A lot of online sources claims that vinegar keeps snakes away, but does this DIY repellent actually work?
There may be some anecdotal evidence to support the “snakes hate vinegar” theory, but there’s a serious lack of science to back it up. It’s worth a try, but an integrated pest prevention plan is the best way to keep snakes (and other unwanted guests) at bay.
Does white vinegar keep snakes away?
Plenty of people claim that white vinegar can repel snakes and that pouring the stuff around the perimeter of your garden will, supposedly, keep them out. There’s a lot to love about this method – it’s inexpensive, it’s easy, it’s non-toxic – but does it really work?
The logic behind the snakes vs. vinegar theory is based on the fact that snakes have permeable skin (meaning liquids can pass through it). Proponents of the vinegar method claim that snakes won’t slither over a vinegar-y surface because they don’t want their skin to absorb the acidic liquid.
If it does penetrate their skin… who knows? Maybe they shrivel up and melt like slugs.
The fact is, that this is very unlikely to happen because the scales of the snake happen to be very good at repelling liquids.
One study on rattlesnakes found that the reptiles use this special skill to stay dry in heavy rain – and, if liquids can’t get past the scales, they can’t reach the skin.
The verdict? White vinegar may repel snakes – perhaps they hate the smell. However, it’s a good idea to have a back-up plan in the (quite likely) event that it doesn’t work.
How to keep snakes out of your yard
If the vinegar method doesn’t work for you, you’ll need a plan B for keeping snakes out of your yard.
Remove potential food sources
Many species of snake prey on rodents so, if you have problems with rats and mice, this could be attracting reptiles onto your property. An integrated control plan that includes traps, baits, and effective waste management will help to reduce the number of rodents (and, therefore, snakes) in your yard.
De-clutter your yard
Snakes love areas with plenty of hiding places (AKA harborage sites). These may be overgrown shrubs and grasses, abandoned boxes, compost heaps, or firewood piles. If your yard is looking a little cluttered, have a clear-out to avoid attracting unwanted visitors.
Snake-proof your yard perimeter
Inspect the perimeter of your yard for potential entry points (like holes or gaps in fencing) and get to work sealing them up. If you want to make absolutely sure no snakes can get in, consider installing snake-proof fencing.
Does white vinegar repel snakes? Probably not, but it’s so inexpensive and easy to try that you may as well give it a go. If it doesn’t work, sealing up entry points, removing food sources, and de-cluttering your yard are all tried-and-tested methods for keeping snakes at bay this summer.