No, Vinegar does not keep snakes away. While it has been a home remedy snake repellant for many years, there’s not clear scientific evidence showing that it’s truly effective.
Vinegar has a pungent odor that supposedly makes snakes uncomfortable. It may also irritates a snake’s skin as the skin absorbs acidic liquids.
However, as many studies have shown, most snake repellant remedies are inefficient at best. Even over-the-counter repellants packaged specifically to deter snakes don’t do a good job at all. Similarly, vinegar is not going to seriously repel a snake.
The best option to deter snakes is to ensure your grass is mown, wood piles and foliage are kept to a minimum, there’s a gap between gardens and your home, and all entryways into your house are blocked. If you get an infestation, the best choice is to contact your local pest control professionals.
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.
Does Vinegar Repel Snakes?
For decades, people have used vinegar a snake repellant. The idea is that the vinegar’s pungent odor will be irritating to the snake’s Jacobson Organ, leading the snake to move away from the smell.
Furthermore, because a snake’s skin absorbs liquids, the vinegar may be absorbed into a snake’s skin and cause irritation.
However, it’s highly unlikely that this home remedy would work.
More dangerous and pungent homemade repellants than vinegar (like ammonia and diesel) have no effect on snakes, so it’s unlikely vinegar will either.
While snakes may find the scent and feel of vinegar to be irritating, they’re significantly more concerned with finding food and shelter than worrying about a bad smell. They, generally, will slither right on over the repellant without any effect.
Related Article: Can Chickens Keep Snakes Away?
How Does Vinegar Repel Snakes?
Snakes are recognized for having keen senses of smell. In addition, they use their forked tongues to pick up small chemical particles in the air. They then touch this tongue against their Jacobson’s organ. This chemical data is processed immediately, alerting the snake to the presence of prey or predator.
Vinegar is made up of acetic acid (5%) and water (95%). The acetic acid is responsible for the acidity and pungent smell. It is this strong scent that optimistic people would think snakes would dislike.
Another reason why people think snakes are repulsed by vinegar is because liquids are absorbed through their skin, making them very sensitive to substances like vinegar. Snakes have porous skin, which means liquids can pass through it. The idea here is that the snake will find the vinegar painful to touch, so will turn in the other direction.
Vinegar sprinkled or sprayed around the perimeter of your property is placed there to form a barrier that snakes cannot cross. Supposedly, they will perceive such a region to be undesirable.
While the theory makes sense, time and again, it’s proven to be untrue. Snakes seem to not be phased by bad smells.
What Vinegar Type Repels Snakes Best?
There are various types of vinegar such as cane vinegar, red wine vinegar, white vinegar, champagne vinegar, rice vinegar, apple cider vinegar, and apricot vinegar, among others. None of these types appear to have any effect in repelling snakes.
Even spirit vinegar, which contains a small amount of alcohol and holds the title for the strongest vinegar, is likely to be ineffective.
White vinegar appears to be the most commonly used vinegar type for repelling snakes. This is because it is readily available and is also cheap. Spirit vinegar can be a bit expensive. If spirit vinegar doesn’t work, then your white vinegar in your cupboard surely doesn’t either.
Does Apple Cider Vinegar Keep Snakes Away?
Like regular vinegar, apple cider vinegar will have little to no effect on snakes. They tend not to be too fussed about strong smells, and particularly not fussed if it’s just a line of something sprinkled over the ground. They’ll just slither right over the apple cider vinegar.
Related Article: Does Diesel Keep Snakes Away?
How is it Used?
We don’t think you should try to use vinegar to repel snakes. It’s ineffective and will just cause a false sense of security.
Most people simply pour or spray white vinegar anywhere they’ve seen snake activity, like on the borders of ponds and pools, gardens, and around the house.
If you do this (despite the fact it won’t work), remember to be cautious as you’re approaching areas where snakes have been. They may still be around, and may get agitated and aggressive.
To avoid snake encounters, keep humans and pets as far away from known snake spots, and never approach a snake. (This is another reason you really should be getting professionals to handle your snake infestations).
Any remaining vinegar is also likely to be washed away by rain very quickly.
So, What Works?
Using vinegar will not address the reason why snakes might frequent your property. It’s best to address the real reasons for the snake’s presence around your home.
It’s best to try other preventative snake control methods first:
- Work on keeping rodents away from your house, as it’s the rodents attracting the snakes. Since snakes eat them as prey, they will have less incentive to remain around now that rodents are no longer present.
- Overgrown grass should not be found near your home. To minimize potential snake cover, mow your grass regularly.
- Make your yard more accessible and appealing to big birds like owls and hawks. These are snake predators that can detect snakes from afar and hunt them.
- Do not leave piles of leaves, wood, or rocks around that may be attractive to snakes.
If preventative measures have not worked, pest control professionals are your best bet. They can provide further assistance or, in a worst case scenario, physically move the snakes on from your property.
All Articles in our Snake Repellant Series:
In conclusion, while vinegar is often used to scare away snakes, it is not effective and certainly not a long-term solution. It is a widely available acidic substance found in almost all households and is simple to apply, but unfortunately has little to no effect on snakes.
The best bet is to use a combination of preventative measures (in particular, deterring rodents from coming near your house, which is what the snakes are after), and getting help from your local pest control company.
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.