There are venomous snakes where I live and I don’t like the idea of snakes being on my property or campsite. No one wants to share their sleeping bag with a snake!
However, I also don’t want to harm them or the surrounding wildlife.
Luckily, there are a variety of natural essential oils that actually work well to repel snakes. In fact, did you know that a lot of the commercial snake repellents actually use natural ingredients to repel snakes?
Essential oils that actually repel snakes include cedarwood, cinnamon, sage and cloves. Rosemary, lemon, peppermint, citronella and basil essential oils are also effective against snakes.
If you want to use essential oils as a snake repellent, it’s a good idea to understand which ones are most effective and how to use them correctly.
How Essential Oils Work To Repel Snakes
You may remember from high school biology that snakes actually smell using their mouth. They have a hyper-sensitive smell sensor called “jacobson's organ” in their mouth.
When they flick their tongue it gathers chemicals from the air and then the Jacobson's organ can smell the chemicals once the tongue goes back it's it's mouth.
Snakes are very sensitive to certain smells and certain intense smells can overwhelm their senses and they'll avoid them.
If you've ever taken a big whiff of garlic, vinegar, peppermint or some other smell and had to pull back because it was so intense then you'll know the feeling.
These essential oils work to repel snakes in a similar way. They produce smells that snakes don't like or that are overwhelming for the snake and cause the snake to avoid the area.
However, the most effective snake repellent is always removing habitat or vegetation so they have no where to hide as well as controlling rodents and other small animals so they have no food source.
Combine this with essential oils to deter almost any snake.
These essential oils can be used around your home or even when camping to keep snakes out of your campsite.
Cinnamon is one of the most effective essential oils to repel snakes due to its powerful spicy smell that can easily overwhelm a snake’s sensitive sense of smell.
It’s also a very versatile snake deterrent because it comes in various forms:
- Essential oils
- Ground powder
- Commercially prepared repellents
For cinnamon to be effective against snakes, sprinkle or spray it around your property or campsite’s perimeter.
The Pufado Snake repellent balls from Amazon contain essential oils like cinnamon oil as well as other essential oils on this list as a simple way to repel snakes without harming them.
Snake Repellents are able to repel copperheads, rattlesnake, cottonmoth and other breeds of snakes. They contain a scent that the snakes hate, providing barrier for your yard and home effectively.
The effect lasts for 2-3 months and is rain resistant and sun proof
Cloves is usually combined with cinnamon essential oil (and sometimes cedar) when used as a snake repellent.
It can be tedious and expensive trying to combine all 3 essential oils but if you want a premixed product, you could always buy one in bulk.
Ortho Snake B Gone from Amazon is a great choice and contains the following essential oils:
This ready-to-use formula can cover approximately 1,440 sq. ft. per bottle and acts as a snake repellent to prevent them entering the area, nesting and foraging. Has a 'no-stink' formula and is long lasting up to 30 days.
If you want to make your essential oil solution last longer once you’ve applied it, add a tablespoon of epsom salts to the bottle.
If you have a rodent problem on your property, you’re inviting snakes to enter because they hunt rats and mice. An excellent way to keep snakes away is to repel rodents and if you’re looking one that doubles as a snake deterrent, peppermint oil is a great option.
To use peppermint oil as a repellent, you can spray it neat around your property or campsite’s perimeter or use a readymade one.
Rodent Sheriff from Amazon contains concentrated peppermint oil and will also help you control ants, cockroaches and racoons. You also won’t have to buy a separate spray bottle because it’s easy to apply.
Made with all natural peppermint oil this is safe to use around pets and children but rodents hate it. Made locally in the USA spray this in your home or garden to repel mice, raccoons, roaches, insects, snakes and more.
Alternatively, you could plant peppermint in your backyard, and harvest it to use in salads and as a seasoning.
Rosemary is a good snake deterrent but, like cloves, it’s best used with another essential oils as it’s not entirely effective on its own.
Rosemary essential oil pairs well with spice and citrus-based essential oils, such as:
If you don’t feel like applying rosemary essential oil every few days, you could always plant rosemary around your home’s perimeter alongside other snake-repelling plants.
- Mother-in-law’s tongue
Snakes can detect the essential oil’s strong scent in the plant and will be unlikely to move through the plant.
You can also add lavender essential oil to your snake-repellent mixture if you find it too overpowering.
Lemon is another strong scent that snakes don’t like. With its pleasant scent, many people use it in creative ways to repel snakes, such as:
- Adding it to cleaning detergent when cleaning outdoor furniture or paving.
- Using it as a pest repellent on plants.
- Placing it in an essential oil burner when outdoors.
Snakes also hate the smell of white vinegar and you can combine this with lemon essential oil for outdoor cleaning or as a powerful snake repellent.
White vinegar helps keeps bugs away, making it great to use when camping or hiking.
Citronella essential oil comes from the lemongrass plant and has a potent scent that snakes hate. It also has the benefit or repelling annoying bugs (like flies and mosquitoes), making it fantastic to take with on camping trips.
You can buy citronella as an essential oil in small bottles but it’s also marketed and used in other formats, including:
- Lantern oil (which is odorless, often comes in large bottles and doesn’t emit smoke)
- Candles (great for using on your patio on summer evenings)
- Diffusers (for repelling insects in the home)
An example of a great citronella product are these large outdoor candles from Amazon. They each have 3 wicks and come in a durable tin container to make it easy to take with you on camping trips.
For a more permanent deterrent, consider planting lemongrass in your backyard.
100% soy wax citronella candles can emit refreshing plant aroma and help to keep away pests. Featuring 3 wicks and a 100 hour burning time.
Cedarwood essential oil has a mild, woody and slightly smoky scent that most humans find pleasant. However, snakes find it unappealing and the high phenol content drives them away.
To use cedarwood essential oil as a snake repellent, pour some into a spray bottle and treat the perimeter of your backyard or campsite. You can also add in fresh lime juice (another substance that snakes don’t like).
You can buy cedarwood oil from health food stores or online. This cedarcide outdoor bug control concentrate from Amazon will help to keep away ticks and ants but can also work for snakes. It's made from essential oils which makes it a great natural product to use.
Insect control concentrate handcrafted from pure cedarwood essential oil. Designed for use on lawns, trees, shrubbery, and other outdoor spaces.
Kills and helps repel fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, mites, and ants.
Alternatively, you can use cedarwood shavings and scatter them around your backyard to repel snakes.
Protect your lawn from harmful pests without endangering your family or pets. Cedar Insect Repelling Granules are ready-to-use 100% Pure Cedar Tree Shavings that keep out fleas, mosquitoes, mites, ticks and ants without harmful chemicals or Toxins.
Another essential oil that snakes avoid is basil. Many people combine basil with cloves essential oil and spray it around their campsite or yard to repel snakes.
However, you can also combine it with peppermint and oregano essential oils so you can also keep rodents away.
If you don’t feel like continuously treating your yard, you could always plant basil for a hands-off approach and then harvest it to season your food.
Sage essential oil is well-known for its strong antiseptic scent and ability to keep snakes away.
Since it grows prolifically throughout the US and doesn’t require a lot of maintenance, it’s worth planting some in your backyard to keep snakes away.
You can buy sage plants from garden centers or grow them from seed. The seeds are widely available for sale online or at nurseries.
Sage is a lovely herb that is widely used for culinary purposes to impart a wonderful flavor to meat dishes, dressings, sauces, mixed herb seasonings, and teas.
Gaea’s Blessing is based in Illinois, USA. They are committed to promoting sustainable growing methods.
However, you can also use the essential oil as a snake repellent by placing it in a spray bottle and using it alone or combined with other snake repelling essential oils.
This works well to repel snakes when camping.