Home owners are often faced with hard-to-manage pests, and perhaps the most difficult to deal with are snakes.
Proper snake control isn’t the easiest of tasks: you need a basic knowledge of snake repellent application as well how to effectively employ snake traps and snake fencing. What’s more, there are also natural snake control options (in the form of all natural snake repellents and snake deterring animals) for you to consider.
In this guide, we’ll delve into how you can keep snakes away with the help of snake repellent, snake traps, snake poison, natural snake repellent, snake fences, and much more. We’ll also answer common questions that homeowners are faced with when dealing with snakes:
- How do I get rid of snakes?
- How do I keep snakes away?
- How do I make a snake trap?
So if you’re unsure how to keep snakes away from your yard, you’ve come to the right place!
- 1 How to Get Rid of Snakes
- 1.1 1. Evaluate Your Situation & Eliminate Hiding Places
- 1.2 2. Identify the Snake Nest
- 1.3 3. Use Natural Snake Repellent
- 1.4 4. SnakeAway and other Repellents
- 1.5 5. Snake Traps and Snake Fencing
- 1.6 6. Ultrasonic and Vibrating Snake Repellents
- 1.7 7. Other Tips and Tricks
- 2 Now You Know How To Get Rid Of Snakes!
How to Get Rid of Snakes
Snakes are an integral (and often unavoidable) part of rural or recently rural environments. They cause very few problems and, aside from their venomous representatives, do not generally represent a threat to humans or their pets.
In fact, snakes are effective in managing populations of several other common pests, especially mice and certain types of insects. Even so, many home-owners consider it unsettling to know that their property is home to one or more snake species.
Short of seeing the snake itself, you can also determine whether or not you have a snake problem by searching for shed snake skin or snake droppings. A large rodent population may also be a warning sign as to the presence of snakes on your property.
To permanently get rid of snakes, you’ll need to focus on eliminating any factors that attract snakes to your yard and house as well as using appropriate snake deterrent products, traps, and fences.
Getting rid of snakes can be a process and it starts with subtle measures that make your property less hospitable to the snakes.
1. Evaluate Your Situation & Eliminate Hiding Places
If you’ve come across a snake in your house, chances are that you’ll find more on your property. It’s therefore important to actively search for areas that are attractive to snakes. This initial assessment will allow you to eliminate or minimize any snake habitat around your home (places where snakes can find food and shelter).
By slightly modifying your habits, you’ll effectively remove conditions that are favorable for reptiles, thus discouraging snakes from leaving nearby.
- Remove Weeds and Keep Grass Low: It goes without saying that tall grass is an ideal hiding spot for garden pests, especially snakes. More importantly, high grass represents an ideal hiding place for mice, rats, grasshoppers, crickets, and squirrels, which are a snake’s main food sources. Make sure to mow your lawn weekly and eliminate any tall stands of vegetation.
- Eliminate garbage, debris, and compost heaps: In your attempt to rid your garden of any hiding places that snakes may find appealing, make sure to also remove debris, tree branches, dried leaves, and compost heaps.
- Remove rocks and other large landscaping elements: In spite of their visual appeal, rocks are an ideal hiding place for snakes because they retain heat – snakes are cold blooded so the stored heat helps regulate their temperature. They can also harbor other pests which snakes enjoy eating. If you need to store wood, make sure that it’s kept elevated (at least a foot or two off the ground).
- Eliminate ground-level Water Sources: Some snake species may be drawn to water sources, so puddles and bird baths should be avoided if found at ground level. They attract insects and rodents which, in turn, can attract snakes.
- Consider removing shrubs: Some snake species can also be good climbers, using shrubs, trees, or stone walls to gain access to your home. Inspect these areas and decide whether they represent a possible snake entrance.
- Inspect your house’s foundation, exterior, and ground level: Since snakes generally enter buildings at ground level, you’ll want to search for cracks or holes that may serve as entry points. Search for pipe conduits, open basement windows, basement doors that don’t seal properly, unsealed wire or any other openings.
Not all of these measures are feasible in every instance but there’s enough ideas here to get your snake deterrent program off the ground.
2. Identify the Snake Nest
Recurring snake infestations (particularly in spring and summer) may indicate the presence of a snake nest where the reptiles hibernate during the winter. Not sure how to get rid of snakes once and for all? Find and destroy the snake nest!
Now, snakes generally prefer hidden nooks, compost holes, or piles of wood. Once you’ve found the nest, you’ll have to fill the hole exits – concrete mix is ideal for this purpose- (be mindful of the fact that a single nest can have multiple exit holes, so you’ll have to fill all of them).
Be sure to exercise caution while poking around searching for the snake’s nest.
3. Use Natural Snake Repellent
A natural snake repellent is always a great alternative to a more aggressive, chemical snake repellent and snake poison, especially if children or pets are in danger of being exposed to a particular chemical found in the composition of a repellent or snake killing spray.
Three types of essential oils are particularly effective snake deterrents, research shows:
Their repelling properties stem from the eugenol they contain. When sprayed directly with a mixture of oil and water, snakes will retreat. What’s more, you can use essential oils to force snakes out of confined spaces.
The easiest way to prepare a homemade snake repellent is to combine one (or more) of the essential oils with water and soap (the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service recommends a ratio of one percent oil to one percent sodium-lauryl-sulfate and ninety-eight percent water). Spray the mixture directly on the snake, aiming for its head.
You can also volatilize the oils by exposing a piece of absorbent material (soaked in essential oil) to hot air. Direct the essential oil fumes into enclosed spaces where snakes may be located.
An example of this may be placing oil soaked cotton balls under a deck or into a crevice known to harbor snakes. The idea is to get the fumes into the way of the snake which will encourage them to move along.
Whether homemade or commercially bought, garlic mixtures are also excellent snake repellents. If you plan on preparing your own mixture, you’ll need 10 garlic bulbs, 4 table spoons of Garlic Oil (or an essential oil of your choice), and water. Use a blender to obtain a thick paste and apply the mixture in areas that snakes prefer.
Snakes have highly sensitive and specialized scent receptors within their tongues and mouths. The constant tongue action essentially collects air samples which are assessed within the month. Filling the air with scents offensive to the snake is an key component of an effective snake deterrent strategy.
Snake Repellent Plants
This may be my single favorite snake deterring measure. By engaging in some simple gardening to enhance my home’s curb appeal, I can also create an environment that also repels snakes. Here are plants ideal for assisting your snake control efforts:
Wormwood (Artemisia vulgaris), though considered by some to be an invasive weed, is an excellent natural snake repellent for your yard.
It grows quickly and widely, though it often overpowers other plants.
This popular garden plant is particularly resilient (it tolerates prolonged droughts) and can be used in a variety of ways. Aside from staving off ticks, mosquitoes, fleas, and snakes, its flowers and leaves can be used in salads, as headache remedies, or as a natural cough remedy.
West Indian Lemongrass
West Indian Lemongrass releases a potent citrus-like smell that is very unpleasant to snakes.
This plant grows quickly and requires very little care to thrive which makes it easy to find and use.
Also known as Sarpagandha, Rawolfia serpentina, and Insanity herb.
Indian snakeroot is well-known for its ability to repel snakes which makes it a must-have during the cold season.
Garlic is a phenomenal snake repellent plant, considered by many the most effective out there.
Aside from being unpleasant for snakes, the smell of garlic also confuses these unwanted reptiles.
Marigold (or calendula oficinalis) is another colorful, low-maintenance snake repelling plant.
It’s bright red-orange flowers also makes a great ornamental plant.
4. SnakeAway and other Repellents
There are commercially available snake repellents that have been proven effective. While some do contain sulfur powder and other chemicals, there are also natural snake repellent options for you to consider.
Natural snake repellents can be applied without fearing for the safety of children and pets that can accidentally come in contact with the substance.
Commercial Natural Snake Repellents
- Ortho Snake B Gon: This natural snake repellent prevents snake entry, foraging, and nesting. It comes in a ready-to-use formula that is dispensed directly from the bottle and can be used safely around people and pets. The product doesn’t affect grass or plants and has a pleasant cinnamon-like smell. It’s particularly effective at repelling garter snakes. Find our Snake B Gon review here.
- Nature’s Mace Snake Repellent: These eco-safe snake pellets comes in granular form and can be used on flower beds, garden areas, and shrubs. More importantly, it’s safe for people and pets.
- Liquid Fence Snake Repellent Granules: If you’re looking for a product that can be used to create a perimeter around your property, Liquid fence is the solution. This naphthalene-free product confuses and impairs snakes, forcing the reptiles away from the area. This snake spray can be used safely around children and pets. Find our Liquid Fence Snake Repellent review here.
Chemical Snake Repellents
- Sulfur: Despite the fact that many swear by sulfur’s snake-repelling properties, studies suggest that powdered sulfur (when used alone) doesn’t drive snakes away. In fact, the substance’s irritating properties may even cause snakes to be aggressive and dangerous towards pets and humans. Sulfur for snakes only becomes effective when combined with naphthalene (although the mixture also offers questionable results). Snake-A-Way (also commonly referred to as Snake Away) is a well-known snake repellent containing sulfur (28%) and naphthalene (7%). It boasts a 91% repellency rate for garter snakes and rattle snakes. This instructional video details the application process:
- Mothballs: Though widely advocated as snake repellents, mothballs are only effective when used to repel insects such as moths and silverfish. Snakes and mothballs are often the main discussion point on countless pest control forums. Do mothballs get rid of snakes? Are mothballs effective snake repellents? Contrary to some common thinking, studies have shown that mothballs are ineffective snake repellents. What’s more, the strong neurotoxin contained in mothballs is dangerous to children and pets.
- Other chemical repellents come in the form of sprays, liquids, and powder solutions. Most of them contain naphthalene, sulfur, or a combination of the two. While sulfur is non-toxic, it’s recommendable to only apply such a repellent when wearing a mask that covers your mouth and nose. When in doubt, you can always discuss your options with a professional snake exterminator. Remember, though, that snakes only stay away if you make sure to eliminate any favorable conditions and hiding places which makes long term snake repelling, at least in part, a DIY activity.
5. Snake Traps and Snake Fencing
Disclaimer – Proper snake identification is critical if you plan to use any sort of trap-based solution. You need to be equipped to handle what you catch and the services of a quality snake exterminator may be well worth the expense if venomous snakes are involved.
If you’ve managed to identify the main snake entrance or an area that’s particularly attractive to snakes, you can always consider using a snake trap to rid yourself of these pesky and scaly reptiles. The purpose of snake traps is to catch and safely release the snake without inflicting harm – snake removal at it’s finest. The key is to identify the type of snake you’re dealing with.
The majority of backyard snakes are nonvenomous and, therefore, harmless. There are only four types of venomous snake species in North America:
- Copperheads (easily distinguished due to their copper and black stripes)
- Water moccasins (common around rivers and streams, especially in the southeast)
- Rattlesnakes (easily identified by their rattles)
- Coral Snakes (very rare, easily identified by their bright-colored coral patterns)
Venomous snakes also share other features, such as vertical pupils (non-venomous snakes have round pupils), thick bodies, and triangular heads (that are larger than their necks). Although you can trap venomous snakes on your own, it’s recommendable to employ the help of animal control so as to avoid potentially dangerous situations.
Glue Traps are some of the most commonly used traps for snake removal. They are both effective and humane. Most glue traps already have snake bait installed, so all you have to do is to make sure that you choose a trap that’s large enough to contain the snake you’re attempting to catch.
The snake bait acts as a lure, so that once the snake enters the trap, the glue on the bottom will hold the animal in place until removed.
Minnow Snake Traps are a great alternative to glue traps, especially if you’re dealing with a lot of snakes. The concept is quite simple: a minnow trap consists of cylindrical wire mesh that forms two inverted holes at each end. Snakes can easily crawl inside the trap, but cannot exit. You’re free to use eggs or rodents as the snake bait.
Minnow traps are generally affordable and easy to find. You can even attempt to use homemade snake traps. This instructional video will teach you how to make a snake trap in no time:
Using a minnow trap is trickier than using a glue trap, since the snake can easily crawl away once the trap is opened. Do not use minnow traps to catch venomous snakes!
Physical measures are often the most effective snake repellent, and installing a snake fence, though costly, can almost guarantee a permanent snake-free yard.
You’ll need hardware cloth or durable industrial netting that’s dense enough to prevent snake entrance. Ideally, it should be 30 inches high, so that you can bury the bottom edge at least six inches into the ground. Use support stakes to erect the fence but place them inside the property so that snakes don’t use them to crawl over the fence.
Make sure to point the fence away from your property (approximately 30 degrees) and keep any gates closed at all times. Inspect the fence regularly.
6. Ultrasonic and Vibrating Snake Repellents
Ultrasonic and vibrating snake repellent devices are certainly worth a mention as well. Ultrasonic snake repellent devices emit a high-frequency pitch generated from automatic frequency variations that are intolerable to snakes. Vibrating devices, on the other hand, emit regular pulsing vibrations which are picked up by the snake’s sensors and interpreted as dangerous. Both devices aim to keep snakes at a safe distance.
As with any other singular snake repellent tactic, ultrasonic and vibrating snake repellent devices don’t have a 100% effectiveness rate. In fact, in the case of this method, you’ll need to pay close attention to the location of the device.
That’s because the sound waves emitted from such devices can vary in strength and range in certain environments. Corners, rocks, and walls block their signal easily and open spaces can defuse the signal over too large an area. To make sure that your device is effective, place a light source next to it and turn off any other lights. The device is only active where the light reaches.
7. Other Tips and Tricks
One-Way Snake Doors
If you’re trying to evict snakes from a building and you’re not keen on using traps, you can always turn to one-way snake doors. They’re easy to construct take virtually no time at all. All you have to do is to:
- Find the snake entrance
- Take a piece of aluminum window screen and roll it into a cylinder with a larger diameter than the entrance hole
- Place the aluminum roll inside the snake entrance and suspend the outlet so that snakes can crawl out but not re-enter the home
- Leave the one-way door in place for a month or two
- Once you’ve made sure that there are no more snakes inside the house, seal the opening.
Though hard to believe, snakes have several natural enemies, including foxes, raccoon, cats, and even dogs. Cats and dogs will generally hunt snakes; however, you have to be sure that venomous snakes are not common in your area.
Snakes are rarely aggressive, and if they regularly encounter a cat or a dog while on your property, they will most likely avoid the area altogether.
Now You Know How To Get Rid Of Snakes!
Despite their unappealing nature, remember that there’s no need to hurt or kill snakes that have slithered onto your property. Whether you use snake repellents, traps, or fencing, there’s no one-time use perfect solution for all applications.
Effective snake repelling is a process and is most effective when also multi-faceted. Be patient and continue to eliminate any attracting factors, and, most importantly, never handle venomous snakes by yourself!