Do snakes like the smell of bleach/clorox?

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Do snakes like the smell of bleach/clorox?

Allegra Mason

Votes: 730

My daughter and I can smell snakes. My husband and others think we’re crazy. Can anyone else smell snakes?

You aren’t crazy. Many people can smell them. It’s most likely an ativistic trait. Snakes can be dangerous and it’s helpful for mammals and other animals to be able to smell them and stay away. I can smell them too and did some research.

Brett Sanderson

Votes: 3338

I wouldn’t think snakes would like the scent of bleach at all. Snakes don’t really ‘smell’, the way they sense things is to taste the air. When you see a snake sticking out it’s tongue, they are tasting the air of their surroundings. That’s how they compensate for not being able to smell things properly.

Bleach has a strong scent / taste to it that I would imagine is quite repulsive to snakes.

Georgia Bence

Votes: 7547

Chemical like that are very toxic to snakes, since they have very sensitive respiratory systems. Even scented candles can be bad for them, so I can’t imagine that they would like the smell of something so bad for them.

Hannah LembckeDonna Fernstrom

Votes: 7175

It will die in agonizing pain for the crime of being an animal you didn’t like.

Any snake you can see cannot hurt you unless you let it – snakes don’t chase people or attack them. If left alone, it will leave you alone. I’ve accidentally gotten very close to copperheads and cottonmouths and they did nothing – just don’t step on them and you’re fine.

Snakes don’t bite people if left alone, but they do bite rodents (well, most species do). Rodents spread disease, cause damage to homes and vehicles, damage food and crops/gardens, and cause tons of problems. Just let them be and they’ll help you far more than you realize.

Terri Millard

Votes: 3850

There is no substance that will effectively repel snakes. With the exception of a strong squirt from the water hose.

Those of us that keep snakes, both venomous and non-venomous, did a little experiment. We tried many different substances thought to repel snakes. They were either ignored, or curiously investigated, then ignored. Since snakes don’t have a sense of smell that works like ours, they don’t know what any substance smells like. When they flick their tongue out, it picks up molecules in the air. When the tongue comes back into the mouth, the molecules are picked up by the Jacobson’s organ, which sends a sort of picture to the snake’s brain. And even if they could smell the pungent aroma of illegally placed mothballs, who’s to say it’s not pleasant to them?

The only way to get them out is to keep them from coming in in the first place. Make sure all windows close securely and all screens have a tight fit. Seal all openings to the outdoors 1/4″ and over. Put hardware cloth over dryer vents and ducts.

And be thankful. You have free rodent control!

Chris Reid

Votes: 3663

The best way to do this is to choose a pet snake that was never venomous in the first place. If you choose a small constrictor like a corn snake, you can hold and pet it with no risk of venom at all.

Removing the fangs (specialised venom-delivering teeth) from a venomous snake does not make it safe — venomous snakes do naturally shed their fangs and regrow them.

Surgically blocking the venom ducts or removing the venom glands does not make a venomous snake safe. As they heal, the venom glands may grow back or the ducts may rejoin, and suddenly a snake you thought was harmless is not any more. This will be more likely to happen in places where it is illegal for a trained vet to do the surgery (those places tend to have better animal cruelty laws) because someone doing the surgery in their garage is a lot less likely to remove everything completely. Additionally, that has a pretty high death rate of the snakes, through surgical complications and because some snakes appear to need their venom as a part of the digestion process.

Having owned nonvenomous snakes and visited private keepers with venomous species — unaltered, they were fully capable of delivering a dangerous bite — I can say that the only difference in day to day keeping for 99% of people who want a snake is that if I make a mistake with my pets and get bitten, it is no big deal. If they make a mistake with their collection — NOT pets — they could lose their life. And in some places, even if the animal had been altered, you may still require a licence to keep a venomous species. Pretty much everything else is the same, you still need heating equipment, appropriate enclosures, long tongs to feed with… and the snakes still have to be fed and watered and have poop removed from the enclosure… so, what is it about what kind of venomous snake that makes you think you want one, instead of a nonvenomous species?

I am not against private ownership of venomous reptiles, but there are really not very many people who *should* own venomous reptiles, and the ones that should are the ones who accept that the venom is part of the package and are willing to have a snake to look at like part of a private zoo, not treat as a pet. There are two species I myself am interested in… but if I ever have them, they will not be handled or treated as pets.

Rebecca Billy

Votes: 8654

When I was growing up, the favored tool for dispatching rattlers was a shovel or garden hoe. One quick, sharp chop to remove the head was an efficient way to dispatch the squirmers.

Years later, when I lived in the green country of Oklahoma, where cottonmouths and copperheads are common (and don’t give you fair warning), they used to find their way into the house during warmer weather. I once encountered a sizeable copperhead lying on the cool tile floor in the hallway outside my bedroom. My son, who was still in diapers at the time, walked right past it without noticing. I cautioned him to stay where he was and pointed out the snake. Then I had a dilemma. If I went out to the garden shed for a shovel, I’d have to either leave my son in the house alone (with the snake) or I’d have to cross the snake’s path to get my son, and cross its path again on my way to fetch a shovel. And, by the time I returned, the snake could be anywhere in the house.

So, reminding my son to stay where he was–and thankfully he did–I took a few steps into the utility room, and grabbed the first likely weapon I could reach, a heavy iron-headed claw hammer, like so…

…and used it to smash in the snake’s head, sharpish. Understand, the handle on such a hammer is only about 8 inches, which is closer to a venomous snake than I ever wanted to get, and I couldn’t afford to miss. Even though I’d behaved calmly up until that instant, when I struck the snake, I delivered something like five or six blows—literal overkill.

I’m not suggesting that a hammer is the preferred tool for killing a snake, but, as in many cases, the best tool is often the one nearest to hand. Snakes can move quickly, and hide anywhere, so if it’s necessary to kill one, you’d best do it expediently.

For the record, I don’t recommend using this method on cottonmouths. They are deadly, aggressive snakes, who attack suddenly, like shot from a cannon. Their reach is farther than you would think, and–unlike most snakes–they don’t just attack when frightened or startled. A cottonmouth will attack you just for the hell of it, because you’re there, or they don’t like your looks. Their bites are potentially fatal and, even if you get immediate medical treatment with antivenin, they can make you very sick and leave terrible scars.

All that said, there is a particular weapon that is very effective against snakes. Not too long after this event, someone was “kind” enough to dump their unwanted, pregnant pet nearby–something that happens all too often if you live at the end of a dirt road in the country. If you want to get rid of your snake problem, get yourself a couple of these badass killing machines:

Cute, right? Feed them canned tuna, brush them, and let them laze around indoors all day, and they might just seem like a sweet companion for your dear old auntie. But don’t let that fool you. Cats are murderous by nature. Let them live outdoors, keep them healthy but slighly underfed, and love on them just enough that they remember where home is–and they will become excellent mousers. No field mice means no dinner for hungry snakes. After a couple weeks of hunting, the snakes will disappear–off to richer pastures.

And, if you’re lucky, you’ll have a Great Hunter, who will kill off baby snakes before they’re large enough to cause much harm.

I had one of these cats, rangy and scrappy and prone to leaving trophies at my front door. Her name was St. Gertrude the Lesser, and she was known to bring home entire armadillos (three times her size) for her siblings to feast upon. I would walk out the front door to find snake heads, bunny tails, armadillo scutes, and opossum tails pretty much any day of the week. Never saw another living snake on the property. Highly recommended.

Stefan Pociask

Votes: 4698

This is kind of a complicated subject despite the seeming simplicity of it. The answer is… yes… and no.

It’s been pretty much “well-known” that you can use cat urine to help deter rodents from entering your home. For years, people have used a solution as simple as using kitty litter in strategic places to keep away mice and rats. This has worked… sort of.

The reason I’m being so ambiguous with this is because it’s not cut and dry. Cat urine… in fact all urine… contains a chemical called phenylethylamine. This is the specific ingredient that affects prey species such as rodents, and elicits a response. People have used wolf urine to keep away coyotes, bobcat urine to keep away squirrels, and yes, cat urine to keep away rodents. There are two things going on here. One, is that an animal such as a coyote will smell the phenylethylamine, and two, the coyote will smell other chemicals to identify that urine as coming from a wolf. Both are needed to have a behavioral effect on the animal in question.

For instance, a coyote smelling only the wolf identifier will not necessarily react in a way that will keep the coyote away. It simply imparts knowledge to the coyote for the coyote to use as it proceeds. The chemical phenylethylamine on the other hand, has an actual effect on the brain… a chemical effect. And it’s this combination that causes a behavioral change, i.e.: keeping away from the area. The wolf identifier alone leaves the coyote choices to make. This is the same as when a coyote smells a wolf scent… not wolf urine, but just the general scent given off by the body of a wolf. The coyote will be wary, but not necessarily will it produce a reaction much beyond that. However, the phenylethylamine causes a chemical reaction that can’t be ignored by the brain. The reaction is related to the fight or flight response. Both aspects are needed for the coyote to be strongly motivated to exit the area.

For instance… since phenylethylamine exists in all urine, it is also present in cat urine. But cat urine will obviously not keep away a coyote. So this is a species specific situation. This shows the difference between when a predator “marks” a territory, and when that predator simply is present in the territory. These two situations have different effects on the species that is lower down on the food chain.

Okay, so there’s that. This is why species-specific urine has been used over the years to act as a repellent for various “pest” species. But… there’s a “but”.

This phenylethylamine, as I mentioned, has a chemical effect on the brain. That part is automatic. Essentially (but not exactly) it could be said to be similar to a sub-conscious effect. But the identifying scent of a predator, on the other hand, involves conscious decision. And conscious decisions are related to experience and learning. An animal learns about danger in part through experience. Cause and effect. “This smell is dangerous because when I smell it, I’ve seen wolves, and wolves have chased me, and wolves can tear me apart!”.

In the wild, this is pretty much the case in all predator-prey relationships. Smelling a wolf usually leads to seeing a wolf and maybe even being chased by a wolf.

Okay, so I said all of that in order to now directly address cat urine and rodents. Things change a bit from the scenario above because spreading cat urine, or kitty litter around, is not a “natural” and wild situation.

Domestic cats don’t go around spraying on every item that you want to keep mice away from. Oh, they might spray a bush or tree here and there, but they are not making a circle of urine around your house. Doing so produces an artificial situation. And here’s where the problem is. A mouse coming upon a deposit of kitty litter or cat urine will initially react just like the coyote above. The chemical will kick in and when combined with the smell of cat, the mouse will high-tail it out of there. But after a while, if there is no cat around… and only the scent… the learned reaction of fear will no longer be effective. There is cat smell, but no cat. “I smell a cat, but I’ve never been chased by this cat and it seems there are no bad consequences to smelling this smell”. So now, we have eliminated one of the two necessary aspects of the repellent. And here is where things backfire. The chemical is still there… still having a biochemical effect on the brain of the mouse… but no consequences. So the phenylethylamine now does something else. For the males, it makes the mice more aggressive, which increases their pheromones and also puts their mating drive into high gear. This, in turn, makes the males more attractive to the females. It hyper-sexualizes things. There is still the perceived aspect of a predator around, and the perceived aspect of danger, but with the increased aggressiveness of the males, this makes the females see these males as strong survivors and fighters, and therefore desirable mates… which is generally a pretty universal attractant to most species on Earth. Females seek out the strongest mates to procreate with.

So, you see… when cat urine is used artificially, it does not have the same end result as urine “markings” in the wild. The constant pressure from, and the actual danger of the predator, must be present in order for it to act as a long-term deterrent. In the wild, that is the case. Even with domestic cats, if there is a healthy population of feral cats in any area, this is essentially a wild state and mice and rats will be deterred by this. But if that’s the case, there won’t be any need for spreading kitty litter or cat urine around anyway, because there is already predatory pressure by all the outdoor cats. But if that is not the case… then artificial use of cat urine could very quickly have the opposite effect on a population of rodents. The aggressiveness of, and therefore the mating of, rodents will increase more than would be the case if the cat urine applied artificially was not used at all. The rodents will be super-charged! And at the very least, the urine will have no practical effect at all, in decreasing their presence in areas that you want to keep them away from.

On the surface, this seems like a simple matter of the rodents “getting used to” the kitty litter or urine, and therefore eventually ignoring it. But the reasons behind it are a bit more complex than that, as I’ve explained above. This is why it works in the wild, but not very effective in artificially created situations. At least not long-term.

Finally, let me point out that this was a very simplified and narrow explanation. The subject of chemical communication is extremely deep and complex. Volumes have been written and studied, and volumes more are to come as we continue to delve into the complexities of this. Above, I merely touched on the subject of using cat urine as a repellent for rodents, and some of the findings on this specific subject. But it should be noted that mere urine is not exactly the same fluid as that which is used by many animals as “markers”… as in, when they spray objects (for several reasons). This being said… simple urine, as would be found in kitty litter, is not entirely the same as Marking Fluid, which involves specific glands.. I’ll end it at that.

As far as snakes… no. There is no predatory pressure by cats, on snakes. So, if for that reason alone, cat urine won’t deter snakes.

Paulette Oakes

Votes: 7685

Sometimes, I really wish I could crawl inside the brain of a cat and figure out their motivation for doing certain things. I had a cat that LOVED the smell of bleach.

This fluffy thundercloud of love was Mister.

Mister always knew when it was time to clean the bathroom and he would watch my every move. When I was finished scrubbing the tub, I would spray it down with copious amounts of bleach to keep the pesky mildew at bay, and he could barely contain himself until I was done. I tried to keep him away, and would often close him outside the door, but he would yowl his fool head off until I let him back inside.

He never licked it or ingested it, but the crazy bastard would drag his butt all over my newly clean tub right through the bleach. He did the same thing when I mopped the kitchen floors, too. To this day, it remains one of life’s mysteries for me why Mister loved it so much. Maybe it did smell like a territorial marking to him, like I read in a previous answer, and his method of reclaiming his territory was to drag his ass through it in protest. Who knows? Cats are weird, man.

Poor Mister died suddenly at the age of 18 months from a congenital heart defect and I have missed him every day. He was fluffy goofball and the only cat that my Himalayan princess has ever loved. He wasn’t real smart, but he was mine.

Zed Child

Votes: 5842

First off, snakes want even less to do with you, than you want to do with them. A very good example is there’s a huge western diamondback that lives about 1km down the road from me. It’s at least 70″ long and thicker in the middle than i could hold with one hand closed and still have several inches of space between my thumb and middle finger. Its thicker than my forearm! So, i see this snake and its always by the side of the road as I’m walking. Twice now, had the snake not darted when my foot hit the ground less than 6 inches from its head, i never would have even seen it. The dozen or so sightings have all resulted in the snake leaving away from me soon as it knows I’m/somebody is there. And as i said, twice it could have easily bit me. But it chooses to retreat.

Now, what to do if you come upon a snake. If possible, do not get closer to it. Either move away or let it move away. If you absolutely must, i would suggest a firearm. A handgun will work, as long as you know how to handle one. A long gun, like a shotgun, will work very well. A .410, which is a very small bore with little recoil will kill any snake you’d find in the USA. If you don’t have or want to use a firearm, a machete will work. But it does require you and the snake to get very close.

I’ve wrangled about a dozen snakes that were in the house over the last 20 years. Copperheads are the most common around here. While the probably would not kill a human that is fully grown, the bite can be very bad. I did have the good fortune to wrangle a Coral inside my foyer. It was big for a Coral: about 20″. Those are deadly. But they have a very small mouth so unless they tag you on your feet or hands, they won’t be able to bite you.

If you live where snake lives, be very mindful of where you walk. Do not wear sandals or open-toed shoes, and if they are about, like in the woods or brush, wear boots and long pants. You may also want to check with your state park service or local animal control. I know they often will have short classes on snake protocol; what to do, and where you’re most likely to find them. Remember, they just want to live and they really do not want to be near you at all. So, try not to kill them if it can be avoided.

Donna Fernstrom

Votes: 2868

What should I do if there is a snake nest in my garden?

Well, first we have to figure out what you mean by ‘nest.’ If you mean a snake has deposited eggs in a burrow or under a log, etc, then there’s really nothing you need to do. Once the babies hatch, they will disperse – they’ll leave the area because the opened shells might draw predators. Whether this is any concern to you depends on where in the world you live. In the United States, the only veno

Donna Fernstrom

Votes: 8783

What are some natural pesticides to keep snakes out of a yard?

Pesticides don’t keep snakes out of things. They kill things. That’s where the ‘cide’ part of the word comes from. If you put sufficient pesticides around your yard to kill snakes, you’ll be damaging your own health as well, likely in some pretty horrific ways.

If you want to keep snakes out of your yard, remove brush piles and hiding places, food sources for rodents, and water sources. Nothing will want to live in your yard, so snakes will not come in either. They want three things — a place to hide, food to eat (rodents, for most species), and water. If those things aren’t in your yard, then

Norman Barrett

Votes: 667

What are the natural ways to keep snakes away from the house without harming them?

Do not let anyone tell you that lemon grass, garlic, roses, used oil, Commercial snake repel, jeyes fluid….. can repel snakes.

This is from the African Snakebite Institute and I cannot say it better.

“A reminder on the issue of Snake Repellents.

The issue of snake repellents comes up regularly and no matter how often it is addressed, there are still lots of people that believe in spraying Jeyes Fluid around their houses to keep snakes away. And they then resort to poor logic – “We had two snakes last year but since we sprayed Jeyes Fluid we no longer have snakes. Works wonderfully.” Well not quit


Votes: 6110

Why does my snake milk smell like bleach?

Can’t tell you the scientific reason why, but I can tell you that that is what it typically smells like. So, no worries as far as that goes. (I’m assuming that you are concerned something is wrong.)

Mark Lapierre

Votes: 9396

How did people avoid getting bit by snakes when sugarcane had to be harvested by hand?

Number one, cane is burnt first then harvested. This certainly will temporarily move them out or into rodent burrows. Plus while chopping cane the noise and activity will cause them to hide. A wild animal’s instincts are to hide. Remember despite some folks beliefs, there is basically no evidence that lower vertebrates have a meaningful self awareness. A mamba or garter snake both might bite if captured. The mamba or other venomous snakes don’t “know” they’re dangerous, as we would. Morale of the story, self preservation is the rule. Hiding is safest means of survival for small animals such as

Tom McDonald

Votes: 5757

What is the best way to repel snakes?

No snake repellents work.

Tuco Benedicto Pacifico Juan Maria Rameriez

Votes: 6825

Where do rats like being petted?

Yes they welcome affection. The poor creatures are often misunderstood.

Ryan Payne

Votes: 8783

Can you spray for snakes?

Nope. Snake repellents are as effective as snake oil. If you want to keep snakes out of your yard, you can install netting. However, snakes will frequently end up ensnared in it and will slowly die of exposure/starvation/predators if not rescued.

Just keep something in mind, though: snakes are a healthy part of most ecosystems. You bulldozed a part of that ecosystem to build your home (understandably; you need somewhere to live.) You “intruded” upon them, not the other way around. They do not deserve to be killed for being on your property.

If you think its a venomous snake, call a wildlife resc

Jeff Spaeth

Votes: 558

Does salt keep snakes away?

No…no poison is effective at keeping snakes away if they are hungry and food is around you.

Salt is not a poison per say…but other more toxic compounds are also of no value in keeping snakes on one side of it. Chances are you would poison yourself and your family.

A perfect example of treating a problem to cause more harm to you than than to the problem itself.

Chris Reid

Votes: 2913

Can boiling water kill a snake?

Boiling water absolutely can kill a snake if the snake is dropped in it or the water is poured directly on it, but it is not a humane or painless way for the animal to die. It would also cause scalding burns if the animal didn’t die straight away.

Using boiling water to try to remove an unwanted snake is not the fastest or safest method, since you’d have to be very close to the animal if not actually holding it, and a snake that’s just been injured by the water is more likely to strike out to defend itself. If you’re trying to get rid of an unwanted wild snake it is better to contact a local sn

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