Are snake-repellent plants really effective? What is the best plant to keep snakes away?

Are snake-repellent plants really effective? What smell chases snakes away? What should I do if I find a snake inside my house in Australia

Snakes have always been fascinating and sometimes scary to humans. They move so gracefully and have this mysterious presence that can make us feel curious, scared, and unsure all at once. In places like Australia, where there are lots of different snake species, it’s important to be careful, know what you’re doing, and be ready for anything if you come across one.

In this article, we’re going to talk about snakes and answer some common questions. We’ll cover things like whether snake-repellent plants actually work and what to do if you find a snake in your house. Our goal is to give you the information you need to live safely with snakes around.

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Are snake-repellent plants really effective?

Plants like marigolds, wormwood, and lavender are often touted as natural snake repellents due to their strong scents, which snakes may find unpleasant. However, scientific evidence supporting their effectiveness is limited. While some people claim success with these plants, their effectiveness can vary based on factors such as the species of snake, the environment, and the concentration of the repellent compounds in the plant.

It’s essential to remember that no method of snake repellent is foolproof. The best way to deter snakes from your property is to make the area less attractive to them by removing potential hiding spots, keeping the grass and vegetation trimmed, and sealing off entry points to your home. If you live in an area with venomous snakes, it’s also crucial to educate yourself on proper safety measures and to seek professional assistance if needed.

A closeup shot of a snake among lush foliage on the ground

What smell chases snakes away?

Snakes have a highly developed sense of smell, and they may avoid areas with strong odours that they find unpleasant. Some scents that people believe repel snakes include:

  1. Clove oil: This essential oil has a strong scent that some believe snakes dislike.
  2. Cinnamon oil: Similar to clove oil, cinnamon oil has a potent scent that may deter snakes.
  3. Garlic: The strong odour of garlic is thought to repel snakes, although its effectiveness is debated.
  4. Sulfur: Some people use sulfur powder or pellets to create a barrier that snakes won’t cross.
  5. Ammonia: The strong smell of ammonia is believed to deter snakes, but it should be used with caution as it can be harmful to humans and pets.
  6. Naphthalene: Found in mothballs, naphthalene has a strong odour that some people believe repels snakes. However, it’s important to note that mothballs can be toxic to humans and pets if ingested.

While these scents may deter snakes temporarily, their effectiveness can vary, and there’s limited scientific evidence to support their use as snake repellents. Additionally, it’s essential to consider safety concerns when using these substances, especially around children and pets. If you’re dealing with a snake problem, it’s best to consult with a professional wildlife expert for safe and effective solutions.

What is the best plant to keep snakes away?

Snakes, with their keen sense of smell, may be deterred by certain plant scents. However, it’s important to note that no plant can guarantee complete snake-proofing.

Nonetheless, some plants are commonly believed to repel snakes due to their strong odours. Here are a few:

Orange tagetis flowers in greenhouse
  1. Marigolds: These vibrant flowers are known for their strong scent, which some believe snakes find unpleasant. Planting marigolds around your property may help create a barrier against snakes.
  2. Wormwood: With its bitter aroma, wormwood is often touted as a snake repellent. Planting this herb in your garden or around your home could deter snakes from lingering.
  3. Lavender: Loved by humans for its calming fragrance, lavender is said to repel snakes due to its strong smell. Consider adding lavender bushes or pots near entry points to your home.

While these plants may offer some level of deterrence, their effectiveness can vary depending on factors like the species of snake, the environment, and the concentration of the repellent compounds in the plants.

It’s crucial to manage expectations and understand that relying solely on plants may not provide foolproof protection against snakes. Instead, consider incorporating multiple strategies for snake prevention. Here are some additional tips:

  • Remove hiding spots: Snakes seek shelter in tall grass, piles of debris, and dense vegetation. Regularly mow your lawn, trim bushes, and clean up clutter to eliminate potential hiding spots.
  • Seal entry points: Snakes can enter buildings through small cracks and openings. Seal gaps around doors, windows, and utility entrances to prevent them from slithering inside.
  • Keep surroundings tidy: Reduce the likelihood of attracting snakes by keeping your property tidy. Store firewood away from the house, pick up fallen fruit, and remove piles of rocks or lumber.
  • Use deterrents cautiously: While plants and certain scents may deter snakes, exercise caution when using chemical repellents. Some substances can be harmful to humans, pets, and the environment.
  • Seek professional help: If you’re dealing with a persistent snake problem or live in an area with venomous species, consult with a professional wildlife expert. They can provide safe and effective solutions tailored to your specific situation.

While these plants are commonly believed to repel snakes, their effectiveness is not guaranteed. Incorporating multiple prevention strategies and seeking expert advice when needed are key to minimizing the risk of snake encounters.

Remember, creating a snake-resistant environment requires a combination of vigilance, maintenance, and informed decision-making.

What should I do if I find a snake inside my house in Australia

Encountering a snake inside your house can be a startling experience, especially in Australia where several venomous species are present. Here’s what you should do if you find a snake inside your house:

A closeup picture of a Southern African Rock Python yawning, opening her mouth, at Kalimba Reptile Farm in Lusaka, Zambia.

  1. Stay calm: It’s natural to feel frightened, but remaining calm is essential for making rational decisions and avoiding unnecessary panic.
  2. Keep your distance: Move away from the snake to a safe distance. Avoid making sudden movements or startling the snake, as this could provoke it to defend itself.
  3. Ensure safety: Keep children and pets away from the area where the snake is located. Close off the room if possible to prevent the snake from moving to other parts of the house.
  4. Do not attempt to handle the snake: Even if you believe the snake to be non-venomous, it’s best to leave handling to trained professionals. Attempting to capture or kill the snake could result in injury to yourself or the snake.
  5. Contact a licensed snake catcher: In Australia, many areas have licensed snake catchers who are trained to safely remove snakes from residential properties. Look up the contact information for a licensed snake catcher in your area and call for assistance.
  6. Observe from a safe distance: While waiting for the snake catcher to arrive, keep an eye on the snake’s location from a safe distance. Note any distinguishing features or behaviour that could help the snake catcher identify the species.
  7. Follow advice from the snake catcher: When the snake catcher arrives, follow their instructions carefully. They will assess the situation, safely capture the snake, and relocate it to a suitable habitat away from residential areas.
  8. Take preventive measures: After the snake has been removed, take steps to snake-proof your home. Seal any entry points such as gaps under doors or holes in walls. Keep outdoor areas tidy to minimize potential hiding spots for snakes.
  9. Educate yourself: Take the opportunity to learn more about local snake species, their habits, and how to coexist with them safely. Understanding basic snake safety measures can help reduce the likelihood of future encounters.
  10. Seek medical attention if bitten: In the unlikely event of a snake bite, seek immediate medical attention. Follow first aid protocols such as keeping the affected limb immobilized and applying pressure bandages if necessary.

If you encounter snakes inside your home in Australia, it is important to stay calm, seek professional assistance, and take preventive measures to ensure your safety. It’s important to remember that snakes play a vital role in the ecosystem, and most encounters can be resolved peacefully with the help of trained professionals.


Humans and snakes have a tricky relationship that requires understanding and respect. Although natural remedies and tales may help keep snakes at bay, we should consider them carefully. Snake-repellent plants are often talked about, but we’re not sure how well they work. This reminds us that nature can be complex. If we unexpectedly find a snake in our home, knowing what to do can make all the difference.

We should respect these creatures and learn how to coexist with them. If we have a good attitude, knowledge, and caution, we can share our space with them in a way that’s both fascinating and respectful. This way, we can enjoy life and contribute to the natural world around us.

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