How To Get Rid Of Garter Snakes Without Killing Them

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How to get rid of garter snakes without killing them – Garter snakes, though often harmless, can become unwelcome guests in our homes and gardens. If you’re looking for ways to get rid of them without resorting to lethal methods, you’re in luck. This guide will provide you with humane and effective solutions to keep garter snakes away while ensuring their well-being.

From physical barriers and relocation to natural and commercial repellents, we’ll cover a range of options to suit your specific needs. We’ll also discuss habitat modification techniques and prevention tips to minimize the chances of future snake encounters.

Humane Removal Methods

Garter snakes are beneficial creatures that play a role in the ecosystem, but they can also be a nuisance around homes and gardens. If you’re dealing with a garter snake problem, there are several humane ways to remove them without resorting to lethal methods.

Physical barriers, such as fences or mesh screens, can prevent snakes from entering your property. You can also seal up any cracks or holes in your home’s foundation to block their entry.


If you find a garter snake on your property, you can relocate it to a more suitable habitat. Before doing so, check your local laws and regulations regarding the relocation of snakes.

To relocate a garter snake, gently capture it using a snake hook or a long stick. Place the snake in a secure container with air holes and transport it to a nearby natural area, such as a park or a wooded area.


Certain scents and substances can deter garter snakes from entering your property. These include:

  • Naphthalene mothballs
  • Garlic
  • Cinnamon
  • Peppermint oil

You can sprinkle these substances around your home’s perimeter or place them in small containers near potential entry points.

Habitat Modification

Modifying the environment can be an effective way to discourage garter snakes from inhabiting certain areas. By removing hiding places and reducing moisture, you can make your property less attractive to these reptiles.

Some specific habitat changes that you can make include:

Eliminating Hiding Places

  • Remove piles of wood, rocks, or debris from your yard.
  • Keep your grass mowed short.
  • Trim bushes and shrubs regularly.
  • Seal up any cracks or holes in your foundation or walls.

Reducing Moisture

  • Fix any leaks in your roof or plumbing.
  • Install a dehumidifier in your basement or crawlspace.
  • Keep your gutters clean and free of debris.
  • Grade your yard so that water drains away from your house.

Natural Repellents

How to get rid of garter snakes without killing them

Harnessing nature’s arsenal, various natural substances can effectively deter garter snakes without causing harm. Essential oils, vinegar, and sulfur are among the most effective repellents.

Essential Oils, How to get rid of garter snakes without killing them

Essential oils, concentrated plant extracts, emit potent scents that snakes find unappealing. Peppermint, cinnamon, clove, and eucalyptus oils are particularly effective. Dilute 10-15 drops of the chosen oil in 1 cup of water and spray it around entry points, hiding spots, and areas where snakes are frequently sighted.


Vinegar’s pungent odor repels garter snakes. Create a 50:50 mixture of white vinegar and water and spray it liberally around the perimeter of your property, paying special attention to entry points and areas where snakes congregate.


Sulfur’s pungent smell is highly effective in deterring snakes. Sprinkle powdered sulfur around potential entry points, such as cracks in foundations, gaps under doors, and holes in walls. Alternatively, create a sulfur spray by mixing 1 tablespoon of powdered sulfur with 1 gallon of water and spray it around the perimeter of your property.

Commercial Repellents: How To Get Rid Of Garter Snakes Without Killing Them

Garter snake rid

Commercial repellents are readily available and specifically designed to deter garter snakes. These products typically contain ingredients that emit strong odors or tastes that snakes find unappealing. While commercial repellents can be effective in deterring snakes, it’s important to note that their effectiveness may vary depending on the individual snake and the specific product used.

It’s essential to read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully when using commercial repellents. Some products may require reapplication at regular intervals to maintain their effectiveness. It’s also important to ensure that the repellent is safe for use around pets and children.

Safety Considerations

When choosing a commercial repellent, opt for products that are specifically labeled for use against snakes. Avoid using products that contain harsh chemicals or ingredients that could be harmful to humans or animals.

Prevention Techniques

How to get rid of garter snakes without killing them

Proactively preventing garter snakes from entering your property is crucial. By taking the necessary precautions, you can significantly reduce the chances of encountering these reptiles in your yard or home.

Implementing these prevention techniques requires a comprehensive approach, addressing potential entry points, food sources, and yard maintenance. Here are the key steps to follow:

Sealing Entry Points

  • Inspect your property thoroughly for any gaps or cracks in foundations, walls, pipes, or vents.
  • Seal all openings using caulk, expanding foam, or weatherstripping.
  • Pay particular attention to areas where utilities enter your home, such as around pipes and wires.

Removing Potential Food Sources

  • Eliminate standing water sources, such as birdbaths or clogged gutters, which attract frogs and insects that snakes prey on.
  • Keep pet food indoors or in sealed containers to prevent attracting rodents, which are a food source for snakes.
  • Remove piles of debris, leaves, or compost that provide hiding places for prey and snakes.

Maintaining a Clean Yard

  • Regularly mow your lawn to reduce hiding spots for snakes and their prey.
  • Trim bushes and shrubs to eliminate dense vegetation that provides cover.
  • Keep your yard free of clutter and debris that could attract snakes or their food sources.

Safety Considerations

Garter snakes instructables

Handling garter snakes, even with non-lethal methods, requires caution. These snakes can bite if threatened, and their bites, though not typically dangerous to humans, can be painful. It’s essential to take appropriate precautions to ensure the safety of both yourself and the snake.

When removing or relocating a garter snake, wear thick gloves and avoid making sudden movements that may startle the snake. If possible, use a long-handled tool, such as a snake hook or a broom, to gently guide the snake into a container for relocation.

Safe Relocation

When relocating a garter snake, choose a site that is at least a few miles away from your home and is a suitable habitat for the snake, such as a wooded area or a field with tall grass. Release the snake gently into the new environment and leave it alone to adjust to its surroundings.