Snakes creep me out. I don’t mind them as long as they keep their distance, but I don’t want them slithering all around our property either. We have to find ways to coexist with snakes whether we like it or not.
While I don’t like snakes, I don’t care to kill them. They do serve a purpose, and they can also be detrimental (they will eat eggs). But, they also eat mice and rats neither of which I want running around my house or property. So, while I do run the risk of them getting into our coop, we’ve found ways to combat them naturally and they stay in their part of the world and we all stay in ours. They keep the mice away, I keep them out of my chicken coop. It’s a win-win, really.
The problem with keeping them where they belong and away from our home can be difficult, though. We have children, dogs, and other animals all around our little homestead. And putting something down that could potentially harm myself, my family or my critters really isn’t an option.
Not only do I have to worry about the wrong someone or something getting into a harmful chemical, I have to worry about what it could potentially be doing to the land. I believe we are meant to care for the land and scattering chemicals all over it doesn’t fulfill that obligation. Since I don’t like snakes, but I think I like chemicals even less, I needed to find natural ways to repel them. Since we live close to water and a wooded area, they are bound to come around, but we keep them at bay, naturally.
I’ve found a few effective ways to keep snakes in their side of the woods. While adding a few of these options is your best bet, any one of them will help your problem a little, though adding several options is going to be more effective.
How to Naturally Repel Snakes
Note: I commonly see people suggest mothballs. While these aren’t really natural anyway, please, don’t do this. Not only is it potentially illegal (using a product against label instructions is a crime) it can harm your children, pets, livestock, or other wildlife.
West Indian Lemongrass
Lemongrass is a great herb to grow on your homestead. It repels mosquitos, ticks, and also helps repel snakes.
It is incredibly easy to grow and I really like how it looks. It’s pretty, effective, and has medicinal properties as well as culinary uses.
This herb will help keep snakes away from your property as well as ticks and mosquitos if it is planted around the perimeter. We pot ours and bring it indoors for overwintering because it can’t stay in the ground in our climate. We put several pots out around our deck all summer long and it helps keep all of the creepy crawlies and biting buts away. It’s definitely a favorite and I make it a point to grow it every year.
Garlic is thought to be one of the best plants to use to repel snakes. And if you plant garlic, all the better. But, you can use some of your fresh garlic to make a spray that you can spray in the areas you want to try to keep snakes out of. This spray is perfect for places like doorways, windowsills and crawlspace entrances. It could also be used in areas around your chicken coop or other outbuildings. But be forewarned it takes a decent amount and you will have to reapply it every time it rains or every 2-3 weeks.
- 10 Cloves of Garlic
- Garlic Infused Oil (how to make infused oils)
- Small glass jar
- Place a bit of water ( a couple tablespoons) in the bottom of a blender. Add the cloves of garlic and blend until you have a paste.
- Add the oil and blend up a bit more. Then, pour the liquid into a jar and keep the lid on for at least an hour before using.
- Put a couple of drops wherever you want to repel snakes. Doorways, windowsills, crawlspace entrances, around the perimeter of your home, wherever.
- You’ll need to reapply the solution if it rains or every 2-3 weeks for it to remain effective.
Mother in Laws Tongue
Mother in laws tongue is also known as the snake plant. It is a succulent variety that has sharp leaves. It doesn’t have an odor, unlike garlic and lemongrass but snakes do not care for its appearance. This succulent type of plant is attractive and very easy to grow. Water it a couple times a week and you’re good. In cool climates like ours, this is another potted plant that gets set outside in the warmer months. Down south you can keep it outdoors year round.
Clove and Cinnamon Oil
There are natural snake repellent products out there and they generally contain these two essential oils. These oils can be mixed together in equal parts and sprayed around areas that you want to repel snakes from. This mixture is not very effective on hard surfaces, though. You need something porous (like a wood deck) or the perimeter. Like the garlic spray you will have to reapply this regularly to see its benefits.
Keep your yard mowed, your garden weeded and your shrubs trimmed
Mice love tall grass, overgrown shrubbery, overgrown plants, and garden areas where there is a lot of cover. Since mice love these areas, you’re going to find snakes there.
I know how hard it can be to maintain everything, especially when most of us work as well as homestead. But, the more trimmed and cleaned up the areas around your property are, the less likely you’re going to attract snakes. I try to keep our yard mowed at least once a week. We moved our hostas further from the foundation block, and I try… try to keep the garden weeded. Our garden sits right behind our garage, so I know if I don’t have it weeded there will be mice in the garage and snakes slithering all around the yard (close to our coop). Weeding can be hard work and time consuming, but it keeps the snakes (and rodents) away.
Don’t give them a place to hide
Same idea as the overgrown grass, shrubbery and garden. Mice like to hide in those kinds of areas and so… what else are you going to find there? Snakes. They will slither in there waiting for their next meal and also to stay out of sight and in the shade.
If you have piles of wood, metal, trash, or anything else like most of us homesteaders do… you’ll probably find snakes in it. We try to keep our piles to a minimum and keep them picked up off of the ground. Right now I have sawhorses holding up our wood pile off the ground. Now, if I could just keep all those dang wolf spiders out of there….
Keep feed tightly enclosed
Again with the rodents. Where you attract rodents, you’ll attract snakes. And leaving food open out here would result in the neighborhood raccoons having a feast anyway right outside the chicken coop. Keep all feed, pet food, chicken, rabbit, horse, goat, whatever you’ve got going on… in a tightly lidded container. We use metal trashcans with tight fitting lids to store our feed in.
Just whatever you use, make sure the lid fits well and try not to sprinkle too much feed all over the ground if your chickens aren’t going to eat it. Though ours like to get in the bowl and scratch it out all over the ground anyway….
If you keep the rodents out, you won’t have near the problem with snakes. This isn’t to say that they won’t come around, they will, but less rodents equals less snake activity.
Get some chickens, pigs, and/or guinea fowl
Last spring we finally added guinea fowl to our flock of chickens and ducks. We had 6, something ate 4 of them while they were still fairly young keets and we have 2 left. They can be annoying. They can be noisy. They’re not really the brightest birds on the planet. But, they do have some pretty cool personalities and they will most definitely eat snakes. And ticks. And ours even attacked a fox that was trying to get into the chicken run and chased off a rogue rooster from our neighbors (still don’t know how that rooster got all the way over here….).
Pigs and even chickens are also great additions if you want a little fun on your homestead. My chickens go crazy over snakes, toads, and mice. If they see one, they’ll get it. They ganged up on a mole once… it didn’t end well for the mole. But anyway, livestock can be incredibly beneficial in several ways. These particular fowl and porcines can help keep those snakes away.
Choose some livestock critters, they’re beneficial in so many ways! Chickens, pigs and guinea fowl will all attack snakes. We added guinea fowl a little over a year ago now and while they can be a little noisy, we won’t be removing them from our homestead any time soon. I’ve watched them eat bugs and snakes and attack a fox that was trying to get into the chicken run. They’re not for everyone, but we find the benefits far outweigh the noisiness that they can often display.
There are several ways you can naturally repel snakes, but these are the most effective, safest ways I’ve found. I hope some of this information can help keep the slithers away from your homestead.
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