4 Scents That Attract Snakes to Your Yard, Experts Say
Get rid of these things to ensure a snake-free space.
No one wants to go into their yard and come face to face with a slithering reptile. But unbeknownst to many, there are certain scents that could be attracting snakes. Whether they're looking for food, shelter, or water (or all of the above), they'll sniff out what they need.
"Snakes primarily 'smell' their environment through a process called chemoreception," notes A.H. David, a snake expert and founder of Pest Control Weekly. He explains that they can't smell like humans do with a nose and instead utilize a specialized organ called the Jacobson's Organ, or the vomeronasal organ. "This is connected to their mouth, and when they flick their tongue out, they collect particles from the air which are then processed through this organ." Ultimately, they can find chemical cues or "smells" in their environment.
Speaking to David and other pest experts, we found out which scents attract snakes so you can rid your yard of them. Keep reading to find out the smells that will bring these unwelcome guests out and about.
Snakes aren't necessarily interested in your food sources like trash or leftover scraps, but their prey is. And if you're attracting rodents, it's likely that snakes won't be far behind. They are one of their biggest sources of food, after all.
"The scent of rodents such as rats, mice, or hamsters can attract many species of snakes, particularly larger species such as pythons, boa constrictors, and many kinds of rat snakes," says David.
Garcia notes that if your yard has a lot of rodent odors like droppings or urine, it might also catch the attention of snakes, even if the rodent itself is no longer present.
It's not surprising that snake scents will attract more snakes. "Snakes can sense pheromones, which are special chemicals released by animals of the same species," says David.
While they're not going to feed on others of their kind, they'll be out and about more. The pheromones can signal many things, including being ready to find a mate, David tells Best Life. Male snakes may be on the lookout for female snakes, especially during mating season.
According to Snake Guard, scents must be fresh to enact a feeding response or curiosity. When they lose a scent they'll migrate elsewhere to find either a mate or more food.
For more snake advice delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Bird Droppings and Bird Nests
"Snakes follow the scent of their prey, and since most snakes are 'ambush' predators, they set up in these areas that have scent left behind from their prey," explains Nichols.
For example, David says rat snakes feed on bird eggs, so "the scent of birds, their droppings, or their nests could potentially attract these species."
Bird baths may be extra enticing since they're filled with water and often cool, which is exactly what snakes need to hydrate and survive.
Amphibians and Fish
Snakes are known for being opportunistic feeders. Essentially, they crawl about until they encounter a fresh scent or a movement—which then becomes their food source.
"For water-dwelling or semi-aquatic snakes such as water snakes or certain kinds of garter snakes, the smell of amphibians like frogs or toads, as well as fish, can be attractive," says David.
As previously mentioned, snakes are also attracted to water, so it's key to drive any of these creatures away so snakes don't take up residence either.