I know there are many commercial snake repellent products on the market but sometimes I prefer to use natural products or I prefer to save money but using my own home remedies.
There are a variety of home remedies that are effectively able to keep snakes away.
Whether you're camping and want to repel snakes for the night or have an infestation in or around your house these home remedies can help repel snakes and keep your area snake free.
Home remedies to keep snakes away include essential oils, white vinegar, citronella and ammonia. You can also introduce snake-repelling plants in your yard, eliminate rodents and keep vegetation short.
Getting rid of snake hiding places, water sources, sealing entry points and attracting predatory birds or animals can also help repel snakes.
Using DIY remedies to keep snakes away is a good idea but it’s advisable to understand what works and what doesn’t so you don't waste your time and money.
1. Essential Oils
Essential oils have a lot of different claims and I'll be honest and say I don't believe in all of them. However, when it comes to repelling snakes essential oils have actually been proven to work and even commercial snake repellents you buy often contain essential oils to keep the snakes away.
Essential oils have potent scents and snakes hate the smell of certain ones, including:
To use and essential oil as a snake repellent, place it your essential oils in a spray bottle and use it around your campsite or perimeter of your backyard. You can also combine essential oils and use lime juice with them.
An alternative to spraying your backyard or campsite with essential oils is pouring some into the soil or flower beds you know snakes frequent.
You’ll need to repeat this process every few days or after heavy rain as the smell of the essential oils will have dissipated by then. The smell needs to be strong in order to effectively repel the snakes. If it's a weak smell the snakes may not be effected by it.
Although this might be an unsightly solution, you could also fill some plastic containers with your essential oil of choice, poke holes in the lid so the scent can get out and scatter them throughout your property to ward off snakes.
This will provide a longer term solution compared to spraying your plants/perimeter.
If you don’t feel like going to the effort of filling a spray bottle, you can buy readymade essential oil snake repellent like Nisus Snake Repellent from Amazon which contains clove, cinnamon and cedar essential oil.
Snake Out is safe to use in yards, gardens, patios, sheds, woodpiles, around homes, garages, pools, barns and anywhere else snakes are not wanted. It works to repels snakes naturally from any structure.
Contains Cinnamon Oil 0.6%, Clove Oil 0.3%, Cedar Oil 3.1%
2. White Vinegar
Snakes have a highly developed sense of smell and stay away from strong acidic smells like vinegar. This makes vinegar a great way to keep snakes away – at least in the short term. It only works for about a day and needs to be reapplied regularly to be effective.
I like to use white vinegar as a snake repellent when camping because it doubles as a camping stove cleaner and I can also use it as bug spray if I accidentally left mine at home. Though I generally prefer not to smell like vinegar when I can avoid it.
Brown vinegar will also repel snakes but white vinegar has a sharper smell and doesn’t stain lightly-colored surfaces. Brown vinegar also contains more sugar which can attract ants.
To use white vinegar as a snake deterrent, pour it into a spray bottle (don’t dilute it) and use around your yard or campsite border. Since the smell starts dissipating after a day, you’ll need to do this every few days and after each rain shower.
If there are a lot of snakes in the area you may want to apply multiple times per day and I certainly rest easier at night after I've sprayed my perimeter right before bed. That way I don't have to worry about snakes in my tent.
White vinegar isn’t a practical solution for your home because it can get expensive applying it daily but it works well when camping.
Citronella oil comes from the lemongrass plant and has a pleasant citrusy scent that repels snakes. It also repels small insects like flies and mosquitos, making it convenient to use when camping or relaxing in your backyard during the summer.
You can use citronella in 2 ways:
- As an oil. Use it instead of lamp oil for your camping lantern or use it with an essential oil burner.
- As candles. To produce a strong enough scent, use candles that are large enough (like this one from Amazon that has 3 wicks and comes in a durable tin bucket).
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.
If you already use ammonia in your home to clean and disinfect surfaces, you can use it as a snake repellent as well. Snakes hate the strong fumes and smells that ammonia produces and will keep away.
A drawback to using ammonia as a snake repellent is that it’s toxic and you should therefore avoid applying it directly to vegetation. The chemicals in ammonia can cause your plants to die and create health issues in pets or wildlife.
I find that ammonia makes a good snake repellent when camping because you can prepare it before you leave and you don’t have to apply it directly to the surrounding vegetation:
1. Place some paper towels or an old rag in a large ziplock bag and pour some ammonia in. Make sure it saturates the paper towels or rag thoroughly.
2. When you arrive at your campsite, open the bag and place it at the edge of your campsite or place a few around the perimeter of your campsite.
After you've finished camping you can seal up the bags and take them home. I always try to leave the campsite better than I found it.
At home, ammonia can be an effective snake deterrent if you use it alongside other snake repellents. For example, you might consider cleaning your patio or driveway with it and also using a commercial snake repellent or essential oils.
5. Snake-Repelling Plants
Looking for a long-term and hands-off solution for keeping snakes out of your backyard? Why not introduce some plants that repel them?
Snakes have a heightened sense of smell and will avoid certain scents.
These plants contain oils with scents that snakes find unappealing and overwhelming.
Below are some examples of plants that snakes avoid:
- Mother in laws tongue
- Lemongrass (this contains citronella, which snakes hate)
- Pink agapanthus
- Andrographis paniculata
For maximum effectiveness, place these plants around your yard’s perimeter. You can plant them in soil beds or place them in pots.
If you have a snake infestation I would deal with that first using a stronger home made solution or a commercial product and then plant some snake repelling plants to ensure they are discouraged from coming back.
6. Eliminate Rodents
Eliminating rodents is an indirect way of keeping snakes out of your backyard. Snakes prey on rodents and similar small creatures and will actively hunt them.
If your backyard has limited or no rodents, snakes are less likely to enter it.
Here are some DIY methods of getting rid of rodents on your property naturally and humanely:
- Keep your property neat and tidy. This involves keeping it free of garbage and rodent food sources (e.g., fallen fruit from trees). If you have a compost heap, cover it with wire mesh to prevent rats and mice.
- Keep pet food inside. If you feed your pets outdoors, consider feeding them inside or ensuring you don’t leave out bowls filled with food for extended periods as this can attract rodents.
- Seal up small holes and entry points. Rodents like making nests behind walls and in small hiding places. You can prevent them from setting up shop in your home by replacing broken pipes and filling in holes in your masonry or walls.
- Sprinkle cayenne pepper in troublesome areas. Rats and mice hate the smell of cayenne pepper and this is an inexpensive and natural way of deterring them.
- Use peppermint oil. Rodents also hate the smell of peppermint. You can spray popular rodent places with peppermint essential oil, soak cotton wool balls in it and place in strategic places or mix peppermint oil into your household cleaners.
- Plant lavender, catnip and basil. For a long-term solution to repelling rodents, introduce these plants to your yard.
Below is a helpful YouTube video with some great natural rodent repellent methods:
7. Keep the Vegetation Short
A snake’s natural habitat is a forested area with lots of vegetation and it will seek out similar places in suburban areas where it can hide. To make your property uninhabitable for snakes, keep your grass short, weed-free and regularly cut back shrubs and bushes.
When camping, look for sites in a clearing and with the least amount of vegetation.
8. Get Rid of Hiding Places
Snakes are naturally shy and protect themselves by hiding in long grass, piles of vegetation or loose debris.
To keep snakes away from your campsite or backyard, eliminate hiding places like piles of dead branches, leaves and garbage.
It’s also good to check for burrows and holes in soil and fill in any holes with tightly-packed soil.
9. Seal Entry Points
In addition to preventing snakes from entering your backyard, you can take extra steps to keep them out of your home’s interior by sealing common entry points.
Here’s how to do it:
- Ensure that exterior vents are properly sealed and flush with the wall.
- Fill in any cracks in your brickwork (you can fill these in with masonry sealant).
- Remove holes in exterior pipes by using sealant or replacing sections of piping.
- Check for gaps in doorways or around windows (and fill in any gaps or cracks with caulking).
- Attend to holes or gaps in siding (backer rods work well for this job).
Here’s a useful YouTube video with a visual explanation of how to seal up entry points in your home:
10. Attract Predatory Birds
Hawks, owls and falcons prey on smaller creatures like snakes and attracting them to your property can help keep snakes away. This will only work in some areas.
For example, where I live there are no owls or hawks around. But depending on your location this could be a viable option for taming your snake population and giving you some beautiful birds to look at.
Since they don’t make their own nests, you can attract owls to your backyard by installing an owl box high up in a tree.
You can attract hawks to your yard if you have large and mature trees or by providing a big protected space (such as a high wooden perch) for nests.
Since many predatory birds are nocturnal, it’s a good idea to use this method alongside another one for 24 hour protection from snakes.
11. Eliminate Water Sources
Eliminating water sources should be used in conjunction with other snake-repelling methods as it may not be completely effective on its own.
This is especially important if you live in a dry area and you think snakes come onto your property to find water.
This can involve the following:
- Eliminating puddles of standing water
- Fixing leaking hoses or outlet pipes
- Moving water bowls for pets indoors
12. Keep Wildlife That Prey On Snakes
Snakes will avoid areas where they know they can be preyed on. This includes spaces where their natural predators are.
For a hands-off snake deterrent solution, consider introducing or attracting any of the following to your property:
These wildlife might come with their own problems and check with your local laws what animals are allowed or not allowed.
13. Use Scarecrows or Decoys
If you find that attracting birds or animals that prey on snakes is too impractical or hit and miss for your property, take the easy way out and use a snake decoy or scarecrow, like a large, realistic-looking fake owl or hawk.
Ezoon Fake Owl Scarecrows from Amazon come in a pack of 3 and look very realistic. In addition to scaring away snakes, it’s also effective for other pests (like squirrels or pigeons).
For maximum effectiveness, dot your scarecrows around your property.
The owl decoy looks very realistic and will effectively scaring birds, pigeons, squirrels, snakes, sparrows, raccoons, and more without harming them.
14. Garlic and Pepper Solution
A study by Delta State University revealed that garlic is also a highly effective natural snake repellent.
Although it might be a smelly option, if you don’t mind the smell and want a completely natural solution, it’s an excellent choice.
You can place crushed garlic cloves in strategic places around your property or make a garlic and pepper solution by adding a little water and spraying it in key places.
Some people also combine it with Tabasco sauce because it contains hot peppers which snakes also hate.