There is a common misconception that salt is effective at keeping snakes away. However, this is not true and is based on inaccurate assumptions. Salt only scares away animals that it can directly harm, such as slugs.
Many creatures with soft and wet skin avoid salt because it tends to dehydrate them. The main misconception about salt is that it will have a similar effect on snakes as it has on earthworms, which isn’t true.
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Why Can’t Salt Keep Away Snakes?
Snakes have a powerful sense of smell, and it is what they use to locate food sources. As such, the scent of something can either deter or attract snakes. Salt is primarily odorless; thus, most snakes do not have the sensory capability to detect it.
For something to smell, it must evaporate. In salt, sodium and chloride ions (the compounds that make up salt) are tightly bound and cannot evaporate in normal conditions.
Repellents only deter pests when they have specific characteristics that the pests dislike, such as pungent smell. Additionally, if a repellent contains chemicals that disorient the pest’s pheromones, it is effective.
Salt does not contain any characteristic component that can affect snakes. Therefore, it would have little to no effect when it comes to deterring away snakes.
Where Did The Salt Myth Originate?
The use of salt to deter snakes has been a common practice for a very long time. However, this myth has been debunked, as it has no scientific backing.
The rumors originated from the fact that salt has the capability of warding off slugs and snails. People mainly consider snakes as slimy, but in reality, they are not. Slugs and snails are slimy. Thus, when they come into contact with salt, it dehydrates them, killing them exceptionally quickly.
Lining the borders of your yard with salt will not deter snakes from accessing your compound. It may also dry out your soil which could harm plants in your yard.
Are There Any Types Of Salt That Could Keep Away Snakes?
Scientifically, a salt is an ionic compound comprised of two groups of oppositely charged ions (cation and anion). Therefore, it consists of positively charged metal ions and negatively charged non-metal ions.
Salts can be classified as simple, acidic, basic, and neutral salts. There are other classes of salts that include double salts, mixed salts, and complex salts. Therefore, apart from the traditional table salt, there exist tons of different salts.
Regardless of the different classes of salts, no salt can keep away snakes. This is because all of them have the same key feature- they are odorless. Also, they do not irritate snakes’ skin.
In short, no salt type has the characteristics of deterring snakes, and reliance on them will only be a waste of money. Equally, application salts on your yard, such as acidic salts, will adversely affect your yard. When they dissolve, they become acidic, hence, increasing the acidity of the soil. Acidity in soil reduces the availability of plants nutrients such as phosphorous and molybdenum.
Related Article: Does Ammonia Keep Snakes Away?
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why Keep Away Snakes?
Although not all snakes are venomous or harmful to humans, people lack the knowledge to differentiate them. Therefore, every snake is considered dangerous and deadly. Furthermore, their sinuous, slithering movement and posture make them creepy to a lot of people.
However, snakes can also be an advantage. Snakes feed on mice, rodents, and other pests that usually invade homes. Most importantly, snakes native to North America are not venomous, thus not considered a threat.
Although most snake species native to North America are not venomous, some species such as rattlesnakes are not safe. Some of these species have bites that can be fatal. Therefore, if you reside in areas inhabited by venomous snakes, it is essential to keep them off.
There are several methods of keeping snakes away; however, salt is not one of them. You can use home remedies such as introducing natural predators or using chemicals such as using sulfur and ammonia.
2. Can Salt Deter Other Pests Apart From Snakes?
Salt is highly effective in eliminating snails and slugs as it dehydrates them once they come in contact. Additionally, it can be effective at keeping away cockroaches. Roaches seem impossible to get rid of but, according to scientists, salts that contain ammonium nitrate and ammonium chloride can ward off roaches. However, it is not a permanent solution as it only deters them rather than killing them.
Salt is also effective in keeping away frogs, termites, bedbugs, and fleas. Additionally, salt is highly effective in killing spiders. When a salt solution is sprayed on spiders, it quickly kills them.
On the other hand, some pests, such as ants, are attracted to salt. Therefore, salt will increase ant presence once you sprinkle it on your yard.
3. What is Salt Made Of?
To figure out whether or not salt can keep away snakes, we must establish its chemical composition. Salt is a compound made up of sodium and chloride with chemical formulae (NaCl).
Although the most common salt is table salt, there are other types: sea salt, kosher salt, Celtic sea salt, Himalayan pink salt, smoked salt, and flake salt, among others. All these salts might have varying components, but none of them have been scientifically proven to have the ability to deter snakes.
This is because most of them are primarily odorless, nor do they irritate snakes’ skin.
All Articles in our Snake Repellant Series:
Although most snakes native to North America are non-venomous, they are creepy, and most people are not comfortable having them in their surroundings.
There are some traditional methods of keeping away snakes. Unfortunately, most do not work. Salt is one home remedy that’s pretty ineffective. Snakes are not afraid of salt, thus, sprinkling salt on your yard to deter snakes will be a waste of time and resources.
The best way to keep away snakes is through pest control preventive measures. This method involves making homes and compounds less appealing to snakes.
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.