7 Ways To Keep Snakes Away When Sleeping on the Ground

I love everything about camping but I have a fear of a snake crawling over me when I’m sleeping on the ground. What are some legit ways to keep snakes away when camping? 

To keep snakes away when sleeping on the ground, use a commercial or homemade snake repellent. You should also keep your sleeping bag rolled up, only sleep at a camp with short vegetation and use a mosquito net. A snake barrier around your camp’s perimeter can also help.

Keeping your campsite tidy without food scraps can also help as this prevents rodents, which snakes prey on.

If you’re camping in a place where snakes are prevalent, knowing how to keep them away can help you have a better experience. 

1. Use a Commercial Snake Repellent

The easiest way to keep snakes away is to use a commercial snake repellent that you can buy online or from an outdoors store. 

I like using child and animal safe snake repellent because I don’t want my kids accidentally eating or touching toxic snake repellent and I want to protect the surrounding wildlife. 

Luckily many snake repellents and kid and animal friendly and also don't smell too badly so they don't ruin our campsite or stink out your house. They can also cover quite a wide area and tend to last from around 30-90 days depending on the brand a variety.

Snake B Gone from Amazon comes in a convenient container and you can sprinkle the granules around your campsite or backyard. It also doesn’t have an unpleasant smell like some products do. It does smell a little bit but the smell isn't too bad and it's not overwhelming (for humans anyway…for snakes it is which is kind of the point).

Ortho Snake B Gon - Snake Repellent Granules (2 Pack)
$24.99 ($0.39 / Ounce)

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.

Buy Now at Amazon
03/06/2024 09:27 pm GMT

2. Spray Your Campsite With a Homemade Snake Deterrent

If you don’t feel comfortable using a commercial snake repellent because you’re worried about the chemicals, you could always make your own effective DIY snake repellent. Here are some options: 

Essential oils. Essential oils like cloves, cinnamon and peppermint not only smell nice but also keep snakes away. You can spray or burn these essential oils to repel them. 

Citronella. This is a great option if you also need to repel mosquitos, flies and other annoying insects. You can get citronella candles or burn citronella oil in your camping lantern or essential oil burner. 

If you opt for candles, choose large ones with multiple wicks as they’re more effective. These large Citronella Candles from Amazon come in a 2-pack and a sturdy tin container that’s great for camping. 

Outdoor Citronella Candles - 3 Wick, 100 Hours (2 Pack)
$24.99 $22.99 ($0.68 / Ounce)

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.

Buy Now at Amazon
03/07/2024 07:57 am GMT

Vinegar. If you bring white vinegar with you while camping for cleaning, put some in a large plastic spray bottle, and spray your campsite’s perimeter to repel snakes. Vinegar is a good natural snake repellent. It's major downside is it only works for approximately 24 hours and gets washed away easily when it rains.

Ammonia. Not everyone can handle the smell of ammonia and it’s not a good idea if you have small kids. However, it effectively deters snakes and you can keep an ammonia-soaked rag in a ziplock bag and open it when needed. 

3. Keep Your Sleeping Bag Rolled Up Until Just Before Bedtime

Snakes are reclusive creatures and are always looking for places to hide.

In your sleeping bag is the ideal hiding place for them but you can prevent this by keeping it rolled and zipped up until just before bedtime. 

There's no need to leave it out all day as this just gives snakes (and other creatures) time to crawl their way inside your sleeping bag.

4. Sleep On Open Ground With Short Vegetation

Snakes actively seek out habitat with lots of long grass, piles of vegetation, trees and shrubs. They don't generally like open areas and tend to stay away from them more often then not.

When choosing a campsite, opt for one that’s in a clearing with short vegetation as snakes will avoid terrain like this. If that’s not possible, cut down the vegetation so that there are no hiding places left for snakes.

5. Use a Mosquito Net

A mosquito net functions as a physical barrier against snakes and you can use one, even if you’re sleeping on the ground. 

This Single Person Mosquito Net from Amazon is compact and (obviously) also protects you from mosquitos and other bugs. 

MekkaPro Mosquito Netting for Camping with Carry Bag (Single)
$19.99

Protect yourself from mosquitos, noseeums, flying insects, bees and other pesky bugs while you sleep outdoors. With dimensions 220 cm (L) x 120 cm (W) x 100 cm (H), the mosquito net is made for a single sleeping bag with a roomy interior and adequate head space

Buy Now at Amazon
03/08/2024 03:57 am GMT

6. Keep Your Campsite Tidy 

Keeping your campsite tidy and garbage free will decrease the number of potential hiding places for snakes and also prevent rodents from coming. 

Snakes prey on rodents and will enter your campsite if they know there are rodents. To prevent rats and mice from running around your campsite, keep it neat and tidy and don’t leave crumbs or old bits of food lying around. 

You should also keep your food in airtight containers and dispose of any greasy ash. 

7. Use a Snake Barrier 

Using rope as a snake deterrent is nothing but an urban legend but there are products (like the Atrox Snake Barrier) that you can place around your campsite to repel them. 

This type of barrier is made of smooth netting and has an overlapping apron around the edges that makes it very difficult for snakes to climb over. Installing it takes as long as putting up a tent and it'll allow you to sleep soundly knowing that no snakes will get close to you.

Here’s a video explaining how it works: