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Essential Oils for Repelling Snakes

Post by Sandy Powell on July 26, 2022

Essential oils have long been used as natural pest control for flying and crawling bugs, but what about more scary bigger creepy crawly reptilians such as snakes?  Here in Canada we only have a few venomous snakes such as the Massasauga rattler (Georgian Bay region of Ontario), Prairie rattlesnake (Saskatchewan, Alberta), Western rattlesnake & desert night snake  (B.C). There are also a plethora of generally harmless snakes such as the garter, milk snake and rat snake.

While the vast majority of snakes in Canada are non venomous, it brings little comfort to over 50% of the population which reports an irrational fear of snakes (Ophidiophobia), running through a healthy sampling of men, women and children.  However, in many parts of the world, some of these snakes are quite revered and even protected.  It could be illegal to kill snakes in many states in the US while In Canada , fines of up to $250,000 can be levied for killing a Massasauga rattler. Urban sprawl and recent popular migrations to wilderness and more remote areas encroaching on their habitat means many more confrontations will occur.  Snakes can also fit through very small spaces, especially baby snakes.  These are the most worrisome, because if they are venomous, they can't regulate their bite so you may end up with a heavier dose of venom than with a much larger snake which can control venom and may only bite to serve as warning.


A rattler snake prepared to strike

Some essential oils have proven to be quite effective at repelling snakes from entering homes, garages, yards and other areas where a surprise encounter could scare someone right out of their underwear.  The essential oils best suited to achieve this effect are ones high in specific chemicals which confuse and interfere with the snake’s ability to smell and taste it’s environment.  When this occurs, it is most likely to retreat to a much safer area.  Following are my top oils and the relative chemicals which do the job, along with some helpful recipes and tips.


A photo of a Basil plant

Basil (Ocimum basilcum)



This list contains many essential oils which are classed as semi-toxic or skin irritants at full strength and generally not used in therapeutic settings or applications to the skin.  They also have very intense aromas. We recommend careful handling. Avoid direct contact with pure oils on skin, in eyes or excessive inhalation.  Avoid using mixes where children play.  Aside from the intensity of these oils, they are all reasonable pleasant to humans, but offensive to a snake or many other crawling pests such as mice, moles, chipmunks, ants and cockroaches so you may be able to repel more than just snakes.


Here are some helpful tips for snake repellent/repellency:

For outside application to repel entry into homes, garages etc., apply several drops of pure clove and cinnamon or any other oil listed to cloths, cotton balls where snakes may potentially enter. Set them at entry points or hang up strips of saturated cloths in confined areas.

Outside Salt Repeller 

Another environmentally friendly ingredient to mix essential oils with is Epsom salts.  This will hold the aroma longer while providing extra deterrent.  Nooobody, not even snakes like to lick epsom salts!



Find a big glass jar with tight fitting lid that will leave some space after salts are added.

Weigh out your epsom salt into a bowl or measuring cup

Put approx. 1/2 of the salts into the glass jar

Add essential oils

Add in the rest of the epsom salt

Close the lid and shake vigorously for a few minutes

Allow to stand for 10 min and shake again.  Repeat this process occasionally.   The oils will gradually permeate their way through the salts.  I call this “cooking your salt blend”.  You can dispense your salts into containers after at least an hour of occasional shaking or leave in the jar and scoop out for future use.

Sprinkle on the ground outside, crawl spaces or any other confined area which serves as an entry point.


Snake Away Spray  (500 ml)


In a 500 ml bottle add all above ingredients, swish around and allow to mix well for 15 minutes

Add distilled or reverse osmosis water to top up.  Shake well and shake before each use.

A larger "trigger" spray top is recommended.  Spray around entry areas, gardens etc. Many people recommend spraying at the head of the snake, but I do NOT like this practice. Spraying on the ground in front should be sufficient.


Happy hiking, foraging, gardening and hope this helps.






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