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How to Keep Snakes Away From Your Yard and Home

Snake hiding in grass
Nina B / Shutterstock

Snakes of all types can be found in most regions of the U.S., so chances are you might come across one in your yard. Because some people often fear snakes (whether they’re poisonous or not), it can be challenging to think with a clear head when they’re around.

In this guide, we’ll discuss how to keep snakes away once they’ve made themselves at home. When you understand how to repel snakes and prevent them from coming into your yard, you’ll be able to avoid encounters.

The likelihood that a snake could be dangerous depends on where you live. Snakes like cobras and rattlesnakes are venomous and dangerous to humans, while harmless snakes include garter snakes, kingsnakes, racers, and rat snakes. You should always be careful around all unknown snakes because of potential snakebite dangers.

How to keep snakes out of your yard

Here are some tips for how to keep snakes out of your yard:

  • Avoid debris and rock piles: Don’t pile up rocks in landscaping features (or allow other debris to accumulate) as those are favorite hiding places for snakes.
  • Keep your grass short: Mow your lawn frequently because snakes tend to travel through tall grass.
  • Avoid excessive moisture: Avoid overwatering your lawn since moisture can attract what snakes like to eat (like rodents, birds, insects, and amphibians).
  • Use less mulch: Using mulch attracts snakes — as well as their prey — so use it sparingly or not at all.
  • Move firewood storage: Keep your firewood storage away from your home because snakes can hide in the small crevices.

Keep in mind that snakes like to hunt for food, so if you have a rodent issue, you may need to resolve that problem first. By picking up fallen fruit and other food sources for rodents, you’re preventing them from coming onto your property and attracting snakes.

How to keep snakes away from your home

Determining how to keep snakes away from your home involves understanding where they like to hide and what they like to eat. Here are some tips on how to keep snakes from entering your home:

  • Seal cracks around your foundation, on walkways, and around concrete porches.
  • Eliminate pests, like rodents, and take preventative measures to stop them from returning.
  • Install a fence that has a rigid mesh that’s at least two feet tall and bury it between two and four inches beneath the soil’s surface.
  • Birdhouses attract snakes and are an ideal hiding spot — so always keep an eye out when approaching and avoid installing them if your yard is prone to snakes.
  • Attach aluminum flashing to the bottom of the outside portion of existing fencing.
  • Make sure all screens on your doors and windows are tightly installed.
  • Use galvanized screening to cover drains and vents.

Knowing where snakes hide is one of the best ways to prevent their entry. For example, if there’s standing water near your home, a reliable heat source, or plentiful rodents, snakes may stop by for food or comfort. Avoid putting uncovered plastic bins or other containers near your home where snakes can hide. Snakes also like to hide behind appliances and out-of-reach areas.

How to get rid of snakes who have taken up residence

If you notice snakes are residing in your yard or around your home, the last thing you want is for them to enter it. In this section, we’ll discuss tips for getting rid of snakes once they take up residence in or around your home.

  • Sprinkle oils: Some essential oils deter snakes because they don’t like the smell. Examples include cinnamon, clove, and eugenol.
  • Use DIY repellents: Repel snakes using DIY solutions including ammonia, human hair, and vinegar.
  • Use non-lethal traps: Set non-lethal traps out to catch snakes so that you can catch them humanely and release them in a new location far from your home.
  • Use repelling plants: Snakes don’t like the smell of particular plants, including garlic, lemongrass, and marigold. Bonus: Some of the plants that snakes don’t like also tend to repel insects.
  • Use smoke: Snakes are sensitive to certain smells and keeping a smoking fire burning in a firepit will definitely keep them from hanging around. (However, be mindful if you live in areas that have burn bans or frequent winds and wildfire concerns.)
  • Keep predators: Chickens, turkeys, and pigs will kill and/or eat snakes, so if you have the space and your area allows farm animals, consider keeping some around.
  • Contact pest control experts: Sometimes it’s best to let the pros handle snake removal, especially if you aren’t sure if the snake in your yard or house is venomous or not.

Avoid common mistakes when dealing with snakes

  • Avoid inhumane tactics like glue traps.
  • Don’t use mothballs or over-the-counter chemical repellents. These are ineffective, but can also cause your family or pets to become ill.
  • Don’t get close to a snake unless you are completely certain it is not venomous.
  • Smith’s Pest Management offers these descriptions to help you ID the snake: Venomous Snakes in the U.S. include rattlesnakes, copperheads, cottonmouths/water moccasins, and coral snakes and often have triangular heads, thin vertical pupils in yellow or green eyes, and come in various colors. Nonvenomous snakes in the U.S. include milk, black, green, or garter snakes and often have rounded or spoon-shaped heads, and rounded pupils, and also come in various colors.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are snakes dangerous? 

Despite the fears many people have of snakes, the majority of the 3,000 species worldwide are harmless. When you come into contact with a snake, it’s most likely not dangerous.

Are there DIY snake repellents? 

Many DIY solutions are available for repelling snakes, including planting lemongrass and garlic or spreading essential oils. Other DIY prevention tips include keeping your lawn mowed, weeding your garden, and trimming your shrubs and trees.

Are snakes attracted to water in a yard? 

Water attracts the food that snakes like to eat, so yes: They’re likely to hunt for food in your yard’s water features. Snakes will often eat insects, amphibians, and other reptiles, so keeping them at bay is key.

What scents do snakes dislike? 

There are many scents snakes don’t like including smoke, cinnamon, cloves, onions, garlic, and lime. You can use oils or sprays containing these fragrances or grow plants featuring these scents.

How are snakes getting into my house? 

Snakes sneak into homes through gaps around doors or cracks in your foundation. They also look for gaps in your siding and places to hide in large plants that you may bring inside. If you have a rodent problem, snakes might find ways to get into your basement, attic, or crawl spaces.

Can snakes climb fences? 

Snakes can’t climb in the traditional sense of going straight up, but if there is a rock or something else against the fencing to use, they can climb about half of their body length. If you want a fence to keep out snakes, you’ll need to dig further into the ground than you normally would do because snakes are very skilled at getting under fences.

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