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15 DIY Snake Repellents That Work

By Staff Writer
Share to Pinterest15 DIY Snake Repellents That Work
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Although snakes are found on virtually every continent, you don't have to put up with them in your backyard. Luckily for homeowners, snakes can be picky about the smells in their choice habitats. These preferences can be exploited to create natural, DIY snake repellents with products you probably already own.

01

Cinnamon, spice, and everything snakes don't like

Share to PinterestCinnamon and clove are strewn on a table around a bottle of essential oil with snake repellent properties.
Madeleine_Steinbach / Getty Images

Pumpkin spice flavoring is a yearly success. Its spicy, nutty aroma is sure to make mouths water, yet it's that very scent that snakes detest. A dilution of 4 to 8 drops of cinnamon and cloves essential oils per gallon of water is enough to create an effective snake repellent you can spray in high-traffic areas — shake well to make sure the oil and water mix. Alternatively, soak cotton balls or strips of fabric in the cinnamon and clove solution and place these around the space. Be sure to handle this mixture in a ventilated area; while not toxic, the terpenoids in the oils bother some people.

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02

Snakes and sulfur don't mix

Share to PinterestPowdered sulfur snake repellent sits in a metal scoop resting atop a table.
pedphoto36pm / Getty Images

It's perhaps a bit ironic that snakes are repelled by the smell of sulfur. Despite stories and depictions to the contrary, fire and brimstone are surefire ways to get these reptiles writhing the opposite way. Although nontoxic, sulfur is quite volatile, so use facial coverings and gloves if you choose this method. To apply, spread a generous amount of powdered sulfur over susceptible areas, taking care to focus on cracks and other possible hiding spots. Keep in mind that this treatment is only effective until the sulfur gets wet.

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03

Apply ammonia with caution

Share to PinterestBottle of snake repellent ammonia sits on a table alongside a pair of household cleaning gloves.
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Why stop at cleaning when you can use ammonia to keep snakes at bay? This household chemical has a solid track record for repelling snakes. All aspects of this common chemical are highly toxic, so be very careful and avoid this method if you have children or pets. Soak a towel or rug in the stuff and put it in an unsealed bag so the vapors can vent. Place your snake repellent bag under foundations, near piles of scrap, or anywhere else snakes might hide.

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04

Get out the garlic

Share to PinterestHeads of garlic surround a bottle of snake repellent garlic oil.
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Just like vampires, snakes dislike garlic. You can use this to your advantage and create the ultimate snake repellent that is sure to keep the vampires away as well. This nontoxic concoction works because of sulfonic acid in the garlic, the same element that makes eyes water while chopping onion. Chop up individual cloves and place in a bottle full of oil. Allow the garlic to infuse the oil for a few weeks before straining and transferring to a spray bottle. Spray the concoction liberally and regularly in snake-prone areas.

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05

Lime and chili, hold the alcohol

Share to PinterestLime and hot pepper sit beside one another as ingredients in a snake repellent recipe.
leekhoailang / Getty Images

Who doesn't love a spicy citrus treat or drink? Snakes, that's who. Create an effective snake repellent with just lime juice and hot pepper extract. Dilute equal parts of the two in a gallon of water and apply around the perimeter of the property. This nontoxic solution will linger for a while, and snakes will notice. For the brave few who try to cross anyway, the pepper extract causes discomfort on the scales and discourages any further encroachment.

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06

Fend off snakes with vinegar

Share to PinterestA bottle of vinegar ready to be used in a spray bottle to apply snake repellent.
Helin Loik-Tomson / Getty Images

White vinegar is a kitchen must-have. Its versatility makes it an ideal solution to a variety of household problems, including repelling snakes. The acidity irritates snake skin and will send them packing. To make your very own nontoxic snake repellent, get a gallon of vinegar and mix in a cup of salt and two tablespoons of dish soap. Give it a swirl and transfer it to a spray bottle. Apply generously in areas where snakes like to congregate or hide.

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07

Mothballs for snakes

Share to PinterestSpilled container of mothballs containing naphthalene for use as a snake repellent.
Raunamaxtor / Getty Images

The toxic chemical compound naphthalene is found in most commercial snake repellents. To save a few bucks, purchase mothballs instead. Their small, round size makes them ideal for popping into cracks and small places, and that unmistakable aroma is sure to keep everything away. A word of warning: mothballs can harm children and pets if ingested.

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08

Smoking or nonsmoking?

Share to PinterestPerson prepares a fire pit to use the smoke as a snake repellent.
Elena_Fox / Getty Images

Smoke has been used for centuries as a natural animal deterrent, thanks to most animals' instinctual reflex to flee from it. Snakes are not immune to this fear, and you don't have to go as far as setting the property ablaze. Simply dig a small fire pit and fill it with kindling and rocks. Light the pit on fire and cover it with dried foliage. The smoke will slither along the ground and dissuade your slithering interlopers.

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09

Landscape for fewer snakes

Share to PinterestPerson planting a marigold, a plant with snake repellent properties.
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One reason snakes might hang around a yard is the ample places to hide. Consider beginning a landscape project that will clear debris, keep vegetation short, and fill any cozy pockets in the ground. For added protection, purchase plants with known snake repellent properties, such as lemongrass and marigolds. Snakes will take one look at your charming yardwork and turn the other way.

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10

Get rid of vermin

Share to PinterestRemoving brown mice as pictured can have snake repellent properties.
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Once the landscaping is done, the next step is to make sure there are no vermin in the yard to attract snakes. Animals like mice, moles, and other rodents are tasty treats. By removing their food source, snakes have less of a reason to be in your yard. Although not exactly a snake repellent, the results will have the same effect.

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11

Snake fencing

Share to PinterestNew white fence
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Snake fences create enclosed barriers that protect your yard or garden from pesky critters slithering their way through. Since wooden fences give snakes enough grip to climb in, opt for slick, sturdy choices such as vinyl or wire mesh when creating your barrier; for snake fencing to function properly, ensure that yours is 100% enclosed with zero gaps, holes, or cracks.

If you want further protection, opt for some overlap between the fencing pieces and start them a few inches into the ground to waylay digging.

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12

Plant snake-repelling plants

Share to PinterestFresh basil growing in an old terracotta pot outdoors
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Keeping snakes at bay can be as simple as selecting the right species of plants. Unfortunately, it's all too easy for these pests to slither their way into your garden and take up residence without you realizing it until it's too late.

Snakes have such an intense sense of smell that specific plants scare them off, including popular favorites such as basil, garlic, marigold, lavender, lemongrass, chives, and holly.

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13

Ultrasonic snake repellents

Share to PinterestUltrasonic, solar-powered mole repellent or repeller device in the soil in a vegetable bed
Kristine Radkovska / Getty Images

It might sound ultra-modern, but ultrasonic snake repellents are one of the best ways to uninvite these unwanted invaders. While snakes don't hear sounds the way we do, they can sense vibrations. These devices use that against them by emitting sonic waves that travel through the soil.

When snakes sense these waves, they won't want to stick around in this disturbed area and will likely move toward a more comfortable spot.

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14

Install birdhouses

Share to PinterestSmall Sparrow bird enjoying bird house in garden
petesphotography / Getty Images

Installing birdhouses can be an effective method for scaring off snakes, especially if you implement a few simple tips. Ensure that your birdhouses aren't located near any overhangs, trees, or fence gaps that snakes could potentially use to climb or crawl into the area.

Apply a deterrent (usually oil or spray) around the birdhouse to keep critters out, such as pepper spray, cinnamon, smoke, or cloves, and always properly install birdhouses with firm foundations.

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15

Professional removal

Share to PinterestRattle Snake Wrangler
MichaelSvoboda / Getty Images

As a last resort, professional removal is an excellent option for ensuring that snakes don't just go away but stay away. Professionals are not only trained and experienced in the task at hand, but they know how to handle many species of snakes, including venomous varieties that are never worth messing with on your own.

This reduces your risk, as even non-venomous snakes can deliver extremely painful bites that require treatment, not to mention potential diseases and bacteria.

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16

Essential oils

Share to Pinterestessential oil

More than a fragrant delight Beyond their calming effects in aromatherapy, essential oils like peppermint offer a natural defense against snakes. The potent aroma of peppermint oil, when diluted with water and sprayed around the garden, can deter these slithering visitors. Its refreshing scent not only creates a pleasant environment for humans but also establishes a boundary that snakes prefer to avoid. Regular application, especially after rainfall, ensures a snake-free zone, blending safety with serenity.

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17

Cedarwood

Share to Pinterestcedar wood mulch

The forest's protective charm The rich, woody scent of cedar isn't just a favorite for furniture and closets. By scattering cedar chips or sawdust around your property, you create a natural barrier against snakes. Beyond its repellent properties, cedar adds a rustic aesthetic to gardens, marrying form and function. As the chips release their aroma, they signal to snakes that it's best to find another path, ensuring your space remains undisturbed.

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18

Decoys

Share to Pinterestsnake toy

Mastering the art of illusion, in nature, sometimes deception is the best strategy. Introducing decoy snakes, be it plastic models or faux snakes, can trick real snakes into thinking your yard is already occupied. This harmless strategy sends a clear message: territory claimed. By strategically placing these decoys, homeowners can maintain a peaceful garden free from unwanted reptilian guests.

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19

Cedar oil

Share to Pinterestcedar oil

Nature's aromatic barrier. Extracted from cedar trees, cedar oil is a fragrant force to be reckoned with. When sprayed around the garden, its aromatic compounds release phenols that are off-putting to snakes. This natural repellent not only keeps your space snake-free but also infuses the air with a refreshing woodland scent. Periodic reapplication ensures a consistent barrier, making your garden both a sanctuary and a fortress.

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20

Natural predators

Share to Pinterestwild fox

In the circle of life, every creature has its place in the ecosystem, and snakes are no exception. By encouraging the presence of their natural predators, like foxes and guinea hens, you can maintain a balanced environment. These animals not only deter snakes but also add vibrancy to your outdoor space. Embracing this natural method of control ensures harmony in your garden, where every creature plays its part.

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