Does Garlic Keep Snakes Away?

Summary: Garlic is one of the most common home remedies people use to try to keep snakes at bay. While it does likely act as an irritant to snakes, there is only mild evidence that it is sufficient to keep snakes away from the home.

The irritating effect of garlic is due to the large amounts of sulfonic acid found in garlic. It’s the same chemical that makes people cry when chopping onions. This pungent compound is best used fresh and can be mixed with other components such as rock salt or lemongrass oil to increase its effectiveness.

Despite the fact it likely is an irritant to snakes, garlic isn’t all that effective. Snakes will often slither up to and past garlic. Nevertheless, it may work as a mild deterrent.

Does Garlic Keep Snakes Away

What Works? Sweet flag (also known as muscrat root) and Pine Oil are considered more effective snake deterrents. However, the best and safest way to truly keep snakes away is to have professional pest control companies manage the pest problem for you.

Disclaimer: FaunaFacts does not encourage or condone the use of unregulated or home remedy animal repellents. Animal repellents must be used in accordance with the product labels and local regulations. Placing pesticides and chemicals around your property may be dangerous and can contravene local laws. Do not approach wild animals. Consult a pest control professional for advice on what’s best for your situation.

How Does Garlic Irritate Snakes?

Garlic is said to repel snakes by disorienting them. The alliinase enzymes have a toxic effect on snakes, who are extremely sensitive to this compound.

Like onions, garlic is part of the genus Allium. This family of plants is vast and includes scallion, shallot, leek and chive varieties.

Whilst Alliums are safe for human consumption, their strong chemical combinations pose a risk for some animal species, including snakes.

Snakes are hyper-aware of their environments and have one of the strongest senses of smell in the animal kingdom. The limbless reptiles use their long tongues to smell the air and can pick up on scents as far as a mile away.

They lick the air, then touch their tongue against the Jacobson’s Organ, the gland snakes use to ‘taste’ the smells on their tongue.

When garlic is used as a repellent, snakes can sense the toxicity in the air. The microscopic spores released by garlic penetrate the air and can irritate the snake.

The Best Garlic Repellents

The use of natural pesticides to combat snake infestations has grown exponentially in recent years. Garlic has been a central compound in many of these home remedies.

People are taking a greener approach to the environmental damage caused by harsh chemicals. Garlic offers a natural way for people to deter snakes from entering their land.

Growing garlic plants in and around snake-infested areas is one way people try to repel snakes.

Garlic spray is used for those who wish to cover large areas of land. However, heavy rains or environmental factors can easily wash away the valuable sulfonic acid needed to keep snakes away.

Large spray canisters can be customised with relative ease and filled with a crushed garlic and water solution. It’s a cheap remedy for trying to deter snakes, particularly for sizable localities.

A mixture of sea salt and crushed garlic is another appropriate method used to repel snakes. Using this technique is good for ground soil and provides much needed ionic nutrients for surrounding plant life.

The sea salt and crushed garlic mixture can be used in equal parts and then sprinkled onto affected areas. This solution releases a strong smell that lingers in the area.

The astringent nature of the salt, mixed with the toxic garlic compounds, causes snakes to experience skin irritation and will most likely keep their distance as a result.

Note: Garlic compounds may also be an irritant to pets and children, so should not be used in areas where pets or children will play.

The Benefits Of Using Garlic As A Snake Repellent

Garlic is a powerful biological substance with a number of different environmental benefits. Apart from being a natural alternative to harmful chemical repellents, garlic can also offer antibacterial, antiseptic and antifungal benefits to land.

Garlic is also a relatively cheap option. The plant is readily available all year round with no major fluctuations in price.

The Science Behind Garlic

Warning! Science ahead! Here’s how Garlic causes irritation to the eyes.

Sulfonic acid is a potent compound that is found in Garlic. When you cut garlic, it is converted from its original state of alliinase to allicin. This reaction releases enzymes that react with oxygen in the air to produce sulfonic acid.

The reaction is caused by the enzymatic decomposition of the compound alliin. The ensuing breakdown causes the garlic cells to rapidly decompose.

2-Propenesulfenic acid is another stray compound thought to be directly responsible for the strong smell of garlic and is the primary substance that irritates snakes.

Natural Repellents vs Chemical Repellents

Natural pesticides have numerous advantages over synthetic ones, the main one being environmental protection.

Chemical repellents have been proven to degrade the environment over time. If these types of repellents get into ground soil next to homes or communities, they may have negative side-effects.

Fragile ecosystems can be fundamentally altered in a matter of weeks and the damage is sometimes irreversible.

Things To Consider

Modern economic development and loss of environment has pushed snakes out of their natural habitats and into densely populated cities. Urban areas provide ample prey, protection, and habitat for snakes, with sightings set to become more prevalent in the future.

The best solution for a snake infestation is to seek professional help. But, consult them about using natural remedies. Garlic offers an overall healthier option for the environment and may deter snakes without harming them.

It’s important to keep the ecosystem balanced and snakes provide a valuable role in pest control themselves. Snakes are natural predators to species considered vermin such as rats and cockroaches.

The overall aim of snake dispersion isn’t to disrupt biodiversity, it’s to gently move the snakes onto a more suitable habitat.


Overall, garlic does appear to have an irritating effect on snakes which may deter them. But, any effect is likely mild. While garlic is a better choice for attempts at snake deterrent than some chemicals, it may also irritate pets and children.

In general, the best way to remove snakes from an area is to use a professional pest control agency. However, for people seeking a natural home remedy, a garlic compound may have some small effect. Do not approach snakes or put your hands in or around areas where snakes may be hiding.

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