Will a Snake Cross a Braided Rope?

I love camping and everything about the outdoors but I try to avoid snakes as much as possible.

I don't want snakes in my campsite and I definitely don't want snakes in my tent or in my sleeping bag.

I’ve read about many ways to repel snakes and one of them is braided rope. Is it true that snakes won’t cross braided rope? 

A snake WILL cross a braided rope. Scientific research and experiments have proven that snakes can easily move over various kinds of rope and the myth that snakes won't cross a braided rope is completely untrue.

Rope is therefore an ineffective snake deterrent and you should opt for a commercial or natural snake repellent if you want to keep them away from your campsite or yard. 

While it would be great if you could just unroll a rope and it would keep the snakes out the same way a line of salt can apparently stop witches the fact of the matter is this just doesn't work at all. Snakes will indeed cross over all sorts of braided ropes.

The only time a snake won’t cross braided rope is if you’ve saturated it with a snake repellent they don’t like. For example: 

  • Peppermint oil
  • Ammonia
  • Vinegar
  • Cloves and cinnamon oil

If you’re looking for a good way of repelling snakes, it’s important to understand what works and doesn’t so you can keep yourself and family safe. Just laying a rope around you won't be enough.

Why Will Snakes Cross Braided Ropes?

Image Source: MythBusters

Snakes will cross braided ropes because they don’t see them as a physical obstacle or something that will hurt their underbellies. 

People theorized that snakes won't cross braided ropes because snakes don't like the rough nature of the rope as it can scratch the undersides of their bellies. But this fails to consider the fact that the very ground snakes slither on is usually much rougher than braided rope.

Contrary to popular belief, the more textured and rough braided rope is, the easier it is for snakes to cross over them. The rough texture gives the snake traction and something to hold onto.

If a snake encounters braided rope, it will assume it’s similar to a long, thin branch and won’t hesitate to cross it if it wants to.    

Here’s a video from the University of Cincinnati showing how easy it is for boa constrictors to climb up vertical braided rope: 

or the below video shows the MythBusters team laying down ropes and the snakes easily crossing them:

Using rope as a snake deterrent became popular when cowboys roamed the wild west and thought that placing rope around themselves while sleeping would keep snakes away.

This has long ago been disproven in scientific studies and experiments, such as the video above.

“A length of sisal rope was placed across the floor of the test chamber on the grid. The snakes were not stopped or slowed down by this material”. 

Gary J. San Julian

Are Snakes Scared of Horsehair Rope?

It’s widely believed that snakes are scared of horses because they try and avoid them as much as possible. Snakes are naturally shy creatures and avoid interactions with other animals, including horses. 

This has led to people believing that they’re also afraid of horsehair rope because they associate it with horses. 

However, the main reason snakes stay far away from horses is due to their size and ability to trample them easily. Qualities of which does not exist in horsehair rope.

Snakes aren’t scared of horsehair rope and can easily cross it. Although horsehair rope is scratchy and has sharp fibers sticking out of it, snakes find it similar to other items they travel over in the wild, like sharp twigs, branches or leaves. 

Are There Any Braided Ropes a Snake Can’t Cross?

There aren’t any braided ropes a snake can’t cross because they can easily climb over anything that’s shorter than their body length. 

Snakes can also climb walls as long as they don’t have a smooth surface. Regular brick walls are slightly rough and can sometimes give snakes enough traction to climb up if they aren't too high. 

The only time a snake won’t cross braided rope is if you’ve saturated it with a substance they don’t like, such as: 

  • Peppermint oil
  • Ammonia
  • Vinegar
  • Cloves and cinnamon oil

If you’ve placed a snake repellent product near the rope they’re also unlikely to cross it. But this isn't because of the rope, nor is the rope helping in any way (unless it's soaking in the snake repellent), it's the repellent that is doing the job to keep the snakes away.

How To Keep Snakes Away When Camping

When camping or sleeping on the ground, forget about rope if you want to keep snakes away as it’s ineffective. 

Instead, consider effective snake deterrents like the following: 

  • Essential oils. Snakes hate the smell of certain essential oils (like cloves, cinnamon and peppermint). You can combine these essential oils or use them on their own in a spray bottle.  
  • Ammonia. If you don’t mind the smell of ammonia at your campsite, soak a rag in it before you leave and store it in a ziplock bag. When you get to your campsite, open the bag and place it around the perimeter. 
  • White vinegar. Pack some neat white vinegar in a spray bottle and use it to spray around your campsite to deter snakes. 
  • Citronella. Want to prevent snakes and mosquitos from bothering you while camping? Consider burning citronella oil in a lamp or using a few citronella candles to repel them.  
  • Commercial snake repellent products. You could also always just buy a good snake repellent product but make sure it contains naphthalene, the active ingredient that repels snakes.  

Exterminator’s Choice Snake Spray from Amazon will get the job done and is also non-toxic and safe for kids and pets.

Exterminators Choice - Snake Defense Spray Repellent (32 oz)
$23.99 ($23.99 / Count)

Works great on most common types of snakes such as Garter Snakes, Rattlesnakes, Copperheads, and many more. Features all-natural ingredients and no harmful chemicals, so it is safe to use around your pets and kids. Ingredients include clove, cinnamon, and peppermint oil.

To use the spray bottle, just a few spritzes using the included spray nozzle onto the designated area

Buy Now at Amazon
03/06/2024 09:32 pm GMT

If you’re already camping and don’t have any snake repelling items with you, keep your campsite clean and free or crumbs, bits of food and garbage. This attracts rodents which are a snake’s natural prey. 

Also make sure to always keeping your tent closed and your sleeping bag rolled up until just before you go to bed so no snakes can crawl into it. Sleeping with a mosquito net on can also act as a good physical barrier against snakes.