Over the years, there has been a wide-held perception that mothballs are the perfect solution when you want to keep snakes at bay. Nonetheless, several studies have debunked this myth, as mothballs are entirely ineffective for the task mentioned above. In fact, mothballs are equally as dangerous as the vipers, mainly because of their candy-like appearance and the vapors they produce.

What is a mothball?

A mothball is a tiny pellet that contains a compound known as naphthalene, which is usually used to preserve clothes. Typically, this substance fends off moths and prevents them from spoiling your garments. Although rare, some mothball variants are made of paradichlorobenzene. When exposed to air, both materials sublimate into vapor, producing a strong odor that characterizes mothballs. Between the two compounds, naphthalene has the higher toxicity level.

As mentioned earlier, the fumes emanating from mothballs are a potential health risk to human beings. Among the possible side effects include headaches, nausea, dizziness, and irritations of the eyes and lungs. If ingested, naphthalene mothballs can initiate the disintegration of red blood cells, rendering them incapable of transporting oxygenated blood to all body parts. This condition is known as hemolytic anemia and is often characterized by shortness of breath, fatigue, painful urination, and discolored urine.

Do mothballs repel snakes?

Despite the notion that mothballs are an effective snake repellent, they are entirely unable to fend off vipers. Usually, people believe that the mothball will have the same effect on snakes as it has on moths and other wild creatures. However, these individuals are often disappointed by the end result.

First, the compounds that make mothballs are hugely soluble in water. Therefore, when it rains, or they come into contact with water, they dissolve and wash away. This renders them unusable in wet conditions.

Besides being soluble, these compounds are extremely poisonous, both to plants and animals. When a solution containing mothball chemicals touches grass, flowers, or other herbaceous plants, they start withering almost immediately. Furthermore, the solubility means that the harmful substances are easily absorbed and can, therefore, contaminate soils for prolonged periods.

Effective alternatives to mothballs

While snake is not entirely harmful, most people do not like encountering such reptiles. As a result, they often fall for scams that claim to be proven snake repellents. Most of the swindlers usually create substances with pungent odors to attract clients who think that strong scents keep the vipers away, only to realize that such methods are ineffective. Since humans have different olfactory systems from a reptile, the perception of smell is completely different, hence the futility.

Before chasing a snake away, it is important to ascertain whether it is poisonous or not. As noted earlier, some species are useful in keeping pests and rodents away. However, if you find the vipers uncomfortable there are surefire means if dealing with such a menace. The following are ways through which you can permanently do away with snakes located in your vicinity.

Maintain a tidy surrounding

Generally, snakes prefer living in bushes, holes and other stuffy places. By marinating a tidy surrounding, you deprive the vipers of shelter and a breeding place. Therefore, this is perhaps the most effective way of curbing an influx of snake within your premises. Some of the practices an individual can undertake regarding this prevention method include:

  • Weeding, pruning bushes and removing debris that may harbor snakes
  • Regularly inspecting the surroundings to eliminate rodents which might attract vipers
  • Sealing any cracks in the buildings to prevent the entry of snakes
  • Ensuring that wood is stored on an elevated plank or stand
  • Keeping compost and other household wastes in an enclosure

Getting Rid of Pests and Rodents

Naturally, snakes feed on rodents and household pests such as rats, lizards, geckos, and so on. Since food is as vital as shelter, the elimination of such creature significantly contributes to the chasing of snakes. The first step to eliminating rodents is the cleanliness of the surroundings. In addition to that, it is advisable to invest in a mouse repellent. Once the repellent is deployed, the vipers will be forced to seek an alternative source of food elsewhere.

Using a natural repellent

Notably, the use of snake repellents is only useful after the implementation of the two steps mentioned above. Otherwise, the repellent would be rendered ineffective. There are several proven methods of making natural repellents, but it is strongly recommendable to use a mixture of cinnamon and clove oil due to their availability. For individuals who prefer a hands-on approach, there are many videos on YouTube that have an in-depth guide to the process. On the other hand, those who want a quick remedy can also access the repellent on favorite stores.

As compared to mothballs, natural repellents have the upper hand since they do not bear potential health risks. Moreover, they make use of readily available materials and are thus significantly cheaper.

Fencing with meshed wire

Another effective way of keeping snakes away is restricting them from entering your compound. Installing a meshed wire that is buried a few feet into the ground is an effective means of achieving this since snakes cannot climb over tall barriers. Nevertheless, the meshes on the wire should be small enough to bar even the minutest of vipers.


Can moth balls deter snakes? Well, after evaluating multiple real-life cases, the usage of mothballs against snakes has been proven to be useless. Most likely, this myth is being fronted by coaxing salespeople who want to move their product to uninformed customers.

Often, it is recommended that snakes be left alone. After all, most of the species we encounter regularly aren’t harmful to humans. Such snakes are essential in balancing the ecosystem and keeping rodents away. However, if you have any doubts about a spotted snake, it is imperative to consult the internet or the local animal control office for clarification purposes.

Alternatively, if you find snakes irritating, the best method of getting rid is the ones outlined above. Not only are they useful, but they are also easier to implement.