How to Avoid Snakes in Your Backyard: Signs and Methods

Although having non-venomous snakes can actually be good for your backyard (to keep out rodents and pests), it doesn’t mean you’re forced to live near them. Learning how to avoid snakes in your backyard just takes a few steps, and you can enjoy snake-free living.

All you need is a prevention plan to keep them from invading in the first place. Below, you’ll find a step-by-step plan of action as well as other tips to keep snakes away from you (and your backyard!)

Signs There Are Snakes in Your Backyard

Maybe you’re reading this so you can prevent snakes from entering your backyard, without seeing any yet. However, it’s important to note that just because you haven’t seen them, doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t there.

When you go through the steps, be sure you are looking for signs of snakes as well as being careful. With some snakes being venomous, it’s always a good idea to play it safe. 

Below are a few signs that you may already have snakes in your backyard, and need to be extra cautious.

  • Snakeskin: As snakes grow, many will shed a layer of skin. It may be laid out flat or could be crumpled up somewhere. 
  • Snake tracks: Snakes may not have a footprint, but they do have a very distinguishable trail they leave as they slither. If you see any winding trails on dirt or dust, this is a good indication a snake has been around.
  • Feces: Snake feces closely resembles bird feces, but can include animal fur or bones.

How to Prevent Snakes From Getting in Your Backyard

Step One: Get Rid of Snake Hiding Spots

Snakes are ambush predators. This means that snakes will find hiding spots to attack their prey.

By removing their hiding spots, you’re giving them fewer areas in your yard to hang out. Here are a few hiding spots to look out for:

  • Clutter: Walk through your backyard, and do your best to remove any clutter you see. Things like stacks of wood, leaf piles, and even piles of mulch are easy for snakes to slide into and hide inside of. Rather than using mulch, use crushed stone. It’s much less comfortable for snakes. 
  • Long Grass: If you haven’t been using the lawnmower as much as you should, snakes have plenty of space to hide. Be sure to keep your grass cut to prevent snakes from hiding in it.
  • Shrubs: Certain types of shrubs are excellent hiding spots for snakes. If you’ve been having a snake problem, consider removing any low-growing plants.

Step Two: Get Rid of Any Snake Food Source

If snakes are hanging out in your yard, there’s a good chance it’s because they’re finding one of two things: food or shelter. 

Snakes not only eat rodents but also like to snack on bugs, such as roaches or grasshoppers. Lay traps or use sprays to keep out rodents and pests, and this should keep snakes away, as well.

Step Three: Use Snakeproof Fencing

Although snakeproof fencing isn’t completely foolproof, it can be an effective way to keep out certain types of snakes. The fence should be angled outward but flush to the ground. This will keep snakes from being able to slither beneath the fence or climb over it.

If it isn’t feasible to place a fence around your entire yard, you can put your focus on smaller areas where children or pets go frequently. 

Step Four: Use Snake Repellant

Not only can you use repellant to keep pests away that attract snakes, but you can get repellants specifically to keep snakes away. You can also use natural repellants if you want to avoid chemical sprays.

Here are some natural snake repellants you can use:

  • Lemongrass: Planting lemongrass could help you to avoid having snakes in your backyard. It produces a citrus scent that snakes dislike, so they won’t go near it if they don’t have to. As a bonus, lemongrass will also keep out ticks and mosquitos, too!
  • Mother-in-Law’s Tongue: Mother-in-Law’s Tongue rejuvenates the oxygen around it at a higher rate than normal, which can frighten snakes. Not only that, but it’s leaves are sharp and hard for the snake to slither past. It’s a great plant to have around if snakes are sneaking into your backyard.
  • Essential Oils: Essential oils are a great natural remedy for stress, and that includes the stress of having snakes in your backyard. Cinnamon, clove, and cedarwood essential oils will help to repel snakes.
  • Onion: If you don’t already grow onion in your garden, you may want to consider it if you have a snake problem. Onions produce a pungent odor that not only doesn’t smell good to snakes but can even disorient them. It’s similar to pepper spray for snakes.
  • Garlic: Like onions, garlic gives off a confusing odor to snakes. Garlic is one of the best plants to use to repel snakes.

Additional Tips to Avoid Snakes in Your Backyard

Don’t Trap It

There is conflicting advice on the internet regarding trapping snakes, but we advise against it. Even if you think that the snake is non-venomous, it’s always possible you could be wrong and end up injuring yourself.

Setting out traps, like glue traps, are also a bad idea. You can’t specifically target snakes and could end up inhumanely killing another animal in your backyard.

Use Vibrations

If you have seen snakes and have a good idea you know where they’re hiding, you can use vibrations to scare them off. Run a lawnmower near an area that you think snakes may be hiding near, and hopefully they’ll leave.

Keep in mind, this is just a method to scare them. You don’t want to intentionally run over the snake with your lawnmower.

This won’t keep snakes away permanently, but the vibrations should scare them away long enough for you to get what you need to be done outside.

Stay on a Clear Path When Walking

As mentioned before, snakes like to hide. If you have a larger backyard that has many trails, sticking with the clear paths will help you to avoid snakes.

If you need to go down a path that has clutter or plants that snakes could be hiding in, bring a tracking pole with you. This will allow you to clear the grass so you can see where you’re going, and the vibrations will help keep them away from you.

Be Aware of Your Surroundings

Many snakes are able to perfectly blend into their surroundings, so make sure you’re always aware. Keep an eye out when walking through rough terrains in your backyard, especially fallen branches where snakes love to hide. Always be sure to step directly on the branch rather than over it to be safe.

If your yard has large rockfaces or trees, make sure you always look before you lean on them. Snakes can climb, so it’s not just the ground you need to pay attention to.

Call Animal Control

When all else fails, leave it to the experts. If you’ve spotted a snake that you suspect may be venomous, play it safe and call animal control so they can come take a look. While non-venomous snakes can actually be beneficial for your backyard, venomous ones can be extremely dangerous.

Final Thoughts

Snakes can be good for your backyard, as they help keep away rodents and other pests. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean you’re forced to live with them, especially if they are poisonous.

There are many methods to help you avoid snakes in your backyard by preventing them from entering in the first place. What’s most important is you remove their sources of shelter and food, because that is the reason snakes would want to hang out there.

If they can’t find a place to hide or something to eat, they’ll likely move onto someone else’s backyard (and you can go back to enjoying yours!).