Scientifically, peppermint oil will do little to nothing to repel snakes on its own. Like most home remedies, it’s mostly scientifically unproven.
Peppermint oil is often combined with other substances like lime, cinnamon, clove, ammonia, and lemongrass to deter snakes. Snakes supposedly dislike the scent of the combination, but most studies have shown them to be nearly entirely ineffective.
However, peppermint oil may be used as a natural repellent for insects such as spiders and ants, where it’s been found to be moderately more effective.
Essential oils like peppermint oil are a “new-age” home remedy which have recently been recommended as a softer, kinder way of repelling snakes. They are made up of small molecules that may enter the skin and travel throughout the body fast. Such oils might produce highly unpleasant sensations to insects, but snakes seem mostly resilient.
Popular essential oils include cinnamon oil, peppermint oil, castor oil, clove oil, and geraniol. However, while peppermint oil is the most effective in repelling spiders, its effectiveness against snakes is yet to be proven.
What is Peppermint Oil?
Peppermint oil is derived from the leaves of the peppermint plant, a wintergreen mint, and herb native to North America and Europe. It’s also a hybrid of spearmint and water mint. Menthol and menthone are the primary chemical components of peppermint oil, which provide a cooling scent and flavor.
Although aromatic plants and plant extracts can deter snakes from nesting in your yard, essential oils such as peppermint are never guaranteed to alleviate a snake issue. You’ll need to devise or implement a more dependable preventive method.
Is Peppermint Oil Effective At Deterring Snakes?
Snakes rely mostly on their sense of smell. They have a one of a kind organ known as the “Jacobson’s organ.” Because of this, as well as their smell receptors, they are potentially sensitive to strong scents. This has led people to claim that they can be repelled by a mixture of snake repellent lime and hot pepper or peppermint.
Peppermint oil is occasionally combined with clove oil and other non-toxic, non-chemical substances to create a liquid snake repellent with a fragrance. The mixture is poured around the perimeter of a home or property to deter snakes (although this is not proven to be truly effective).
Peppermint Oil May Repel Snake Prey
The easiest approach to keep snakes away from any property is to eliminate their food source. Snakes can be found in areas where rodents are abundant, one of their major food sources. Snakes have been observed eating frogs, birds, moles, voles, and even insects. Having a large number of these pets invites snakes to thrive in that region.
While peppermint may have little to no repellent effect on snakes, it may be effective in repelling snake prey. Take note of the term “may.” Because it is not a proven solution. Snakes, like other predators, always spend the majority of their life looking for their next prey. When snakes are discovered, it is not by chance. Certain sources of attraction lure them to these surroundings.
Because of the fragrance it emits, peppermint may be considered a snake repellent. Although such fragrances are attractive to humans, most pests find them repulsive. As a result, it is thought that if peppermint oil is sprayed or applied to a specific location, it will repel snakes. Regrettably, it does not.
Related Article: Does Lavender Repel Snakes?
Is Peppermint Harmful To Humans, Plants And Pets?
Part of peppermint’s popularity comes from the fact it is better for the environment than many other harmful chemicals. It is mostly non-harmful to plants and humans when handled appropriately. This is why it is found in various drinks, massage oils, and different kinds of toothpaste and mouthwashes in the market.
While peppermint has been proven to be a therapeutically beneficial aromatic herb, measures must be taken to ensure that its oil is used safely. Due to the danger of apnea, bronchial spasms and laryngeal, respiratory arrest and severe respiratory distress along cyanosis, peppermint oil should not be placed near infants and children.
Inhaling high amounts of menthol, a key component of peppermint can cause dizziness, disorientation, muscular weakness, nausea, and double vision. Diffusing pure peppermint oil around babies and children is not recommended.
When it comes to pets, keep in mind that peppermint oil is potentially harmful to dogs, cats, and birds. Pets may inadvertently swallow plant leaves and tea bags left in their paths, or they may roll around in a treated area, irritating their skin. Even inhaling the peppermint odor might result in sickness, such as aspiration pneumonia.
Peppermint oil is not very effective at repelling snakes. Unfortunately, there are very few home-based methods that truly do work in keeping snakes away. Once an infestation has occurred, you will need to consult your local eco-friendly pest control company.
The best preventative methods before an infestation occurs include:
1. A Clean Yard
Snakes like to hide. If you minimize the number of hiding spots for a snake, you are less likely to host them in your garden. Consider keeping your lawns mown, trimming plants and shrubs so they are raised from the ground, leaving a gap between your house and your shrubs, and removing any foliage, wood, or rockpile build-up where snakes can nest.
2. Deterring Rodents
Snakes spend their lives looking for food. Their main food sources are mice and rats. If you can deter these pests, chances of snakes hanging around your house are lower. Use humane mouse and rat traps, don’t leave food scraps lying about, and even consider removing open bird feeders that can attract rodents.
All Articles in our Snake Repellant Series:
Although there are numerous repellents that are claimed to be capable of deterring snakes due to their powerful scents and snake-repulsion effects, most are entirely ineffective.
Note that many snakes are good for the garden and pose minimal threat to humans.
But for deterring snakes, the best method is to employ prevention strategies. Keep a clean garden, a well-mowed lawn, trimmed and raised shrubs, and low amounts of foliage, wood stacks, or rock piles. If an infestation occurs, home remedies rarely work. At this stage, the safest and most effective choice is to consult an eco-friendly pest control company near you.
Joe is a freelance writer for FaunaFacts. Joe has written extensively about snakes for the site, but also contributes content about a range of animals.