How To Keep Dogs Safe From Snakes

Here are some tips on how to shield Fido from poisonous snakes and lessen the appeal of your environment to snakes.

Keep Fido on a short leash

One of the best methods to keep your pet from exploring locations where snakes might be hiding is to keep them on a short leash. You may direct your pet’s movements and prevent them from chasing animals by keeping them on a short leash. Since snakes are drawn to regions with long grass and behind rocks, don’t let your pet explore these areas.

If your dog looks wary of a certain place, you might not want to investigate because some dogs can detect snakes. Here is a helpful guide for teaching your dog to avoid snakes.

Maintain your yard

As we previously said, snakes prefer locations with tall grass since it affords them safety from predators and acts as a camouflage. By keeping your grass short, you may get rid of this cover and reduce the likelihood that snakes will slither across your lawn.

Eliminate hiding spots around your yard

Snakes are drawn to quiet, dark places like those under yard debris, woodpiles, or landscaping boulders. Snakes will be less likely to hang out near your home if you remove these safe havens for them.

Build a snake barrier

Snakes can be kept out of your pet’s territory by erecting a mesh fence around your property. To prevent snakes from slithering under or over them, snake barriers should stretch about a foot underground and be as least 36 inches tall. Smaller venomous snakes may not be susceptible to snake barriers.

Remove food and water sources

Snakes can be drawn onto your property by food and water. This includes unintended food and water sources, such as mud pools and bird seed. Snakes won’t consume pet or bird food, but they can attract rodents and other snakes’ natural prey. Snakes should move to other regions if water sources and natural prey are removed.

Use natural repellents

Despite being effective, chemical snake repellents can be harmful to humans and animals. For this reason, ammonia spraying on your home’s exterior might be a preferable option. To keep snakes away, some pet owners find success by sprinkling cinnamon or vinegar around their home.

Snakes won’t avoid dogs, right?

Dogs are obviously the best snake hunters because of their extraordinary senses of smell and hearing, even though it is not quite clear whether or not they will keep snakes away from them. This makes it clear that raising pups may be one of the best ways to keep snakes at bay.

Dogs have been employed throughout history to detect bombs, weapons, narcotics, cancer, and other illnesses or diseases because to their superior hearing and sniffing abilities. However, dogs can also be trained to find poisonous snakes. According to Time magazine, Auburn University trainers have been teaching Labradors to find and assist in capturing Burmese Pythons in Florida’s Everglades.

Some dog breeds, such as Beagles, Basset Hounds, Jack Russell Terriers, and Bloodhounds, are particularly adept at sniffing out snakes.

Are dogs predisposed to fear snakes?

Dogs’ lack of fear may help to explain why they are so vulnerable to potentially fatal snakebites. Nantawit Chuchue/Shutterstock is the photographer. You’re not alone if the mere thought of a slithering serpent causes your stomach to flutter uncomfortable. Around 50% of us are said to become uncomfortable around snakes, and between 3% and 5% of people are said to be ophidiophobic—that is, they are extremely terrified of snakes. Snakes are believed to have had such a profound impact on our chance of dying throughout our evolutionary history that humans have evolved an intrinsic dread of them that has even affected our visual acuity, according to the Snake Detection Hypothesis. Dogs simply aren’t frightened of snakes, which is perhaps why so many of our beloved canine companions end up in veterinary ERs for envenomations. Whether we all genuinely share an intrinsic horror of snakes is still debatable, but the case is much clearer in dogs. The most recent proof comes from a study published in Applied Animal Behavior Science, which discovered that although dogs can distinguish between a poisonous rattlesnake and a harmless boa by smell, they find the latter more fascinating than frightening. And as a result, they are more inclined to investigate, placing themselves at risk for a harmful bite. The researchers gave 171 dogs pieces of newspaper coated with the scents of mice (Mus musculus), rosy boas (Lichanura trivirgata), southern Pacific rattlesnakes (Crotalus oreganus helleri), or snails (Cornu aspersum), and recorded how long the dogs sniffed the newspapers for as well as which nostril they used. Previous research has linked the nostril dogs use to smell with fear.

According to studies, dogs use their right nostril to detect threatening objects. Robin D. Williams/Shutterstock is the photographer. The canines sniffed the rattlesnake papers substantially more than the ones smelling of boa or snail, and only the fragrance of mice was as intriguing to them. However, even when doing so, animals who had previously been bitten by a rattlesnake did not exhibit any bias in the nostrils they used, suggesting that the animals were interested but not afraid—or, in the authors’ words, that they showed “investigatory interest without an accompanying experience of threat.” The authors speculate that this “might assist explain the anecdotal evidence that dogs are prone to approach and so be bitten by rattlesnakes,” which is similar to what a 1989 study found. In addition to owner accounts, research has revealed that most dogs bitten by rattlesnakes suffer strikes to the face or neck, indicating they came head-on into contact with the snake. Less apparent is why dogs don’t experience our dread. They didn’t evolve separately from venomous snakes, either. The authors stated that since canids evolved alongside venomous and constricting snakes and have extraordinarily sensitive noses, they are particularly well-suited to use scents to mediate threat sensing. Of course, just because there are snakes doesn’t guarantee that they are or ever have been a serious threat. The authors point out that there wouldn’t have been a strong selection pressure to drive the evolution of an innate fear of snakes if snakes weren’t actually a serious threat to dogs or the wolves they originated from. To determine if the lineage as a whole just doesn’t fear poisonous snakes or if we’ve somehow bred the fear of snakes out of dogs during the process of domestication, scientists want to see if wolves behave similarly to the dogs they tested.

If wolves don’t react negatively to snake odors, this may indicate that snakebite hasn’t had a significant evolutionary impact or that snakes have developed ways to mask their stench. Holly Kuchera/Shutterstock is the photographer. If the wolves aren’t scared, then perhaps snakes aren’t really a major menace. Another possibility is that the tested snake species may have evolved to smell less dangerous—this theory is known as “chemical crypsis.” There is some evidence to support the claim that only some snake species can be distinguished by dogs when trained, according to a 2015 research. The puff adder, an ambush predator like southern Pacific rattlesnakes, was the one that caused them the most trouble. It makes plausible that these creatures would have evolved a less recognisable odor (alternatively, snakes that don’t move around as much might merely not emit as much smell). This would allow them to hunt more successfully using a sit-and-strike technique. In any case, it is very obvious that dogs—even those who have come into contact with or been bitten by rattlesnakes—don’t actually fear the poisonous reptiles. And that’s a shame since pets are thought to be bitten by rattlesnakes about 150,000 times a year, and those bites are much more harmful for pets than they are for humans. Researchers believe that up to 30% of bitten canines in North America die as a result of the event, despite the fact that less than 1% of snakebites inflict fatalities on humans. Keep an eye on your dogs as they explore the outdoors as the summertime draws closer. Because dogs appear to be suffering as a result of evolution when it comes to the hazards posed by venomous snakes, the cliché about curiosity killing not only applying to cats does.

How do I keep dogs out of my yard where there are snakes?

With the onset of spring and rising temperatures, the snake population is prepared to emerge from its protracted winter slumber. It is therefore time to consider how to keep your dog (and you) safe from snakes. Continue reading for advice on how to keep unwelcome snake guests out of your yard and away from Fido.

Keep Grass Short

Down general, snakes prefer tall grass since it provides them with a comfortable location to settle in and hide from predators. Therefore, maintaining short grass will assist prevent snakes from congregating in your yard. However, the short grass will also make it simpler for you to see the unwanted guest if it does decide to slither through.

Patch Holes In Your Grass

Make sure to plug in any holes produced by small animals in your yard with dirt or sod if you find any. If you don’t want snakes to make this place their home, you should compact the area properly.

Keep Trees And Shrubs Pruned

Pruning your trees will prevent the branches from covering the ground. Why? to remove all hiding places! You want to be able to see behind every bush and shrub in your yard. Keep everything clipped, and steer clear of dense foliage. Before reaching your arm inside to perform any trimming, be cautious when viewing tree limbs and branches. Snakes enjoy taking cover in trees!

Avoid Leaf Piles, Mulch, Brush, And Pine Straw

All of them give snakes a place to lay their eggs, hide, and go hunting. Therefore, remove any unwanted debris piles from your outdoor spaces!

Keep Your Dog On A Leash

You’ll be aware to stay away if a snake is seen slithering through your yard. However, just seeing a snake move across the ground is generally enough to pique Fido’s interest, which can lead to mischief. When a snake is threatened or startled, bites occur swiftly. Therefore, keep your dog on a leash if you think there may be snakes in your yard. Allowing him to explore, play in mulch piles, bush, pine needles, ground cover, or any other area where he might come into contact with a snake is not a good idea.

When they are mating, snakes can be particularly aggressive, so keep Fido away if you spot any young snakes. While many people think that because baby snakes are smaller, they are safer, think again. Because a baby snake does not yet know how to control the release of his venom, he may release all of it in one bite, making his bite potentially even more lethal than that of a larger snake.

Watch Out For Woodpiles

Snakes frequently live in woodpiles. They provide a variety of places to hide that are cold, dry, and invisible. Large wood heaps can also be compared to snakes’ outdoor dining areas because they are popular hangouts for rodents and other small animals like mice, rats, and squirrels. If you absolutely must have a woodpile, place it far from your home and stack it at least one foot high.

Inspect All Outside Vents, Exhausts, Or HVAC Units

Protect any openings that enter your home through the exterior walls or roof, such as dryer vents, outdoor fireplace vents, exhaust systems, and HVAC units. Snakes and other animals frequently enter through these points.

It frequently takes place. In fact, a copperhead was peering at my neighbor’s neighbor from behind the glass pane in her gas fireplace just a few weeks ago. It goes without saying that there was a ton of crazy going on in that house. It turned out that the snake had entered her house through the fireplace vent on the exterior wall. To prevent undesirable snakes and animals from entering, be sure to cover any openings with 1/4 metal mesh.

Check, Inspect, & Repair Any Cracks Around House Or Foundation

Check the foundation of your home by walking around it. Verify that there are no gaps, fissures, or openings. Snakes will seize any chance they can. If you discover any weak spots, fix them right away.

Be Mindful In Garages And Sheds

Maintain the garage door closed. In a garage or outside shed, where there is frequently an abundance of food from vermin and insects, snakes prefer to establish a home. There is nothing worse than entering the garage with your dog and tripping over a snake. Keep in mind that when a snake is frightened, it usually bites.

Rattlesnake Vaccination

Okay, so I don’t like to advocate for unneeded vaccinations. I favor maintaining as much naturalness as possible. However, I believe it’s crucial to point out that there is a rattlesnake vaccination. You might want to discuss the rattlesnake immunization with your veterinarian if you live in a high-risk area or a certain region of the country. It can lessen the effects of copperhead and rattlesnake bites. However, your dog will still require care if he is bitten.

You’ll be well on your way to protecting your yard and house against snakes if you adhere to the advice given above. Naturally, this won’t ensure that you never see a snake or that it won’t locate a place to nest on your land. However, you’ll make it more harder for a snake to make your house his home as well.

Are snakes dangerous?

Despite the widespread dread of snakes, the vast majority of the 3,000 species found globally are not dangerous. The majority of the time, snakes are not hazardous when they come into contact with you.

Are there DIY snake repellents?

There are a variety of do-it-yourself snake deterrents available, such as dispersing essential oils or planting lemongrass and garlic. Maintaining a groomed lawn, mowing your garden, and trimming your shrubs and trees are additional DIY preventive advice.

Are snakes attracted to water in a yard?

Yes, snakes are likely to look for food in the water features in your yard since water attracts the kinds of food that snakes like to consume. Keeping snakes at bay is essential since they frequently eat insects, amphibians, and other reptiles.

What scents do snakes dislike?

Smells that snakes dislike include smoke, cinnamon, cloves, onions, garlic, and lime, to name a few. You can grow plants with these scents or use oils or sprays that contain them.

How are snakes getting into my house?

Snakes enter homes through openings around doors or foundation fissures. Additionally, they search for cracks in your siding and hiding spots in big plants that you might bring inside. Snakes may find a way into your basement, attic, or crawl spaces if you have a rodent problem.

Can snakes climb fences?

Snakes can only climb roughly half of their body length if there is a rock or other object to push against the fencing because they cannot climb in the classic sense of going straight up. Snakes are adept at getting under fences, so if you want a fence to keep them out, you’ll need to dig deeper than you normally would.

Jenn Greenleaf is a professional writer from Maine who also serves as her husband’s company’s bookkeeper on a part-time basis. She focuses on writing about commercial building, HVAC, and other home-related subjects.