Do Snake Repellents Work?

No. From all available data and evidence, snake repellents don’t work at all. Don’t buy them; it’s a waste of money and can be dangerous.

If you’re someone that’s already typing out a “well it worked for me for X years!”, please stop now and read the rest of this before doing so. You may be a victim of shady marketing practices, and you should direct anger towards those that would lie to you to make a buck instead of this article.

Rattlesnake Solutions has many thousands of records of rattlesnakes found in yards all across Arizona. Yet, we have not seen any perceivable difference between yards treated with snake repellent products (any of them) and yards that have not. We literally find rattlesnakes hiding in and under bags of the stuff, sleeping on top of mothballs, and any combination of these scenarios. Every day, we are called to homes with the tell-tale smell of a cat litter box that tells us one thing: this person was tricked into spending money on snake repellents, and the fact that we are there proves it does not work.

What is a snake repellent?

There are a variety of products that market themselves as capable of keeping rattlesnakes out of your yard. Most are just various forms of the chemicals found in mothballs, but there are some herbal varieties as well. There are some that also claim to mimic the smell of Kingsnake musk (Kingsnakes are natural predators of rattlesnakes). There are other forms as well of the more home-grown variety, such as actual mothballs, coffee grounds, rope (not kidding), lyme, and others. There are other forms, like sonic emitters and various electric fire-hazards, but they’re mostly sold in other countries. We won’t go into any specific products here, because none tend to work better than any others. It’s a great way to make money for a pest control guy, but not an effective way to keep snakes out of your yard.

The proof? Rattlesnakes.

The best measure of the ineffectiveness of snake repellents are the rattlesnakes themselves. If snake repellents worked, we’d not keep finding rattlesnakes in these yards, but we do. The featured image in this post is from a property in 2015 that was completely covered with the stuff. So much, in fact, that the homeowner stored the remaining bags (along with some empties) against the side of the house – inadvertently creating a shaded area. the result? A Western Diamondback Rattlesnake moved in overnight. This un-posed photo was taken by a Rattlesnake Solutions field agent prior to capture and relocation of the snake. Situations that make for such a great photo are rare, but the case of snake-repellent failing to even prevent direct contact with a snake is unfortunately common.

If you think snake repellents work, blame our brains.

If you have used these products and have not seen snakes, it has nothing to do with them. If you’re the type that is actively trying to prevent these situations in your yard, you’re almost certainly doing other things as well that actually do help. Things like: rodent control, good landscaping practice, keeping a clean yard, barriers and physical prevention, etc. If you have experienced this, to the point even where you’ll defend it despite all objective evidence and data, you may be a victim of a logical fallacy called confirmation bias. It’s something we all experience, perhaps some more than others. If a pest control guy has convinced you to give him money for it (or the marketing on the bag at Home Depot, etc), you are invested in having confidence in that decision. There is no such thing as “it works for me” if it doesn’t work for everyone; it works or it doesn’t, and reality is the latter.

Here’s a video that explains how confirmation bias works.

This type of misinformation is dangerous. These products create a false sense of security where none exists, and homeowners, believing their yard to now be immune to snakes, let their guard down and stop the basic safety actions that actually do keep people safe. If it were any other topic but rattlesnakes (the thing people seem to love to not know much about), it would be yanked off the shelves and outlawed.

Another scary and unfortunate fact: when I’ve talked to pest control guys privately about it, the sentiment seems to be “ya we know it doesn’t work, but customers ask for it”. That level of unethical practice being the norm is frustrating at best. There are of certainly pest-control companies that fully believe it to work, so just having it on the list of services doesn’t mean your people are necessarily trying to intentionally deceive you … but many do know it doesn’t work. Surely in the research phase of any of these businesses, the fact that it doesn’t work would make an appearance, and it’s disheartening to see how easily that possibility is swept aside.

What works to keep snakes away?

Keep food, water, and shelter opportunities to a minimum. View your property as habitat to be exploited by local wildlife. The fewer resources exist for animals, the lower the chances are of having a surprise rattlesnake encounter.

A few of the big ones:

  1. Rodent control – rattlesnakes eat rodents, so having rodents coming and going from your property will bring them in.
  2. Eliminate cool and moist areas, like the leaky hose or patch of lawn that nobody really uses.
  3. Clean up dog poop. This can attract rodents and the rattlesnakes that look for them.
  4. Rattlesnake Fencing to physically keep them out.
  5. Keep a generally tidy yard, and eliminate any opportunity for a snake to hide.

A more complete guide can be found in our Guide to Living With Snakes Basics.

Why should we trust you over our beloved pest control guy?

A simple fact: if it worked, we would sell it. If it did work, it would be a great thing for everyone and would be a huge financial benefit to me, personally. But, snake repellents don’t work. Don’t fall for it.

And, if you’re a pest control company and you sell it without even considering the facts here: do better for the people that trust you to protect them.

Hello Prescott! Rattlesnake Solutions now offers snake removal and rattlesnake prevention services in the quad-city area

We’re happy to announce that Rattlesnake Solutions has expanded service to Yavapai county, and can handle any rattlesnake relocation that may be needed in Prescott, Prescott Valley, Chino Valley, Cottonwood, and Sedona (and surrounding areas).

The species found in that area add to the list of possible rattlesnake species we’ve been able to relocate in our existing service area. Soon, we’ll have some photos of Arizona Black Rattlesnakes and many more Blacktailed Rattlesnakes to add to the feed!

If you know anyone in the area that could use some help with rattlesnake prevention and snake relocation, please send them our contact information.

24/7 Snake Removal Hotline:928-325-7371

https://prescottsnakeremoval.com

Rattlesnake Removal, Prescott, Prescott Valley, Chino Hills, and surrounding areas

Rattlesnake solutions offers completely safe, humane, all-hours to removal of unwanted reptiles from your home or business in the quad-city area. Rattlesnakes are the most common where homes meet desert habitat, and snake sightings are common almost year-round, but in the Prescott area, they’re most likely to occur from late Spring (April) through the monsoon season (September) when rattlesnakes travel to Winter dens. Pest control companies can’t help and really, most wildlife services companies may offer some snake services but don’t have the knowledge to truly do it correctly. More details about our snake removal services in the Prescott area.

Property Inspections for homes in the Prescott area

We’re not just rattlesnake removal specialists; the Rattlesnake Solutions field team is made of field herpetologists, biologists, snake researchers, and reptile lovers with thousands of hours experience tracking and capturing rattlesnakes in wild situations. Rattlesnake Solutions field team agents bring this experience to your property. You’ll learn what could be possibly attracting snakes, and how to make minor changes to reduce your chances for unwanted rattlesnake encounters.

Rattlesnakes in the Prescott area:

Arizona Black Rattlesnake

Blacktailed Rattlesnake

Mojave Rattlesnake

Western Diamondback Rattlesnake

Rattlesnakes and Pool Noodles. Do you need to freak out?

No. Use your pool noodles to noodle as much as you can noodle. Though some recent news may make it seem as if rattlesnakes and pool noodles have something to do with one another, it’s really a another mix of slow-news-day meets non-issue.

Here’s a link to the video of Bryan Hughes from Rattlesnake Solutions talking about the issue on the local news.

Here’s another report that was on ABC15, where Greyson Getty from Rattlesnake Solutions talks about what’s really happening and how to avoid it.

Rattlesnakes are often found in areas where people keep their pool equipment. It’s hot out there, getting up to 111F this week! Contrary to popular belief, rattlesnakes really don’t like excessive heat. In fact, too much will kill them. A body temperature of about 105F is potentially deadly to a rattlesnake, so during this hot and dry portion of the summer, they need to find a cool, dark place to wait until better conditions come back with the rain.  The places where people store pool equipment are often perfect for this kind of behavior, called estivation … which is kind of like hibernation, but for the heat, rather than Winter conditions.

Pool toys stacked in the corner, or in this case, against a block wall, can create a shaded, damp area that is much cooler than the surrounding exposed yard. This can be very attractive to rattlesnakes trying to escape the summer heat, especially when the pool toys are routinely stored in the same spot, and not often used. While a snake being actually inside of a pool noodle isn’t most likely a very common scenario, rattlesnakes using pool toys and being found under them is very common and one of our go-to spots whenever we do a property inspection, looking for the kinds of places that rattlesnakes are found in the yard.

What you can do to avoid rattlesnakes showing up near your noodles:

  • Keep your pool toys up off the ground, or in a box
  • Store them in a place that can get hot, and avoid areas alongside the home that receive more shade than other areas
  • If you don’t have a box or can’t keep them up off the ground, change the location of where you store them each time you use them.
  • Make sure to never store pool toys in an area where rodents are digging holes, or access to other cover exists
  • Have snake fencing installed to keep rattlesnakes out of the yard and away from the pool
  • Keep pool toys away from other pool equipment, like the pump area, and especially from decorative rock features and plants

Mostly, though, take the story with a grain of salt, and don’t let it stop you from enjoying the pool. There are some aspects of the story that seem a little bit fishy, like a “very large” rattlesnake being in a space only a little larger than an inch in diameter, and the report of other snakes being in there, too. If it were mid-July, I can see how a rattlesnake could possibly be giving birth to other rattlesnakes in something like a pool noodle, but this early in the year, it’s very unlikely. I have personally found a mother Western Diamondback Rattlesnake with her newborn babies in pool toys several times, but if you do as the items above suggest, it shouldn’t be something to worry about at your house. Store this one in your mental list of things to worry about somewhere between “wiggly wheel on a shopping cart” and “I asked for no mayo and this has mayo on it”.

Now Hiring – Snake Fence Installer

This job has a realistic potential to earn you $50/hr. More if you are motivated. It is based on a per foot and per item basis rattlesnake proofing yards. The right candidate will receive up to 10 jobs worth of training with me at a $20/hr rate.

You must have your own tools (listed below) and a truck. All materials will be provided to the installer with no out of pocket expenses. You must have references, be able to legally work in the United States, and be able to pass a background check. If you occasionally don’t show up for jobs and are frequently late, do not apply. The system I have developed over the last 5 years is great and therefore must be protected. You will need to sign a non-disclosure agreement and a no compete clause.

Our customers have to have a great job done, and that is what we do. An incomplete or poor-quality job can be a dangerous situation for our customers. If you are not an attention-to-detail person, then do not apply. You will be frustrated that you will be called back to the job to fix it. We do it right the first time.

It is hot work outside, and we have a 105-degree cutoff for safety. You must be willing to be trained how to find and safely remove snake, including rattlesnakes, from yards. It doesn’t happen often while on a job, but it has happened. If you are scared of snakes, this probably isn’t for you.

This is not a full time 40 hrs. per week job. You will be paid weekly as a 1099 contractor. You can work your other jobs as well. But I can potentially get you 2-3 jobs per week from March to October. Then it slows down for the winter.

Tools needed (may not be a complete list, but close)

  • Cordless impact driver
  • Cordless hammer drill
  • Hammer, tool belt
  • Circular saw
  • Aangle grinder (cordless is best)
  • Utility knife, drill style mortar mixer
  • Tin snips, small clamps, channel lock pliers, side cutters
  • Trenching shovel, gravel rake, tree pruners and small limb saw
  • Gloves, work boots, knee pads, and a sun hat.
  • Misc. other tools and items.

Please send your resume (doesn’t have to be fancy) to rattlesnakefence@gmail.com.