The Simple Trick That Helps Keep Snakes Out Of Your Garden

Your backyard might be a snake's oasis. These reptiles enjoy hiding to keep cool and sneak up on their prey, and there are several places they can do this in your backyard, including trees, holes, and leaf litter. While most backyard snakes in North America aren't poisonous, they can be a nuisance, and you'll still want to keep them out of your yard just to be safe — especially if you're not so great at identifying which snakes can or can't harm you.

There are plenty of ways to get rid of garter snakes and many other species, like filling in holes and keeping leaves raked up. Another way to keep them at bay is to deter them with mulch. Though some mulches will attract snakes, you can deter them by choosing mulches that are unpleasant to them. It's a simple way to keep yourself safe while not having to change up your landscape too much.

Use sharp mulch to keep snakes away

Snakes slither across the ground, so it makes sense that they wouldn't like sharp mulch that scratches up their bellies. Cedar mulch usually comes in chunks that are large enough not to be attractive to snakes but small enough that snakes won't want to live under it. They won't want to live under it anyways, though, since this type of mulch is toxic to reptiles. With that being said, only use cedar if you have a severe snake problem and don't have any local or pet reptiles that could be affected. Cedar mulch can also damage plants by releasing acetic acid, so check and make sure that it's compatible with your garden before applying it.

There are plenty of other mulch options you can turn to if you need an alternative route. Use natural options that won't harm people or plants that can eventually return to your soil. Wash and crunch up eggshells so there are several sharp shards. The calcium content of eggs will eventually give back to your garden. You can also use sharp ends from plants like dried leaves, pine needles, or pinecones. Just sprinkle them on top of the ground or your existing mulch. Small, sharp rocks like gravel are also helpful with keeping snakes out.

Avoid mulch that is inviting to snakes

Some mulches won't deter snakes but will entice them to live in your garden. Avoid using mulch with large pieces since snakes like to take cover under rocks and in burrows. Mulches like straw or hay can create perfect crevices for snakes to slither into and call home, so if you do want to use these, you'll need to mix them with something else. Other soft mulches can also be appealing.

The key thing to note about mulch is that depth is everything. A thick layer of mulch is basically a giant welcome sign for snakes. Use as thin a layer as possible with the sharpest mulches you have, as long as it's safe to do so in your garden. If children, pets, or unsuspecting people could walk across your sharp mulch, consider putting up a low-lying garden fence to keep them out.