Snake Repellents

If you have just seen a couple of snakes in your yard or garden, you would probably like to know how to get rid of them. You know that snakes are beneficial to have around because they eat rodents and insect pests so you have decided that you won't kill them, but you still want them to go away. What to do?

There are several methods for discouraging snakes from either coming on to your property or staying if they are already there. One controversial method for ridding one's yard of snakes is snake repellent. There are people who swear by one or more of the snake repellents on the market. They have “tried and true” testimonials for each of the repellent types.

These repellents work on the principle that the smell is offensive to the snake. Every species of snake has a Jacobson's Organ, which is a highly sensitive smell and taste receptor. The bitter taste and offensive odor of the repellent ingredients are supposed to drive snakes away.

However, there are others that bluntly state that snake repellents don't work. We will take a look at a couple of possibilities and discuss their effectiveness.

Granular Repellent
There is a granular repellent on the market that combines sulfur and naphthalene and is touted to repel both poisonous and non-poisonous snakes. It works by temporarily disrupting the sensory receptors in the Jacobson's Organ, which is an auxiliary olfactory organ. The odor disorients the snake and causes it to leave the treated area in search of fresh air. One specific brand of this repellent claims to be harmless to humans and the environment when used according to directions. The granules are sprinkled on the ground around the perimeter of the area you want to discourage snakes from entering. It should be distributed in bands up to 12 inches wide to discourage all types of snakes, including rattlesnakes.

Spray Repellent
There are several spray repellents on the market. Some come ready to use while some are in concentrated form and need to be diluted and poured into a common household spray bottle. Others can be used in a larger sprayer such as is used to spray fertilizer or weed killer.

The spray repellent is easy and convenient to use. It can be sprayed just about anywhere outdoors, around the garden area, flower beds, swimming pools, fences, foundations, wood piles, or anywhere you may have seen a snake. It can be taken on camping trips and sprayed around your tent to keep snakes out.

Most of the spray repellents contain naphthalene. This is the component that emits the odor that is supposedly so offensive to snakes that they will leave. Naphthalene can be somewhat harmful to humans and animals, particularly small ones in both categories. It definitely should not be ingested.

Naphthalene is a derivative of coal tar or crude oil. It is also formed when certain things burn. It is found in cigarette smoke, car exhaust, and forest fire smoke. We know that those things are damaging to our health, so it is wise to use naphthalene very carefully, if at all. Theoretically, however, the amount of naphthalene in the snake repellents is supposed to be small enough to not be harmful to people, but just enough to be offensive to a snake's sense of smell.

Sulfur-Based Spray Repellent
There are also spray repellents that are sulfur-based rather than containing naphthalene. These are safer to use, both for people and animals and for the environment. This repellent also supposedly works on the olfactory sensors of the snake, causing them to leave the treated area.

Mothballs are another form of snake repellent. They contain naphthalene as the active ingredient. They are often mixed with kitty litter and then spread around the perimeter of the area where snakes are unwanted. Always use plastic gloves and a protective face mask when handling mothballs. There is the issue of the naphthalene being harmful to pets and children. If they are ingested, seek medical help right away.

All of these snake repellents are highly debated as to whether or not they work. If you read the advertisements of the various brands and types of repellents, you will believe that each one will do its work most effectively; testimonials abound. They make be effective in certain situations or if used properly. There are other people to will claim that none of these types of snake repellents work at all. They claim they have tried everything and nothing works.

The most effective method to ensure that your property stays snake-free is to keep it clutter-free. Keep your lawn mowed, trash cleared away, and wood piles kept neat and stacked tightly. Snakes like cool, dark places to hide, so if you keep your property as free of hiding places as possible, you will reduce the likelihood of snakes moving in.

Read the How to get rid of snakes page for helpful information and to learn more about Snake Repellents

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