Snake Repellents

   People always ask me for chemicals to repel problem wildlife. I generally don't recommend them. I can't give you an answer regarding snakes, so I have provided this page for your inspection.

There is only one product that I am aware of that is EPA registered to repel snakes, it is called Snake Away ®. There is substantial debate about the effectiveness of this product. Rather than just rant about it myself at this time, let me give you some information that I have come across.

    Negative information on Snake Away's effectiveness

Dr. Robert Timm, of Hopland CA provided the following information:

Rex Marsh of the University of California-Davis published an abstract of a small-scale laboratory test of this material in 1993 Marsh, R.E. 1993. Test  results of a new snake repellent. Proceedings, Great Plains Wildlife Damage Control Workshop 11:166). In these tests, gopher snakes (Pituophis melanoleucus) seemed unaffected by the repellent. One of two western rattlesnakes (Crotalus viridis) tested crossed a band of the repellent, while the other did not; the author concluded that the tests suggested "...reliance on this snake repellent to provide meaningful protection from snakes is unwise."

Snake-A-Way® If you want to purchase this product visit WCS When you order type in WDC001 in the comments section for 5% discount.

Positive information on Snake Away's effectiveness (This information comes from a distributor of the product)

Date Animals Received: Various, June 1 through August 24.
Date Tests Started: June 13, 1989.
Date Tests Completed: October 2, 1989
Temperature & Humidity of Animal Room: 21+ 1oC: 50-65o RH.

Responses to Snake-A-Way, a putative snake repellent, were examined in 160 snakes representing 15 species and four families. Behavioral tests involved: (1) a two-way choice situation within a Y-shaped enclosure (Y tests), and (2) the use of space within a circular enclosure in which one quarter of the area was bounded by a strip of repellent (circle test). Snake-A-Way is shown to repel snakes with efficacy that varies from 100% to 17% in the different taxa. The nine venomous species tested (particularly rattlesnakes) exhibited consistently high avoidance of the repellent, with the exception of cottonmouths. The other snakes showed high avoidance of repellent, except for rat snakes. Some individuals of all species demonstrated overt avoidance of repellent. Collectively, 83% of all snakes tested avoided the strips of repellent used in the Y tests. Data for three species of snakes subjected to circle tests corroborate the findings from the Y tests.

Thus, Snake-A-Way appears to be a potent repellent, however, snakes of all species may cross the repellent in unusual circumstances. These circumstances are probably rare in nature, however, and use of Snake-A-Way can be expected to reduce the occurrence of snakes in "protected" areas.

Excerpts from The University of Florida (EPA TESTING & PROTOCOL)
87.5% Agkistrodon contortirix, copperhead
21% Agkistrodon piscivorus, water moccasin
75% Coluber constrictor, black racer
91% Crotalus adamanteus, eastern diamondback rattlesnake
91% Crotalus atrox, western diamondback rattlesnake
91% Crotalus horridus, timber rattlesnake
91% Crotalus lepidus, rock rattlesnake
91% Crotalus ruber, red diamond rattlesnake
91% Crotalus viridis, pacific rattlesnake
17% Elaphe guttata, corn or red rat snake
47% Elaphe obsoleta, yellow rat snake
100% Heterodon platyrhinos, eastern hognose snake
100% Micrurus fulvius, eastern coral snake
50% Python molurus, Burmese python
100% Thamnophis marcianus, checkered garter snake

Remarks about the Snake-A-Way Studies

WDC doesn't sell Snake Away. But if after reading the above information you would still like to give Snake-Away a try then click Snake Away When you reach the payment page, type in WDC001 in the comments section. It will give a 5% discount.

Moth Balls

Do moth balls work to get rid of snakes? That is a tough question. Generally speaking moth balls won't get rid of snakes you already have (at least one e-mail said it didn't work). You also have to consider the issue, that the EPA has not registered mothballs to be used for snakes. Thus using them in this way is not sanctioned by the government. The question is whether they would repel snakes not living in a particular already. To my mind the jury is still out on that. Be sure to check out my hints on harassment for more information on repellents. One writer told me about using lime. I would love more than information on this if the public has any.

 

 

5/27/03

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