes get in, so fix and repair any holes where snakes can get in.
Roof holes leading to an attic, for example, can also cause snakes to enter the home. Inspect and repair any dry wall problems. Snakes love to find their way to the drywall as it is a cool dark place where they don’t need to worry about any predators approaching.
I see a lot of people saying that snakes are harmless, and this is true for the most part.
But your beloved kitty can be prey, and if you see a rattlesnake, the last thing you want to do is sit back and admire the snake’s markings. Although many snakes don’t really pose any danger to you, there are others that are venomous and can be deadly if not for a quick 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 steps (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 leave. You also can’t kill all the rodents and reptiles in the area without some serious work on your part.
And unless you can control the weather, there’s only so much you can do to ensure your yard isn’t damp.
Snake deterrents will work to keep snakes away while you take care of all the other topics discussed. I always recommend a repellant and taking the steps above to take a three-pronged approach to eliminating your snake problem.
What deters snakes?
1. Mothballs are the Key
If you think hard, I bet you remember your grandmother placing moth balls inside dresser drawers. These little balls are the best snake repellant, and they are so readily available that it only makes sense to start repelling snakes with them.
Mothballs and snakes do not coexist well.
What the 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 snakes are noticed.
- Placing them around the patio.
Some people even mix these balls up with their cat litter and chew them together before placing them around the yard. I have found this to cause more clutter than anything else.
Note: Coal balls are effective against 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 which will be able to repel snakes. This is the same ingredient found in many commercial products, and when used correctly it will prevent snakes from roaming.
The goal is for the snake to pass through the brimstone line.
So how is this done?
- Place the sulfur around the perimeter of the patio.
- Place the brimstone near any possible entrance.
If you know the snake is getting into your house through a hole in the garage, you’ll want to patch the hole, but you can also place brimstone in front of the hole.
The sulfur won’t repel the snake because of its smell or anything.
The snakes need to slide through the sulfur, which will then start to irritate their skin. The snake will not want to repeat the process as a result, dissuading it from crossing the brimstone line again.
But I have a word of caution: the snake will stir.
Sulfur can repel snakes, but they will be fired up and more likely to be aggressive when irritated.
You may hear some people say that sulfur doesn’t work and is just a myth to repel snakes, but others swear by this method. It may work against some snakes and not others, so use this method in conjunction with other repellents or deterrents for best results. Many people also swear by the power of sulfur as a repellant.
3. Commercial Products
There are commercial snake products and snake sprays that can help keep snakes at bay. A quick search for “Lowes Snake Repellent” will bring you to a host of great products that have been tested by numerous people and work effectively.
Some things you want to do before using a commercial snake repellent are:
- Safety: Chemicals can be deadly to animals, children and adults. Read all of the safety instructions and try to understand which products are safe to use on your lawn.
- Lawn Use: If you’re anything like me, you take pride in your lawn. The chemicals can stain the grass you love so much, so make sure the spray won’t cause damage to your green grass.
Two repellents that have been found to work very well are: Snake-A-Way from
- The Serpent is a Form – a product shown to have a 91% repellency rate. Made from 7% naphthalene and 28% sulfur, this product disrupts the snake’s sensory input and repels them without actually killing them.
- Onid Snake Plug: Natural ingredients allow you to spray this spray on lawns, woodpiles, 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 good thing is that there are plenty of other products that work well too.
My only recommendation is to read snake repellent reviews to make sure you choose a product that others have used successfully 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 that repel snakes. The problem is that none of these plants have been scientifically proven to deter snakes. This doesn’t mean they don’t work well, but it does mean that no or few studies have been done using the right plants.
One plant that many homeowners have said works 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 landscape to add a spice of color. The gold flower is beautiful, too.
As an added bonus, this plant has been shown to repel mosquitoes.
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 there is some validity behind the claim.
All you need to do is:
- Put a gallon of water in a bucket
- Mix 4 – 8 drops of each oil
- Add the spray to a bottle
You can then start spraying to your heart’s content. Homemade and safe, this mix can be used all over the outside and inside of the house – it smells good, too.
The idea behind adding the oil to the water is to dilute it, but if you find that doesn’t work well, you may need to use less water – trial and error works fine.
Bonus : the cotton ball method.
Maybe you’d rather not do a spray and spend all 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 strategically place them inside and outside your home.
The nice thing about the cotton ball method is that it has a higher potency to dilute the mixture, and it works well for many homeowners.
If you’re looking for something specific, like a rattlesnake repellant, you’ll be glad to know that all of the above methods work well for rattlesnakes, too. Nobody likes to hear a rattlesnake in their garden or yard, and if you seem to be overloaded with them, you may be able to contact pest control to get them out as a last ditch option.
The best way to get rid of snakes is to make sure you do everything you can to make your home and yard a place they don’t want for habitat. Once you’ve done this – and mowed your lawn – move on to the five natural repellents discussed above. Also, a deeply planted fence can keep snakes out of your yard, but it needs to be a solid fence to work effectively.