Some people handle sudden and unexpected encounters with serpents surprisingly well, while others—not so much. Most human snake bites happen when people tamper with snakes to move them. No matter the case, a snake repellent can help.
Snake repellents, combined with proper landscape maintenance, help people and snakes avoid unwanted encounters. Repellents use scent or sound to create an uncomfortable environment for snakes. But not all snake repellents are equal or provide the same results. If you’re looking to avoid snake encounters this season, read our suggestions to find the best snake repellent for your lawn or garden.
- BEST OVERALL: Ortho Snake B Gon Snake Repellent Granules
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Safer Brand Snake Shield Repelling Granules Repellent
- BEST ALL NATURAL: Enviro Pro Snake Scram
- BEST LIQUID: Exterminator’s Choice Snake Defense Spray
- BEST ULTRASONIC: Brison Ultrasonic Pest Repeller
Before You Buy a Snake Repellent
Consider the hazards of snake repellents before buying. Some scent-based snake repellents have active ingredients that are harmful to people or pets who come into direct contact with them. They may also have a potent aroma, making it unpleasant to be in the area. Particularly troublesome snake infestations may require a multipronged approach, and it can help to try other methods as well, such as adding snake-repellent plants in addition to buying repellent products.
Be careful when applying snake repellent for the first time because if garden snakes, bull snakes, or even rattlesnakes are in the vicinity, they can become more agitated and aggressive. Keep people and pets away during and immediately after treatment to avoid encounters with snakes.
How We Chose the Best Snake Repellents
We researched the most sought-after products to repel snakes in their respective categories and discovered that the best options are determined by their type, coverage area, strength, longevity, and other special features included by top brands.
To ensure each of our top picks could get rid of snakes around homes, pets, and children, the powerful odored and ultrasonic snake repellents listed above are all-natural and safe. Each odored product is made with essential oils like cinnamon, geraniol, castor, peppermint oil, cedarwood, clove oil, rosemary, and more to irritate and repel snakes. Some options even leave a pleasant scent behind for humans. Alternatively, ultrasonic repellers will not irritate your ears or your pets.
These picks repel snakes—as well as some other pests—out of areas measuring about 1,200 to 2,100 square feet for a few weeks to a month at a time. After that, they typically need to be reapplied, and most are capable of withstanding light rain. Some of these options have time-release odors, come in easy-to-use spray bottles or pour bags, or begin working immediately.
Our Top Picks
We have reviewed the best snake repellent options available from trusted brands in the industry. The best snake repellents are effective, easy to use, and safe for people and pets when used as directed. Read on for reviews of the top picks.
Snake B Gon is a granular, scent-based snake repellent made with essential oils of cinnamon, geraniol, castor, peppermint oil, and clove, common scents that irritate a snake’s senses. It doesn’t smell offensive to the human nose, however. The repellent begins working immediately upon application, preventing snakes from entering, nesting, and foraging in the treated area. It is safe for people, pets, and plants when used as directed. The long-lasting formula is rain-resistant and lasts up to 30 days per application.
Apply Snake B Gon by shaking the granules directly from the container and evenly covering the area you wish to protect. A 2-pound package covers up to 1,440 square feet. Although it’s resistant to light rain, it’s a good idea to reapply it in the event of heavy rain.
- Type: Odored
- Coverage area: 1,440 square feet per bottle
- Intensity: Strong
- Longevity: 30 days
- Formula smell is not offensive to humans and is easy to apply indoors
- Product is made with natural ingredients; no harsh chemicals are used
- Begins working immediately and through light rains
- Ample quantity provided in large 2-pound bottles
- May not work after continuous heavy rain
Get the Ortho snake repellent at Amazon or Ortho.
Snake Shield is a granular, scent-based snake repellent made with natural essential oils of cedarwood, clove, and cinnamon. It has a pleasant smell to humans, but is unpleasant to snakes. The strong odor immediately begins working to protect the treated area. Snake Shield is entirely safe around people, pets, and plants.
Apply Snake Shield by shaking the granules directly from the bag to create an 8-inch-wide barrier strip around or beside the targeted area to irritate a snake’s senses. Be sure to create a continuous barrier strip with no gaps. The barrier keeps snakes out for weeks. In the event of heavy rain, reapply for best results.
- Type: Odored
- Coverage area: Unlisted
- Intensity: Strong
- Longevity: 90 days
- Made with natural ingredients, so it is safe to use around pets and people
- Leaves a pleasant smell for humans, but snakes hate it
- Time-release scent can remain effective for up to 3 months
- Unlisted coverage area; single bag might not last long
- Must be reapplied after heavy rainfall for best results
Get the Safer Brand snake repellent at Amazon, Lowe’s, Tractor Supply Co., The Home Depot, or Walmart.
Snake Scram is a powerful granular scent-based snake repellent. It is made from natural essential oils of rosemary, cinnamon, clove, cedar, and garlic, plus peanut hulls and sulfur. The smell is strong but not unpleasant, so it helps to seal unused product in the container for storage. Snake Scram is safe for people, plants, and pets. It begins working immediately to clear snakes away from the treated area and keep them out.
The 3.5-pound package covers about 2,100 square feet. Spread it evenly over the target area, shaking it directly from the convenient shaker bag. Reapply every 2 weeks after the initial treatment for complete control.
- Type: Odored
- Coverage area: 600 square feet per pound
- Intensity: Strong
- Longevity: 2 weeks
- Made with natural ingredients, so it is safe to use around people, plants, and pets
- Begins working immediately; ideal for quick relief from snakes
- Shaker bag design makes it easy to to apply the product
- Requires reapplication every 2 weeks after initial use
Get the Snake Scram snake repellent at Amazon, Lowe’s, The Home Depot, or Walmart.
The Snake Defense natural snake repellent is a liquid scent-based product made of clove oil, peppermint oil, and other non-chemical, nontoxic ingredients. The spray delivers a quick punch of overpowering scent that quickly moves snakes away but is safe for people and pets. Use caution when applying this product where snakes are known to hang around, since the product could agitate tem to the point that they become somewhat aggressive before moving out.
Use Snake Defense as an outdoor perimeter treatment for homes, sheds, barns, and vehicles. It is especially useful early in the year when snakes are becoming active, and late in the year as they seek shelter from cooling temperatures. Each application lasts between 2 and 3 weeks.
- Type: Odored
- Coverage area: Unlisted
- Intensity: Strong
- Longevity: 2 to 3 weeks, depending on weather conditions
- Nontoxic mix is safe to use around kids and pets
- Spray is ideal for use as a perimeter treatment
- Easy-to-use spray bottle is suitable for use both indoors and outdoors
- May have an overpowering scent when used indoors
- Unlisted coverage area; may only cover small areas
Get the Exterminator’s Choice snake repellent at Amazon or Walmart.
Unlike other snake repellent products, Brison ultrasonic repellent doesn’t use granules or sprays, just electricity. It produces optical, electromagnetic, and ultrasonic waves that disturb and disorient snakes and other household pests. The sounds produced by this device are inaudible to and safe for people and pets.
Simply plug the unit into a household wall electrical outlet, turn it on, and that’s it. The ultrasonic waves cover an area up to 1,100 square feet, although walls and furniture can weaken or interrupt effectiveness. It takes 3 to 4 weeks for the best results. This product is for indoor use.
- Type: Ultrasonic
- Coverage area: 1,100 square feet
- Intensity: Strong
- Longevity: Unlimited
- Emits optical, electromagnetic, and ultrasonic waves to deter snakes
- Does not disturb pets or humans; repels only small pests
- No odors or chemicals, so a safe option for families and those with sensitive noses
- Furniture and walls may make the devices less effective
Get the Brison ultrasonic repellent at Amazon (2-pack).
What to Consider When Choosing a Snake Repellent
Snake repellents use either scent or ultrasonic soundwaves that irritate or confuse the senses to keep snakes out of the area. Some products are best suited for small spaces or indoor use, while others are best for large outdoor areas. When shopping for a snake repellent, consider these features to determine which product will best suit the location.
Most snake repellents are scent-based, which poses a challenge for scent-loving snakes. In addition to smelling through their nostrils like other creatures do, snakes employ a sensitive pair of organs in the roof of their mouth, called the vomeronasal or Jacobson’s organ, to do detailed sniffing. They flick the air with their tongues and pull in scent particles that primarily help them track their prey. Odors of scent-based repellents irritate or confuse snakes.
Odor strength, not stinkiness, is the key to success. Some of the best products use pleasant fragrances like cinnamon and clove. The best scent-based snake repellents have higher concentrations of active ingredients, so they work better and last longer.
Even someone with the worst snake phobia would get tired of reapplying repellent every day. Plus, longer-lasting products are easier on the budget. The best snake repellents stay effective for up to a month, although heavy rain will make even the best products dissipate faster. Long-lasting repellency comes from higher concentrations of active ingredients and granular formulations resistant to rain.
There are times and places when liquid snake repellent is more user-friendly than long-lasting granular formulas. In those instances, go for the more potent, high-concentration formula. Again, a stronger scent is more effective from the outset and lasts longer.
The most popular snake repellents are scent- or odor-based because they can be applied almost anywhere. These products use various natural essential oils or chemical compounds that produce strong scents to overwhelm the snake’s sense of smell, decreasing its ability to detect prey, and may also be a physical irritant. Uncomfortable and confused snakes simply move out of the treated area. Odor-based repellents are available for indoor and outdoor use.
Another snake repellent option is ultrasonic sound. Electric devices that plug into household electrical sockets emit noise outside the human hearing range that snakes can’t stand. They eventually leave the area because of the discomfort. These products have a limited range making them most appropriate for indoor use.
- Odor: The best scent-based snake repellents have a strong but pleasant smell and are long-lasting and easy to apply.
- Ultrasonic frequency: The best ultrasonic snake repellers cover a large-sized room and produce no audible noise to human ears.
Tips For Using a Snake Repellent
Snakes are an essential part of the natural world as they help to keep pest populations in check. But most people would rather not be surprised to find them in the backyard or inside the house. Although venomous snake bites are quite rare, they are very serious and sometimes deadly when they do occur. Even a nonvenomous snakebite is painful and can lead to infection or illness. If there is a concern about snakes or snake holes on the property, the first course of action is to eliminate what attracts them.
Like other predators, snakes spend most of their lives either pursuing their next meal or resting. Places that commonly attract snakes are ones with food or a sheltered resting place. The most effective way to minimize the risk of snake encounters is to eliminate the habitat that supports snake prey like small rodents and large insects, and areas that snakes can use for shelter.
Tall grass, shrubs with dense foliage to the ground, piles of leaves and sticks, and fallen fruits and nuts make a perfect home for mice and rats, causing these areas to attract snakes. Snakes will come around to find them. A water source such as a decorative landscape pond, or even a low spot that holds water after rain, seals the deal. This is the perfect backyard habitat for snakes.
Practice proper yard maintenance to eliminate shelter and food sources that attract snakes and rodents. Mow regularly, remove landscape debris promptly, and clean up fallen fruit and nuts beneath trees.
Feed pets indoors, limit bird feeding, and cleanup pet and bird food spills. Don’t keep a year-round firewood pile that can also shelter snakes. Burn up all firewood before snakes become active in spring. Consider eliminating decorative landscape ponds and bird nest boxes, both of which can attract snakes. After removing snake habitat, snake repellent can help keep them away.
- Snake repellents can get rid of snakes that are still in the area after cleaning up the landscape.
- Snake repellents keep snakes out by creating an unpleasant, unwelcome environment for them.
- It’s nice to get peace of mind, knowing that your home is now a snake-free zone after a few simple changes in habitat and a straightforward application of snake repellent.
Now that you’ve had a chance to select the right snake repellent for your lawn or garden, check out the answers to a few frequently asked questions.
Q. What keeps snakes away from your house?
When there is no food or shelter attraction for snakes, combined with an unpleasant environment, they stay away.
Q. What smells do snakes hate?
Snakes hate the scents of cinnamon oil, clove oil, and ammonia.
Q. How do I rid my yard of snakes?
To eliminate snakes in the yard, first eliminate the habitat that attracts them and their prey. Then use a snake repellent to drive them out and keep them out. There are also certain plants said to repel snakes. Among these are marigold, onions, and garlic.
Q. Can snakes come up through the toilet?
Yes, either from the top or bottom. More commonly, snakes that find their way into the house, and then to the bathroom can get into the toilet in search of water. Much less commonly, snakes can also get into the sewer and then follow the sewer pipe and plumbing up into your toilet.
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