There seems to be much discussion around snakes at the moment, so I thought that some information on natural snake repellents would be interesting.
Snakes are a very important part of the eco-system and should only be undesirable in the garden and home, if they are venomous and pose a danger to our family or pets. Else, just leave them to do their thing; most times you will never even see them.
Before looking ways on how to repel snakes, lets look at the ways to make our yard and homes less inhabitable for snakes.
- Get rid of covered or hidden places to keep snakes away.
- Removing or reducing areas where snakes are found will force the snake to seek a different place to hide. Some of these areas include: Tall grasses, shrubs, wood or rock piles, and boards, logs or anything that will allow the snakes to crawl under.
- Eliminate access to other areas the snakes may find appealing such as under a table.
- Be sure your place is free from the sources of food a snake would depend on which are: Rats, mice, frogs, and lizards; which are the staple diet of a snake.
- Have a skilled person to remove them from your backyard. Craig Van Rensburg on 079 29 88 911
Some popular methods that claim to repel snakes but are not that effective:
- Roping off affected area with hemp rope.
- Spreading mothballs around the affected area.
- Flooding snake dens. They don’t drown, they just crawl away.
- Spreading gas or diesel around. Very not effective.
- Sulphur powder.
Some plants that can be planted around your backyard to repel snakes naturally
1) Wormwood (Artemisia)
Artemisia vulgaris (mugwort or common wormwood) is one of several species in the genus Artemisia which have common names that include the word mugwort. This species is also occasionally known as Felon Herb, Chrysanthemum Weed, Wild Wormwood, Old uncle Henry, Sailor’s Tobacco, Naughty Man, Old Man or St. John’s Plant (not St John’s wort).
In some places, wormwood is considered as an invasive weed. It is a very common plant growing on nitrogenous soils such as waste places and roadsides. It is a tall herbaceous perennial plant with a woody root.
The down side of this plant is that it is an aggressive and invasive plant that takes over wherever it is planted which leads to another issue of management control.
Management control of wormwood can be done as the following:
- Manual removal – expensive and time consuming.
- Systemic herbicide glyphosphate – targets mugwort and not surrounding plants, may effect soil microbes and other life.
- Soil Pasteurisation – using Solar to kill mugwort seeds and larger roots.
- Herbicides – toxic and pollutes the soil, can bring harm to people who come into contact with them.
2) Tulbaghia Violacea
Tulbaghia violacea is a popular garden plant that is useful for difficult hot corners of the garden as it will tolerate prolonged drought. This attractive plan is ideal for the herb garden, as both the leaves and flowers can be used in salads and other dishes. The crushed leaves may be used to help cure sinus, headaches and to discourage moles from the garden. The smell repels fleas, ticks and mosquitoes when crushed on the skin.
The fresh bulbs can be boiled and the decoction can be taken orally to clear up coughs and colds. It has also been used as a remedy for pulmonary tuberculosis and to destroy intestinal worms.
It is also a very good snake repellent and for this reason the Zulus plant it around their homes.
3) West Indian Lemon Grass (Cymbopogon citratus)
Snakes don’t like the citrus smell from the leaves. The leaves or the tips can turn brown in extreme heat in summer. It requires very little care.
An added advantage of Lemon Grass, is that is contains citronella which is the base for most mosquito repellents; so plant lots of lemon grass and chase those pesky mozzies away.
4) Sarpgandha (Rauwolfia serpentina)
Known by a variety of names such as Sarpagandha, Indian Snake root and Insanity herb, this plant is known for its ability to repel away snakes.
Sarpgandha is found in many Asian countries, mainly India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Burma, Bhutan, Nepal, Malaysia and Thailand.
5) Andrographis paniculata
Andrographis paniculata is a herbaceous plant commonly found in India and Sri Lanka. It is widely cultivated in south Asia for the treatment of some infectious disease. The leaves and roots was often used before antibiotics were created.
In Malaysia, it is known as ‘Hempedu Bumi’ literally means ‘bile of earth’ since it is one of the most bitter plant used in traditional medicine.
Other common repellents.
1) Garlic Mixture
Garlic mixtures are effective as snake repellents. You can either get them commercially such as Snake Stopper or make your own.
Here are the ingredients to make your own garlic mixture:
- 10 garlic bulbs (purple ones are best as they are very potent)
- Four table spoons of garlic oil or any other vegetable oil.
- Some water
- Take a blender and add some water.
- Separate the garlic into cloves and add them to the blender.
- Start blending it until a smooth nice paste is formed, then add the oil.
- Leave the mixture in a plastic container for an hour with the lid on.
- Now it’s ready, and place a few drops in any area you don’t want snakes to be seen. Repeat the process after it rains.
- The effectiveness of the mixture usually lasts for three weeks, then you will need to make a new batch.
2) Cinnamon oil & clove oil mixture
Research has shown that cinnamon oil, clove oil and eugenol are effective to be used as snake repellents. Snakes will retreat when sprayed directly with these oils and even vacate the area in confined spaces when these oils are introduced in these areas. However, application to hard surfaces will not prevent prevent the snakes from entering the area.
Disclaimer: These may or may not work depending on what part of the world you live in…They are not guaranteed to work but from research, that is what others recommend.
For a list of South Africa’s most venomous snakes READ HERE