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From Sulfur to Smoke: Simple DIY Snake Repellents
From Sulfur to Smoke: Simple DIY Snake Repellents

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

Cinnamon 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.

02

Snakes and sulfur don't mix

Powdered 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.

03

Apply ammonia with caution

Bottle of snake repellent ammonia sits on a table alongside a pair of household cleaning gloves. PeopleImages / Getty Images

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.

04

Get out the garlic

Heads of garlic surround a bottle of snake repellent garlic oil. mescioglu / Getty Images

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.

05

Lime and chili, hold the alcohol

Lime 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.

06

Fend off snakes with vinegar

A 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.

07

Mothballs for snakes

Spilled 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.

08

Smoking or nonsmoking?

Person 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.

09

Landscape for fewer snakes

Person planting a marigold, a plant with snake repellent properties. Liliboas / Getty Images

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.

10

Get rid of vermin

Removing brown mice as pictured can have snake repellent properties. scooperdigital / Getty Images

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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