Does Ammonia Repel Snakes: Fact or Fiction

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Snakes have coexisted with humans for centuries. Though intriguing and crucial to the ecosystem, these scaly animals may be a nuisance in our homes and parks. Many people have tried ammonia as a possible snake protection in their search for something that works. But is it true that does ammonia repel snakes or is this just a common myth? 

Even though the strong smell of ammonia might make it seem like it would be a good way to keep snakes away, there is no solid scientific evidence that Ammonia repels snakes to a high extent.

Find out the shocking truth in this fascinating look at how ammonia might be able to keep snakes away.

Ammonia As A Snake Repellent

Ammonia, a strong-smelling chemical, could repel snakes. Snake species use their keen sense of smell to explore and are frightened by this awful chemical. Despite their efficiency, many people use ammonia to get rid of these slithering pests.


Ammonia’s powerful odor confuses and repels snakes. Snakes escape when they smell this foul odor. Homeowners may repel snakes by spreading ammonia-soaked rags or cotton balls around sensitive spots.

Ammonia repels snakes but also has downsides. The substance can be harmful, so care must be taken when handling and storing it. Also, it is important to think about the natural effects of using ammonia in this way since it could accidentally hurt other animals in the area.

How Ammonia Affects Snakes?

Ammonia effect snakes in the following ways:

Odor Sensitivity

Snakes use their sense of smell to discover meals, evade predators, and find mates. Snakes’ exceptional sensitivity to chemical stimuli comes from their vomeronasal organ or Jacobson’s organ. Snakes can detect minute amounts of ammonia using their complicated chemosensory system.

Snakes mainly encounter ammonia in other animals’ urine. Snakes use this substance’s odor to communicate about conspecifics’ and other species’ existence and health. Snakes use ammonia to determine territory, resources, and breeding chances.

Despite its importance, ammonia can overload snakes’ sensitive odor systems. High ammonia levels can desensitize vomeronasal organ receptors, impairing olfaction and decision-making. This emphasizes the need of keeping snakes in captivity clean and balanced, as ammonia can harm their sensory health.

Physiological Effects

Ammonia affects snakes’ health beyond their olfactory system. Snakes can tolerate some ammonia, but too much can harm their physiological systems. Ammonia exposure causes respiratory distress. Ammonia gas can irritate snakes’ fragile respiratory tissues, causing inflammation, difficulty breathing, and respiratory dysfunction. Chronic ammonia exposure can cause life-threatening respiratory infections including pneumonia.

Ammonia’s corrosivity can also irritate and burn the snake’s scales and skin tissues. This can cause skin blemishes, shedding issues, and infection susceptibility. Damage to the integumentary system may compromise the snake’s thermoregulation, causing more physiological suffering.

Ammonia’s neurotoxicity can also affect snakes. Neurotoxicity from ammonia can cause confusion, lethargy, convulsions, and paralysis. These neurological disorders can hinder a snake’s ability to hunt, travel, and avoid predators.

Using Ammonia As A Repellent

Ammonia, which smells bad and has strong repellent qualities, has been used to keep bugs and unwanted animals away. It has a strong smell that many animals find offensive, which can keep them from living in or going to certain places. This property makes ammonia a viable alternative to commercial insect repellents, especially for those seeking a more environmentally benign or cost-effective option.

Application Methods 

Soaked Cotton Balls or Rags 

Soak rags or cotton balls in a mixture of ammonia and water, and then place them around the area you want to cover in a smart way. This method is especially good at keeping snakes and other small animals away. Change out the rags or cotton balls often to keep the protection working.

Spray Solution

Mix the same amounts of ammonia and water in a spray bottle, and then mist the mixture around the area you want to clean. This method can be used to keep insects away and to keep more giant animals out by making an unseen barrier. Apply the solution again after it rains or as needed to keep it working.

Homemade Ammonia Stations

Use small plastic bins with lids to make accessible stations. Make holes in the lids and put things like rags, cotton balls, or wood shavings that have been soaked in ammonia. Put these stations in places that will attract the pests or animals you want to get rid of.

Safety Precautions

Personal Protective Equipment 

When working with ammonia, you should always wear gloves, shields, and a mask to protect your skin, eyes, and lungs from direct touch. If you don’t handle it right, ammonia can cause discomfort, chemical burns, and breathing problems.


When using ammonia in a small area, make sure there is enough airflow. This will help get rid of the strong smells and reduce the chance that people or pets in the house will have trouble breathing or get hurt.


Keep ammonia away from heat sources, direct sunlight, and open flames since it can catch fire in some situations. Keep it in a safe place, away from children and pets, and clearly name it so it doesn’t get eaten or used incorrectly.


Ammonia should only be used in minimal amounts and with extreme caution to prevent harming wildlife that is not the intended target and to prevent disrupting the natural equilibrium. Ammonia may be harmful to the environment and the living organisms that inhabit it if it is utilized in excessive amounts.

What Types Of Snakes Are Most Likely To Be Repelled By Ammonia?

Some people still argue whether ammonia works as a snake protection, but some species might be more sensitive to its strong smell. Two of the most common snakes have been seen to have different levels of sensitivity.

Garter Snakes


According to Genome Biol Evol Garter snakes are common in North America. They are often found in private places, which makes people want to get rid of them. These small, non-venomous snakes have a fantastic sense of smell that helps them find food and stay away from danger. The strong ammonia smell confuses garter snakes, which causes them to feel unwell and leave the area. But it’s important to note that ammonia may not always work to eliminate garter snakes because some are stronger than others.



Rattlesnakes are snakes that live in the Americas. They are well known for their poisonous bites and their loud rattles. These snakes use their good sense of smell to hunt and find their way around. This makes them sensitive to strong odors like ammonia. Rattlesnakes can be scared away by the smell of ammonia, which makes them move away from the source. But it still needs to be determined how well this method works because it depends on age, environment, and individual tolerance.

It’s important to say again that ammonia doesn’t always work to scare snakes away, and its effects may be different depending on the type of snake. Also, using ammonia to keep snakes away must be done in a safe way for the earth and other living things.

Alternative Snake Repellents

Natural Repellents

According to Toxicol Int natural snake repellents are good for the environment and can keep snakes away. Marigolds, for example, have a strong smell that most snakes don’t like, which makes them a great choice for yard edges. Plants like lemongrass and mother-in-law’s tongue also keep snakes out of the area because their leaves have sharp edges that make them uncomfortable. By growing such plants, homes can make a place where snakes don’t want to live and make the area more eco-friendly.

Essential Oils

Essential oils are made from the essence of plants and are becoming more popular as non-toxic ways to keep snakes away. Strong-smelling oils like clove, cinnamon, and peppermint can confuse and scare away snakes. Mixing these oils with water and spraying them along snake entry places allows you to keep snakes away without hurting other animals. But it is important to repeat these products often because the smell may fade over time.

Predator Odors

Using snakes’ natural fear of their natural predators, like mongooses, hawks, and owls, as a way to avoid them may be a good idea. By putting decoys or smells of predators in the area, one can make it seem like the area is dangerous, making snakes avoid it. But the success of this method may rely on the type of snake and how their predator-prey relationships work.

Physical Barriers

Putting up physical barriers is a solid way to keep snakes out of places they shouldn’t be. Fine mesh or hardware cloth can be used to make snake-proof fences that can be put up around fields, homes, and other sensitive places. Ensuring the fence goes underground with a small angle outward will make it hard for a snake to dig or climb. Even though they take a lot of work and could be expensive, physical walls are a long-lasting and environmentally friendly way to keep snakes away.

Final Thoughts

Ammonia’s strong smell makes it useful as snake protection, but before using it, it’s important to consider possible risks to human health and the environment. Natural snake repellents, essential oils, predator smells, and physical hurdles are some of the other ways to keep snakes away that may be better for the environment and last longer.

Different methods have different success levels, suggesting that a mixed approach may be the best way to go. When picking a snake repellent, it’s important to consider how it might affect the environment and other animals. Give ethical and humane options that keep natural balance the most weight.


Ammonia is available for purchase from various locations, such as neighborhood hardware stores, grocery stores, and even online bazaars. When working with ammonia, it is essential to adhere to the required safety procedures for handling and storing the chemical.

Reapplication intervals vary from repellant to repellent and environment to environment. Reapplication of ammonia and essential oils may be necessary every few days or after precipitation. Install physical barriers or grow snake-repelling vegetation as permanent answers.

Place rags or cotton balls that have been soaked in ammonia in places where snakes are likely to come. But it doesn’t always work, and there are risks, so people are told to be careful when they use it.

Even though there is some proof that ammonia is helpful, it should be used with great care because it is acidic and bad for the environment. Whenever you can, choose choices that are better for the world.

Some plants that have been shown to keep snakes away are marigolds, lemongrass, and mother-in-law’s tongue. If they are added to the scenery, they could make it impossible for snakes to live in the area.

Some toxins, like naphthalene (which can be found in mothballs) and sulfur, have been shown to work well to keep snakes away. But their effects on the environment and the chance that they could hurt other animals make them less acceptable as options.

Even though mothballs with naphthalene have been used to keep snakes away in the past, it is still not clear whether or not they work. Also, they are bad for the climate and people’s health, so they are not a good choice as a solution.


Gupta YK, Peshin SS. Do herbal medicines have potential for managing snake bite envenomation? Toxicol Int. 2012 May;19(2):89-99. doi: 10.4103/0971-6580.97194. PMID: 22778503; PMCID: PMC3388772.