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What Smells Do Snakes Dislike? (Answered)

Whether it’s in your yard or near your house, seeing snakes around you is not welcoming for anyone. If you live near water bodies, the chances of a snake intruding on your premise are always high.

Knowing what smells attract snakes and what smells these reptiles dislike can be an upper hand for people looking to keep snakes at bay.

9 smells that snakes dislike and how to use them:

Snakes have a very emphatic sense of smell and are repelled by any strong scent around them. Snakes particularly detest the smell of cinnamon & clove oil, ammonia, garlic, & sulfuric scents. Snakes also dislike the smell of smoke, vinegar, & marigold. Smells can be sprayed on areas to avoid snakes.

Snake repellents used to deter snakes are almost always ineffective. They would slither over and across them, without a bother in the world.

Certain scents can be effective to keep away snakes because snakes have a potent sense of smell, thanks to the special organ present in them, known as the Jacobson’s organ.

They guise for food depending on their sense of smell and keep away from areas where their nose picks up something unpleasant. There are a few scents that snakes abhor, and there are others that they dislike. Here are scents that snakes are not so fond of:

Cinnamon oil and clove oil:

If we were to rank the scents according to how much snakes dislike them, cinnamon oil could easily be ranked in the first two.

Although there is no proper explanation as to why snakes dislike the smell of cinnamon oil so much, their strong sense of smell picks up this smell and makes them take other turns to avoid the area.

Cinnamon oil is sprayed into the areas where snakes may intrude, but the oil must be mixed with water, you may want to note that cinnamon oil spray is kept out of other pets, such as inhaling or ingesting the solution can irritate them.

The advantage of using the combination of these two is that they are pleasant to us. Additionally, cinnamon and clove oil, and the latter individually have been proven to be effective in keeping away rattlesnakes as they cannot stand the same sweet scent.

These two smells are given the chemical name eugenol.


Although non venomous, the big and powerful black snakes can be quite a bother in your yards.

Ammonia is one of the most effective smells that keep snakes like the black snake away as they detest the pungent smell.

You can either spray ammonia solution in the areas required or have clothes, mats, or rugs soaked in ammonia to give off the scent more profoundly. Ammonia can be harmful to other pets, so you need to use it with caution.


Garlic has a intense smell, even for us humans. When used the right way, garlic can keep rattlesnakes away as well.

Along with brown snakes, rattlesnakes also dislike the smell of garlic. It’s often more powerful for their nostrils when garlic is combined with another of the smells that they dislike.


Onion to has a very similar effect on snakes, just like garlic does. The smell of onion is firm and reaches snakes quickly. Since onions comprise sulfonic acid, it irritates the snakes, making them loath the smell even more.

Smashing and mixing garlic and onion can effectively keep these reptiles away by creating a durable odor.


Naphthalene might not be the best of repellents, but the smell of naphthalene may be enough for snakes to sniff and stay away. Snakes do not like the smell of naphthalene but since naphthalene does not irritate their skins or senses, they may slither past it quickly.


Having a marigold tree or plant has been deemed effective to keep away many animals, including smells. Marigold flowers give off a pleasant yet strong smell which snakes dislike.

Lime and Lemongrass:

Not just any lemongrass, but particularly west Indian lemongrass gives off a smell that snakes detest.

This is because this lemongrass exudes the strongest kind of citrusy smell that snake nose picks up from miles away. Other potent citrus smells also annoy a snake and they avoid an area filled with such scents.


If you have noticed how campers often light an open fire in forests, it is because smoke and the smell of it can deter away snakes.

The smell of smoke can irritate a snake’s senses quite fast. Rattlesnakes and black snakes dislike the smell and irksome feeling when there is smoke around.


One of the most effective smells to have around pools is that of vinegar. Snakes, like the black snake, dislike the smell of white, undistilled vinegar. Not just that, vinegar can even irritate a snake’s skin if they come in contact with the vinegar.

It may be better to use some vinegar in the pool if you fear a snake might jump into yours. However, you need to remember that vinegar can be harmful to other water animals as well as plants.

Where to place these scents to get rid of snakes:

While using the right smells that snakes dislike is important, it is equally crucial that you place these scents in the right spot.

For that, you would first need to understand why you are inviting snakes into your premise and what are the possible places where the snakes can hide and live. The following are spots where placing scents would effectively get rid of snakes:

Pool edges:

If you live in a house that has a swimming pool, you already know where to put the scents. You can spray the edges of the pool with a snake repellent smell so that they do not come near the area.

If you are using vinegar, you can pour some into the water as well, so that snakes do not jump into the pool.

Keep in mind that vinegar is harmful to other animals. If you live near a pond or river, you would need to place scents around the area as well.


One of the most common places where you may find snakes in the yard. While yards or gardens are filled with bushes and plants, placing scents in between plants or pots may help.

When placing scents in the environment, be sure to use smells that do not harm plants or other animals.


Crevices and holes are the entry gates for snakes to enter our homes. Placed rugs or mats soaked in the scents around any crevices that may invite snakes in.

You can place the smell in more bushy areas since snakes tend to hide between plants or bushes.

What smells attract snakes?

Snakes are not fond of most robust smells, whether it is garlic, cinnamon, or vinegar. Their strong sense of smell not only helps them to avoid areas with such scents but also keeps them close to food sources.

Snakes are mostly attracted to the smell of food and from these reptiles, food is living animals. If they can smell rodents and rats around in your house or your backyard, they would be attracted to that smell.

Other than that, snakes are mostly attracted to fresh, milder smells. For instance, the smell of cucumber can be pleasant to them. Smells of fresh fish or smaller insects can also be luring to snakes.

Additionally, as you know, the snakes roam around places where they can find some sort of water bodies, they would be attracted to the smell of water and mud as well.

The smell of fresh grass and shrubs also entices snakes into your yards.

Tips to prevent snakes in the yard, garden, or around your house:

Here are a few ways using which you can keep your yard, garden, and house free of the snake:

Keep garden trimmed:

Since snakes are mostly attracted to bushy areas and leafy trees, you may want to keep your garden well-trimmed. Keep plants’ branches away from your house windows.

Keeping a good 25 to 36 inches gap between the trees and your house roof is a good idea as well.

Don’t overwater garden:

Overwatering your yards or garden could be another habit you would want to avoid if you don’t want snakes.

Snakes come into your gardens looking for insects and warmth. More water means more breeding grounds for snake food like worms.

Use rodent repellent:

Use rodent repellents to keep away rats and mice around, outside and inside your house so that snakes do not come feeding on them.

Seal cracks:

Seal any cracks or crevices on the outside of your house. This would stop snakes from entering your home.

Final thoughts

Due to the presence of a particular organ, snakes have a heightened sense of smell which repels them from any profound them. Snakes dislike the smell of cinnamon, clove, and ammonia the most. They are also known to avoid areas with smells of vinegar and garlic. onion and smoke.