How to Repel Snakes | Updated for 2023 (2023)

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Updated for 2023


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For many homeowners, seeing snakes is the most dreaded of all pests. Whether or not snakes are venomous is hardly the point, as many people suffer from serpentophobia—an abnormal fear of snakes.

common species

Since it can be difficult for homeowners to easily identify venomous and non-venomous snakes, it's best to seek professional pest control when you encounter snakes near your home. Let's start with the most common non-poisonous species:

garter snake

Most of them are harmless, but some have mild venom and cannot harm humans. Garter snakes stay near water sources and are most common near swamps, gardens, and meadows. This species also has a sense of time, being the first to shed wear and tear (a slowed metabolism in winter) and the first to mate. Garter snakes move around during the day, looking for prey such as frogs, fish, newts, and even birds.

How to identify:
  • most common snake in north america
  • Adult sizes range from 15-36 inches
  • Found from Canada to Florida and throughout the eastern United States
  • Women are usually 50% larger than men
  • Usually yellow to pale green with tan, yellow, or orange streaks
  • Overwinter in logs, tree stumps, rock piles, and even spaces under roads and buildings
water snake

Although these snakes are not venomous, they can easily be mistaken for venomous water snakes (or cottonmouths). As the name suggests, you'll find it near a body of water—a favorite spot for fish, frogs, toads, and newts. This species is characterized by a narrower, rounder head and an elongated body. Unfortunately, water snakes can be aggressive when approached.

How to identify:
  • Most common in the southern and eastern United States
  • Adults can reach nearly 5 feet in length
  • Females are heavier and longer than males
  • Colors range from brown to gray to olive green
gopher snake

The appearance of gopher snakes can be deceiving, as they look dangerous, even resembling rattlesnakes, but are actually non-venomous. However, their loud hiss and vibrating tail make them more difficult to distinguish from rattlesnakes. Fortunately, their favorite homes are not densely populated. Gopher snakes live in forests, desert areas, grasslands, rocky cliffs, and undergrowth. They get their name from their taste for gophers (their favorite prey), although they also eat foxes and coyotes.

(Video) Easy way to repel snakes!

How to identify:
  • Common in Midwestern and Western states and as far south as West Texas
  • grow to three to eight feet
  • cream to light brown
  • Active during the day, but often found in underground burrows

common venomous snake

Each of the species below is a member of the pit viper family, which means these snakes have heat-sensing pits on the sides of their heads between the eyes and nostrils. These pits are used to sense temperature changes, which often lead to the presence of prey. All pit vipers are also known for their triangular heads, thick bodies, and ridged scales. Again, if you find pests on your property, it's best to call for pest control.


A member of the pit viper family (which includes the sambar and copperhead), they get their name from the distinctive "quack" sound they make at the end of their tail, which can be startling. Despite their ominous sounds, rattlesnakes are generally not aggressive and prefer to stay away from humans and large animals.

How to identify:
  • The average range for an adult is three to four feet
  • More than 30 known species
  • Most abundant in the desert areas of the southwest, but also occasionally found in swamps of the southeast
  • Colors include brown, gray and black, cream and yellow
  • Bites are dangerous to humans and should be treated immediately
Water Moccasin (“Cottonmouth”)

Although this species is the only venomous water snake in North America, it is not aggressive and will only bite when threatened. It is also a year-round snake that is active both day and night, especially in summer. Sambar's favorite prey include fish, small mammals, birds and other reptiles.

How to identify:
  • Adults range in length from two to four feet
  • Found in the southeastern United States, from southern Virginia to eastern Texas
  • Native to swamps, swamps, ditches and near ponds, lakes and streams
  • Body color ranges from dark brown to black to olive
  • Bites are dangerous for humans

This member of the venomous snake family is named for its copper-red head. This species can present challenges as its habitat varies widely, from wooded areas to suburban areas. In fact, copperheads will be comfortable in almost any space with ample sun and shelter. Among pit vipers, this is the species most likely to bite.

How to identify:
  • Average length is two to three feet
  • The nests can be seen from as far south as the northeastern states to West Texas
  • May look for wood piles, abandoned farm buildings, junkyards, etc.
  • Bite moderately dangerous to humans

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How to Repel Snakes | Updated for 2023 (3)

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Gather the tools you need

How to Repel Snakes | Updated for 2023 (5)

a good flashlight

How to Repel Snakes | Updated for 2023 (6)

Snake pliers

How to Repel Snakes | Updated for 2023 (7)

snake trap

Step 1: Understand the habits of snakes

Because snakes are cold-blooded, they will always look for places that provide warmth, moisture, and a source of food. In other words, they look for a convenient home where there are plenty of rodents nearby. While snakes can be unnerving to homeowners, they are not known to cause any damage to the home or building.

Step 2: Know where to look

Spotting shed snakeskin on or near your property means you should check the area. But proceed with caution: you'll need protective clothing, a flashlight, and snake claws so you can control a live snake from a distance (if you spot one). You should probe outdoor areas such as:

  • yard debris
  • tall grass and shrubs
  • storage under a building or shed
  • piles of wood
  • twigs or branches that reach the roof

If you find snake skin indoors, your search will change, as snakes are good at hiding in tight spaces. Snakes are capable climbers and you will want to check locations in your home such as:

  • Close to heat and water pipes
  • piles of clothes and/or boxes
  • wall frames and rafters
  • near and behind appliances
  • Small cracks or openings near doors and windows
Step 3. Consider exclusion or elimination

Since most homeowners have no experience with snakes and may not be aware of the differences between species, it is recommended that you consult a pest control professional for advice on protecting your property and eliminating any potential habitat. A professional can also explain whether your state has laws about properly excluding certain snakes.

weather and snakes

As mentioned earlier, snakes are cold-blooded and will look for opportunities to conserve heat. Some species hibernate while others hibernate during the winter. It simply means that their metabolism slows down significantly, and they are much less active. Snakes will try to eat more before they rot so they can survive the winter. However, thinner snakes may not survive this season.

Spring temperatures signal the end of hibernation and hibernation, and the snakes begin to bask and begin mating behavior. In fact, some types will seek out a mate as soon as the climate warms.

Snakes can be a huge fear for many people, and seeing a snake in your yard can terrify anyone. Fortunately, snakes are not a common pest. If you do see them on your property, chances are it's not poisonous and just passing by. It even helps get rid of rodents and other pests that can damage your plants and enter your home. The main problem, however, is that they are very good at hiding and can easily be stepped on by pets or children - a sure way to get bitten.

It is best to leave snakes alone until you have the proper equipment and knowledge to remove them from your home or yard. Before starting any treatment, make sure you have successfully inspected and identified the species of snake you are dealing with and determined if they are venomous. After that, you can take the usual precautions and learn how to get rid of snake problems the first time you notice any signs of a snake.


Snakes like to hide so they can easily sneak up on their prey and catch them. To prevent them from colonizing your yard and home, there are a few steps you can take to make your yard inhospitable to them and eliminate most of the hiding places they seek out:

  • Clean up your yard.Take the time to remove debris, litter and vegetation that has accumulated on your lawn. It is best to rake the ground regularly and not leave piles of leaves or branches behind. This also applies to toys, decorations and even stones.
  • Trim trees and shrubs.Don't let your trees, bushes grow weeds. Not only do they provide perfect cover for snakes, but they also create the ideal environment for insects such as mosquitoes and cockroaches to thrive.
  • Keep your grass short.An overgrown yard can be unsightly, so it's a constant reminder of when the grass needs to be mowed. This step is also especially important if you have pets and children, as snakes like to hide in tall grass. If they are out of sight in the middle of the yard, they are more likely to be stepped on, which can irritate them and cause them to bite.
  • Eliminates moisture.In addition to the hiding space a backyard provides, they also tend to provide the perfect climate for snakes—cool and humid. Your yard likely has many holes and water-holding objects that are attractive to snakes. After it rains, check for standing water. Fill in any sod or holes in the yard as you can, and take the time to drain birdhouses and planters that may still contain rainwater. Cleaning up the yard goes hand in hand with this step because you're also removing debris that tends to absorb moisture and retain it.
  • cover.In areas that are already covered around your property, you can switch to sharper materials such as rock chips and crushed pine cones. Snakes don't want to move over these materials, so they act as a deterrent.
Treating Your Property for Rodent Control

Rodents are a food source for snakes, so keeping them out of your yard and home will keep most snakes away from you. If you don't have any food on your property, they may just walk over and move on to find their next meal. If you see rats or any other critters, turn your energies toward eliminating them before moving on to snake treatment. Even if you eliminate snakes, if your home remains a free buffet of snakes, they will always come back.

Remember again that a snake here or there can actually help keep rodents at bay. If you do not experience any animal infestation, it is best to leave them alone and let nature develop.

(Video) Do Snake Repellents Work? Solar Snake Repellent / Repeller. Do these Protect Your Home From Snakes?

close your home

Having snakes in your yard is one thing, but letting them into your home can turn into an entirely different nightmare. Take the necessary steps to close all entrances to your home so that it is impossible for snakes to enter your home.

  • Check your home for cracks and gaps, and notice if the space around windows and doors is larger than it should be. Also pay special attention to gutters, vents, and small spaces - these may have openings around them, or may simply require a screen on top to eliminate the possibility of them serving as entry points.
  • Seal any small openings you're concerned about with caulk, expandable foam, or a rubber sealant such as weatherstripping. This will help eliminate possible hiding places for the snake.

How to Repel Snakes | Updated for 2023 (10)

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insect repellent

If you've started seeing snakes around your property, the best way to prevent snake infestation is to start making your home less attractive to snakes. There are many types of insect repellants you can buy at the store, usually in granular or liquid spray form. They contain chemicals that give off a nasty smell to snakes, so they won't try to get near them. You can also find non-toxic snake repellants on the market that are safe to use around pets and children.


Some plants seem to have a nasty smell for snakes, so they're a good choice, especially if you spot snakes in and around your garden. These include marigold, garlic and lemongrass. Some of these plants also have the property of repelling insects such as mosquitoes.


Similar to the reason plants can deter snakes, some types of essential oils are odors that snakes cannot tolerate. These are great natural snake repellents to use around your home as they are also non-toxic. Some oils that have been shown to repel snakes include cinnamon oil, clove oil, and eugenol.

DIY Essential Oil Spray

raw material

  • 10 drops of essential oil of your choice
  • 1 cup of water


Multiply the essential oil formula as needed and mix the solution into a spray bottle. The oil will separate from the water, so be sure to shake the bottle before each use.

You can even spray the spray directly on the snakes to make them run away, but if you're not sure if the snake is venomous, it's not advisable to handle the snake up close. If you know certain areas around your home where snakes congregate, you can also dip a cloth, cotton ball or swab into the solution and place it on the area. This concentrates the smell and makes things worse for the snake.

Find out what the best snake deterrents are on the market.


There are some snake catchers on the market that you can easily buy at the store and install in your yard to remove snakes when you have a big problem. These traps come in different designs, but they generally lure snakes in with an attractive chemical smell, then trap them mechanically or with glue. Some traps kill the snake, while others capture the snake alive and release it elsewhere. But even if you're using a glue trap, you can free the snake by pouring oil into the trap. This will apply the glue and allow the snake to slide out. If you use a kill trap, be sure to research the type of snake you're catching and whether there are laws that apply to them. Some native and endangered snake species are protected by law, and it is illegal to kill or even injure them.

Traps are not an encouraged treatment because they may require you to be in contact with the snake while releasing it. Also, the chemicals used won't lure other animals, but curious pets can easily fall into the trap. Snake traps also require that you know where you can legally release the snake. Depending on the species, it may also be illegal to move it to another area without contacting professional help.

Before purchasing a snake trap, make sure you have successfully identified a snake and read all instructions carefully so you know what to do. You may even want to contact a professional to double check that you are doing everything correctly and that you know where you can release the snake.

(Video) How to keep snakes away from your house!

Snake-proof fences are one of the most laborious and expensive treatments, but they are one of the most effective. If you live in an area with a lot of snakes and you have children and pets, or if you know snakes in your neighborhood, it is recommended that you check out a snake enclosure. Although it can be expensive, a snake-proof fence is a good investment because as long as you keep the fence maintained, it will keep snakes out and you won't have to worry about any other disposal.

Snake fences can be made of wood, vinyl, plastic mesh or fabric, steel mesh, or netting fencing. No matter which material you decide to use, your snake fence will need to meet the following requirements:

  • It must be 6 inches deep into the ground.
  • It must completely surround the perimeter of your property.
  • If it's made of mesh material, it needs to be smaller than a quarter inch.
  • Fences must be unclimbable. This can be ensured by the material you use, or by making sure the fence slopes outward at a 30 degree angle.

Your fence only doesn't need to be tall, but if you want to use it as a privacy fence, you might as well invest in more material.


You are discouraged from removing snakes yourself. Especially if you don't know what species of snake you're dealing with, it's best to contact a wildlife control specialist who will be equipped with the proper tools and expertise to take the snake elsewhere. However, if you have determined that the snake is safe and know it will not pose a threat, there are steps you can take to carefully remove it from your property:

  • Before beginning any type of physical removal of the snake, make sure you are wearing long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, and a pair of heavy gloves. Even if the snake isn't venomous, it's best to take all the necessary precautions to avoid getting bitten by a snake.
  • If you're only dealing with one snake, you can simply sweep it into another area. If you feel like a snake is too close to your home, or it's in an area that's too close to you, such as if you're gardening or working in your garage or shed, then here's an easy solution.
  • If you have a larger snake on your property that looks like it might be causing problems for your family, you can purchase snake pliers to move it outside the perimeter of your property. The pliers allow you to hold the snake while maintaining a distance, so even if the snake starts to struggle, you are still safe.

Using the pliers, you should grab about 1/3 of the snake's body, not too close to the head or tail. Too close to the head can damage the snake, while too close to the tail will give it the space it needs to bite you. Once you have a firm grip on it, slowly lift it up, but don't leave it completely off the ground. Instead, drag it towards where you decide to move it.

With this method, snakes can easily slip back into your yard, so you'll want to use some type of repellent as well.

When to Call a Professional

Snakes considered invasive may need to be taken to specific areas, and there are laws protecting endangered and native snakes that determine what to do with them.

Notify a professional wildlife or pest control specialist immediately if you start noticing one of the following signs of infestation:

  • More than one snake.They don't live in groups, but if you see a snake with smaller, younger snakes, you'll know its eggs have hatched on your land.
  • snakeskin
  • nest or egg evidence

Even if you do think you can successfully remove snakes yourself, be sure to contact a professional or do the necessary research to find out what to do with your particular species. Snakes considered invasive may need to be taken to specific areas, and there are laws protecting endangered and native snakes that determine what to do with them.

If you can't definitively identify a snake in your home and you think it's a threat to your family's safety, call a professional. Otherwise, a snake will usually leave within a day without causing any damage to you or your yard. If you find a nonvenomous snake and don't know it to be dangerous or threatening, you can usually handle it yourself. Any venomous snake you see should be reported to a professional so they can deal with it in the best possible way and keep you safe from harm.

How to Repel Snakes | Updated for 2023 (13)

Want to get rid of snakes forever?

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(Video) How to keep snakes away from your home. Advice from a wildlife biologist.


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