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How to Repel Snakes: Best Natural and Chemical Snake Repellents

How to repel snakes? There is a general animosity between humans and wild snakes. So to help you protect your children, pets and yard, we are going to show you various options to trap and repel snakes. Although we understand that killing these reptiles is not beneficial for an eco system, we also share your concern for the danger these creatures can pose to our families and furry friends. There is still a lack a 100%-effective product for protection and scientists claim that you can’t simply rely on traditional methods as they are often useless. So what are we supposed to do when we see a snake in or near the house?

Our review is based on the scientists’ and state experts’ advice. We have also paid attention to the opinions of experienced farmers and hunters. What we all can agree on is that it is unacceptable to have these creatures making our home their own. You’d better take care and repel them as far away from your home as possible. Here you’ll find best snake repellents and traps.

Are There Effective Snakes Repellents?

We’re used to buying repellents for eliminating  rodents, insects and other pests as it is really easy and convenient to create a liquid or dry barrier which will repel but not harm a live creature. Things aren’t that simple with the snakes.

Even official state sources contradict each other when it comes to the effectiveness of the repellents. They all nevertheless agree that no universal repellent against all types of snakes exists. What does science have to say about the products which are traditionally used and which are sold on the stores’ shelves?

how to repel snake: photo

Let’s start with a bit of history. Back in the 1950s you could come across the manuals on using poisons (from DDT to cyanogas, from mercaptan to nicotine sulfate) against snakes, but none of them was proven to be 100% effective. Later most of the products based on these chemicals were banned. Highly concentrated mercaptan, for example, was harmful for human nervous system, although its impact on non-venomous snakes wasn’t proven.

Nowadays you can come across a short list of the safest repellent chemicals and actual repellents containing them on farmers’ forums and ad portals. However, science does not fully acknowledge any of them.

Chemical Snake Repellents: Mothballs and Sulfur

  • Mothballs (naphthalene)

First of all, these balls contain a strong neurotoxin. Should a child or a dog get it into its mouth, it is very dangerous. Second, its effectiveness against snakes has not been scientifically proven. National Pesticide Information Center claims directly: «Mothballs are not a snake repellent».

If you do not believe scientists, just watch the “Mythbusters” episode. Adam Savage and friends have busted this myth as well. In addition, the lab experiments with pure naphthalene showed that it is not a barrier for the snakes.

The scientists Gary J. San Julian and David K. Woodward have conducted an experiment to prove this. They placed the snake in a closed box, poured the repellent before it and placed some bait there too. Almost all the time the reptile ignored the mothball barrier.

  • Sulfur

Pure sulfur is rarely used against snakes. Most often it is mixed with naphthalene. The only thing we can say about this mixture is that it stinks and that it is easily washed away by rain. Perhaps, a certain concentration of the two ingredients can affect snakes.

The article “Snakes: Information for Kentucky Homeowners” claims that the effectiveness of certain naphthalene- and sulfur-based registered products is limited. This is also confirmed by the fact that certain sulfur and naphthalene repellents have been licensed. They work best against rattlesnakes and checkered garter snakes with certain disclaimers, though.

For instance, a 7% naphthalene and 28% sulfur Snake-A-Way didn’t pass the lab tests. Rex E. Marsh from University of California of California — Davis has placed a repellent strip on the floor and let the snakes in one by one. Statistically, one of the two gopher snakes crossed the barrier several times. Moreover, Snake-a-Way’s rivals are not known to be versatile repellents either.

Homemade and Natural Snake Repellents

Fox urine, smoke, diesel fuel and the mixture of naphthalene with feline filler, lime and pepper sprays are known to be traditional snake repellents. Gary J. San Julian and David K. Woodward claim that all of these items are ineffective. Diesel fuel is also considered to be extremely harmful for the environment by the experts as your plants and useful insects in the garden will be affected by it. However, some Colorado researches believe that it has a restricting impact on rattlesnakes.

What about organic essential oil repellents? Such mixtures are popular for eliminating garden pests, but none of them are useful against snakes. Jim Parkhurst, Associate Professor, Fish and Wildlife Conservation, Virginia Tech covers that the state is developing a product containing cinnamon, clove and eugenol essential oils. However, he personally doesn’t condone this technique.

How Effective are Snake Repellents?

The Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Department of Maine web portal will help us summarize the mini-review of snake repellents. The authors of their booklet devoted to the snakes radically claim that no chemical products are effective against snakes. Perhaps this is connected with the smell of these reptiles, as they perceive the smell with their forked tongue. That’s why they are not repelled by distant smells and they will only feel it physically if they lick the ground.

What you certainly shouldn’t buy is the products which are positioned as universal ones, which would apparently help you to get rid of rats, spiders and snakes. NPIC specialists are positive that these products are the worst. Also, do neglect the ultrasound repellents, as snakes have no ears!

Nevertheless, we were somehow interested in the powders and granules based on sulfur and naphthalene.  The experts do not have a unified opinion regarding them, so let’s consider them to be potential snake repellents. Later we’ll find out what do mere consumers think about such repellents.

The Comparative Table of 6 Snake Control Methods

TypeActive Ingredients/ ActionEfficiency
Ultrasound repellersUltrasound actionIt’s not effective because snakes have no ears.
Natural repellentsCinnamon oil, geraniol, castor oil, peppermint oil, clove oil, cedar oilAccording to the scientists, essential oil repellents are not useful against snakes.
Chemical repellents
Victor VP364B Snake-A-Way Outdoor Snake Repelling Granules 4LB - Repels Againts Poisonous and Non-Poisonous Snakes , Red
Naphthalene, sulfurNaphthalene and sulfur are rarely used separately. Perhaps, a certain concentration of the two ingredients can repel snakes.
Glue traps
na Catchmaster 402 Baited Rat, Mouse and Snake Glue Traps Professional St, Natural
Glue & lureIt’s effective: the experts approve of using sticky traps for keeping the snakes trapped.
Humane traps
Harris Snake Glue Trap, Super Sized for Snakes, Rats, Mice and Insects (1-Pack)
Non-toxic glue & lureIt’s a good and humane option, but you have to check traps daily.
Snake-proof fence
Mat Midwest 308239A YARDGARD,23-Gauge,1/4 in. Mesh, 48 in. x 50 ft. Hardware Cloth, Galvanized
Snake exclusionThe ecologists claim that it is the best way to keep snakes away.

Best Ready-to-Use Snake Repellents

1. Ortho Snake B Gon Snake Repellent Granules

Ortho Snake B Gon Snake Repellent Granules, 2-Pound (Not Sold in AK)

The list of active ingredients of this product is finally missing sulfur as it only contains Cinnamon Oil, Geraniol, Castor Oil, Peppermint Oil, Clove Oil. We have mentioned earlier that the experiments regarding the effectiveness of oil mixtures are ongoing.

Ortho has decided to overtake the scientists and has already launched a similar mixture, the Ortho Snake B Gon Snake Repellent. The customers have rated this product lower than its two above mentioned rivals, as only 70% of consumers consider it effective.

In the comments section we were able to find cases of successful repelling of black snakes, copperheads and garter snakes. However, gratitude and negativity are equally distributed throughout the feedback.

Ortho:  Check the current price

2. Victor VP364B Way Snake Repelling Granules – 4 LB

Victor VP364B Snake-A-Way Outdoor Snake Repelling Granules 4LB - Repels Againts Poisonous and Non-Poisonous Snakes , Red

As per our experts, the mixture can only repel rattlesnakes and garter snakes. The pack contains 4lbs of granules (7% naphthalene and 28% sulfur). It should be enough for a quality treatment of 5 acres of land. The manufacturers do not hide that the snake will away from the repellent, once the chemical gets onto its Jacobson’s organ. If the sensory receptors are not touched, it will slither further.

Victor VP364B Way Snake Repelling Granules are to be scattered in 4-5 inches (for garter snakes) or 8-12 inches (for rattlers) wide strips while wearing special gloves. You’ll have to renew these strips after a drizzle. Of course, such a smelly mixture should not be used indoors.

In the comments section the users state that it is foolish to spray the product near the snakes’ nests (for example, in the basement or the woodpile). In this case the snakes will be trapped and won’t leave your house until they die.

Most of the dog owners admit that their dogs do not care about the chemical, but all of those who eliminate the snakes keep the product away from the children. The only reasonable complaint we’ve found concerned the disgusting odor of the product. So, you can check it out.

Victor: Check the current price

3. Havahart 6400 Snake Shield Snake Repellent

Safer 5951 Snake Shield Granular Repellent - Outdoor Snake Repelling Granules 4LB Snake Shield Repellent - Repels Againts Poisonous and Non-Poisonous Snakes

We highly doubt this product. It also contains sulfur, and some essential oil ingredients have been added. Their effectiveness has been neither attested nor disproven hence Havahart is listed in our review. Here’s what it contains:  sulfur, cedar oil, cinnamon oil, and clove oil. These pungent smells are supposed to repel the snakes once in contact with their sensory receptors.

The manual states that an 8-inch Havahart Repellent barrier is to be placed on the perimeter of your place and of certain objects, such as the garage, trash, and the house itself. As for its advantages, they include the fact that the bad smell is overcome by a fake wood smell. As for the disadvantages, the main one is the lack of description of species against which the product acts.

We have already discussed the mediocrity of such universal products. Nevertheless, 90% of the consumers consider Havahart to be an effective product. They only complained of its short action period. As for us, we can’t specifically recommend this best selling item. You can test these granules at your own risk.

Havahart: Check the current price

Best Ready-to-use Snake Traps

4. Catchmaster 402 Baited Rat, Mouse and Snake Glue Traps Professional St

na Catchmaster 402 Baited Rat, Mouse and Snake Glue Traps Professional St, Natural

The rating is 3.9 stars out of 5. A small box contains two traps for mice, snakes and rats. The dimensions of each box are 0.8 х 5.3 х 11.4 inches. It contains no poison; the sticky surface does the trick. The only problem is that it is aimed at small snakes. The users claim that they weren’t able to trap snakes over 2-4 ft long.

Moreover, this trap requires you to predict all of the possible reptile trails. Placing it randomly means taking a chance that the snake won’t crawl into the trap, as there are no proper attractants devised yet (unless you glue a grasshopper to the trap). All in all, this is a good option, but it’s only good for smaller creatures.

Catchmaster: Check current price

5. HARRIS Supersized Snake Glue Trap

Another trap is Harris Supersized Snake Glue Trap. This thing is more expensive, but its dimensions are more impressive. It is a full-scale plastic trap which has some sticky tape inside. However, according to the customer feedback, its effectiveness is poorer than that of its competitors. There could be possible issues with the adhesive tape. Buying several traps would be quite costly.

Harris Snake Glue Trap, Super Sized for Snakes, Rats, Mice and Insects (1-Pack)

Still, thanks to its closed format, there is no chance of a puppy or a kitten getting trapped in the Snake Glue Trap. We have come across such complaints among the feedback of other traps.

Still, we have found recommendations regarding turning to cheaper insect and mice adhesive tapes rather than buying a brand name snake traps in the comments section. Some even advise making own traps! It’s too bad that these options certainly haven’t been scientifically tested!

HARRIS: Check current price

Snake Repellents and Traps Comparison Chart

4 Rules for Those Who Want to Keep Snakes Away

We are surrounded by dozens of reptiles which can be venomous or safe for humans, they inhabit water or land, and are big or small. Some of them prefer living in low grass while others nest in the basements and others hide in the woods. The types of snakes inhabiting North and South also differ greatly.

What conclusion are we to therefore draw? The first rule of eliminating snakes is that you have to identify which type of reptile you’re dealing with. Everything depends on that, first and foremost we’re speaking about the hazard level carried by these animals. Second of all, types of snakes will define the prevention methods. Third, specific elimination methods also depend on that.

National Pesticide Information Center has published a step-by-step manual on the matter. The best idea is to photograph the snakes you encounter near your accommodation, then to examine their appearance carefully and to compare with your official regional classifier.

Mind that the differences between the species can be almost unnoticeable! If you don’t carry a camera with you, you’ll have to rely on your memory. If you faced the snake at home, it’s better to trap this predator in a jar before removing it. After that you should take a closer look at it and act in conformity with the manual.

Snake classification varies in different states greatly depending on location. Speaking about the South-Western region, according to the University of Florida scientists’ local  snakes classification, only 6 out of 46 existing types are venomous. Compare it with the info of North-Eastern Maine specialists where only 9 types of snakes are encountered, none of which are venomous. However, as snakes are potentially harmful, never rely on amateurs, trust official sources only!

Victor VP364B Snake-A-Way Outdoor Snake Repelling Granules 4LB - Repels Againts Poisonous and Non-Poisonous Snakes , Red

The second rule of eliminating snakes is to never count on poisons and hardcore chemical repellents. First of all, 99% of snakes hunt live pray and are difficult to be trapped with bait. This is attested by the State of Louisiana Department of Wildlife. Second, such products are harmful for the environment, pets and even humans. It is not in vain that using many anti-snake pesticides is forbidden by law.

The third rule is don’t kill snakes if it is not necessary. The same scientists from the University of Louisiana claim that only 10% of snakes in the world are venomous. In the USA these statistics look even brighter. The rest of the creatures can only harm people indirectly and are essential for the ecosystem. Many scientific publications are devoted to the use of snakes in agriculture and their benefit for the wildlife, so it’s better to take care of them peacefully and avoid any unnecessary deaths.

The fourth and final rule is that use of traps and repellents does not free you from further prevention. All of them operate similarly and need upkeep, but depriving the snakes of living and breeding space is ideal. We’ll elaborate on that prevention at the end of our review. And now we’ll start with the products which will be handy for those whose houses have already been infested by snakes.

10 Important Facts about Venomous and Non Venomous Snakes Which Will Help You Repel Them from Your House

Let’s get better acquainted with the habits of these creatures. Our snake fact sheet will help many people stop hating them. It will be useful for those who are not afraid of them as well. It is still better to treat even the most harmless snakes with caution and respect. The following fact sheet is drawn up on the basis of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries specialists’ information.

  1. Snakes are dangerous for pets. They consume decorative fish, toads and even small kittens. The larger the snake: The larger it’s prey.
  2. Do not lean close to a snake. Snake theoretically cannot jump to the head level of a person, and it is a bite in the face of both venomous and non-venomous snakes that is the most dangerous and even toxic and it can leave a scar on your face.  That is why you do not to bend down and keep your distance when you try to get rid of them.
  3. Snakes are useful for farming and gardening. They eat mice, slugs and insect pests.  As a rule, it is beneficial to your mini-farm.
  4. Snakes are seasonal animals. Despite their love for the heat, many snakes become sluggish when it’s hot. They even hibernate in the summer. Similar behavior occurs in the winter. The snakes are most active when breeding (in the spring and beginning of summer) and when it’s simply warm.
  5. Snakes are kings of hunger strike. They can easily survive several weeks of famine. They also do well with a small pieces of prey for a long time. Snakes aren’t greedy creatures
  6. They smell with their tongue, hence the low effectiveness of aroma repellents mentioned earlier.
  7. Snakes give birth differently. They breed differently as well. Some of them lay eggs in the damp and protected area and wait for them to hatch for 2-2.5 months. Others, such as copperheads, water or rattlesnakes are viviparous reptiles.  Still there are others which lay eggs inside their bodies.
  8. Urbanization drives them closer to people. The snakes themselves aren’t exuberant to be humans’ neighbors. They are scared of lawn mowers, cars and ground vibration. But humans cut down the forests and other snakes’ natural habitat, so the reptiles out to look for shelter and food elsewhere.
  9. Snakes are deaf. They perceive sounds through ground vibration, so they still feel the steps of  humans
  10. Snakes are wanderers.  If your area is not invaded by snakes, it does not mean that they will not come.  Reptiles can travel in search of food, water, and mates at a very long distance.

7 Tips on How to Prevent Snakes From Getting in Your Backyard and House

Here we are, back to basics. Here are 7 tips for those who want to avoid the snakes’ coming near or inside their house.

  1. Clear the ground near your place. Snakes like to hide in the bushes, wood piles, piles of garbage, piles of leaves and tall grass. Clean them up, and reptiles will not feel comfortable on the bare ground. Professionals recommend you to regularly clean the attic and basement at home as the snakes can also hide there.
  2. Make sure your snakes have a strict diet. Mind their eating habits. Some snakes feed on toads, others consume fish, and others eat insects and rodents. Should your place be infested with such animals, you can expect the snakes coming as well. A mere fish pond in your backyard can easily attract certain kinds of water snakes. Rat snakes love all types of rats and chipmunks. King snakes can encroach on the birds and their eggs. Some smaller snakes, such as rough green snake, consume insects. Frogs are the favorite meal of hognose.
  3. Check your house for holes. Cracks and gaps, wiring and ventilation can become an open door for snakes. Insulate them as much as possible, so that these creatures cannot settle in next to you! Even a quarter-of-an-inch gap is potentially an entry into your home.
  4. Use piling system. Each house has certain objects which can’t be got rid of, such as the woodpile. The experts recommend attaching it to piles or something similar and hence make it hover over the ground.
  5. Be careful with the chimneys and windows. Some snakes crawl in the house through the chimneys, and even through the open windows. Beware, they are not Santa Claus!
  6. Feed your pets with caution. If you have dogs, cats or other pets, organize their mealtime properly. Theoretically, your pets’ food and drink can attract snakes, so make sure you put the remnants away so that other creatures cannot access them directly.
  7. Pay special attention to cool, damp and dark areas. Snakes love sun, but they prefer living in dark secluded places, hence the attraction of reptiles to wine cellars, barns and basements. You should check them more often and cautiously then other buildings.


There are no true universal snake repellents on the market.  Investing into such a product carries a certain degree of risk. Fortunately, you can hedge against it with smart prevention measures, buying traps and keeping the house clean and in order. The best measure is to build a solid fence around your place as it will help give you peace of mind and deter snakes from your yard and home. You should only resort to lethal products in extreme situations.

The main thing to bear in mind when eliminating snakes is that quick physical contact with them is always a bad idea. It’s better to examine the crawling creature, determine its type and only then to confront them.

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19 thoughts on “How to Repel Snakes: Best Natural and Chemical Snake Repellents”

  1. Brenda Wingert

    Is snake repellent safe for dogs when you sprayed around the house Please let me know and after that I do not want no more emails please

  2. Conrad Sheepered

    Is there any point in using a natural snake repellent? It’s the first time I’ve faced an issue of snakes infesting my lot so I have no idea how anything works. Thanks for advice in advance.

    1. Of course, there is a point. Buy the best snake repellent, such as Havahart 6400. It works perfectly and you won’t find any snakes around anymore

  3. Are snake repellent moth balls effective? The problem is my backyard is infested with snakes. I wouldn’t fuss if there was only one snake, but there are at least two of them. I’ve decided to try this repellent, but before use I’d like to know how it works.

    1. I don’t know the parameter of your test with moth balls. However, lived in Woodlands TX, where’s it flooded bad. My entire back yard was covered. I used an 8:1 ratio (sulphuric to moth balls. It cleared out the entire 1/2 acre yard in a couple hours. I’ve since used it and never a problem. Some say it works others say no.

  4. Do moth balls repel snakes? How to make them yourself to repel snakes at home and how to protect pets from them?

  5. It works! My area is inhabited by rattlesnakes and bears, and I often find these snakes in my backyard. I must have killed about seven of them already. Then I decided to test Havahart natural snake repellent! I have been madly happy not to find any snakes for three months already!

  6. I haven’t seen any snakes in summer and spring. Perhaps we were either in luck or we just happened to buy the best snake repellent.We’re gonna give it another shot this year!

  7. How to deter snakes when regular treatments are useless? Could there be something very attractive for them in my backyard, anyone?

    1. If you haven’t read what keeps snakes away, I’ll tell you. First of all, it is the repellents that you claim are helpless. Perhaps, the snakes have already made a nest, and that is why you can’t get rid of them. You must check your backyard thoroughly and once you find it, drive them away from there.

        1. Fox urine, diesel fuel and smoke do. I once wondered whether the moth balls keep snakes away, and I found out they do, so you can use them as well.

  8. Snake Repellent Granules from Ortho really works !! After buying this wonderful product, I no longer saw a snake around the house. Decent repellent!

  9. Breanna Rebeaud

    I killed 6 copperhead in 1 hour!!! I have 2 kids 5 dogs 1cat and 1 pig someone please help me!!!!! I just want to be able to breath a little easier

  10. Recently went with a friend to Australia, and faced such a problem: a lot, just a huge bunch of snakes everywhere, how these people live there I do not know! We settled in a small house. So, these snakes creep in our yard. Tell me what snake deterrent is best to use and why? Thanks!

  11. So, basically nothing works short of engaging the snake close up. It’s hard to believe that there can be so many products on the market and each one short of glue traps has been poo pooed. I guess there’s always the shovel.

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