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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.