If you live in a country or place where snakes are common, you may have seen one in your back yard or garden at some point. It’s never pleasant, as snakes are one of those animals which provoke an intense reaction in people – who wouldn’t want to keep them away from their property
Now if you own a dog, you might have heard that dog poop keeps snakes away. I can’t remember the first time I heard this, but just how true is it? I decided to find out.
Does dog poop keep snakes away?
Despite what you might have heard, dog poop does not keep snakes away and deter them from entering your yard, garden, home, or property. Snakes do not respect boundaries and will not consider dog poop as an indicator they are entering your dog’s territory.
Territorial markings don’t tend to cross animal species that well, particularly with reptiles to mammals. In other words, a snake will not encounter dog poop and be scared that it’s entering into the territory of a predator.
Snakes are motivated purely by survival and sensing danger. They are used to gliding over poop of multiple animals in the wild and will not be deterred by a dog unless they hear or see it.
And in fact, dog poop could have the opposite effect of keeping snakes away as I will explain below.
Dog poop could actually attract snakes!
Snakes prey on rodents. Rodents are attracted by mess and another animal’s poop. This means your dog’s poop could attract mice and rats, which in turn leads to snakes in your yard.
As long as there are rodents on your property, there will be snakes too.
This means you should clean up after your dog to make the outdoor environment as unappealing and unpleasant to rodents and snakes as possible.
Pick up any dog poop, clean up dog food bowls, and don’t let any food get left on the ground.
Will a dog scare the snakes away?
Whilst dog poop won’t keep snakes away, your dog himself might do. Snakes hate noise and movement, and this will often make them do a quick exit. But not necessarily though… it depends on the snake, the dog, and other factors.
Other things to consider are that you want to avoid your dog eating a snake. Snakes can carry disease and parasites that can make dogs ill. There’s also the risk of snake bites harming your dog.
Handy Hint: Did you know that dogs can survive rattlesnake bites but they need to be seen very quickly for antivenom treatment to be administered.
Ideally you want the two animals kept apart if possible.
However, most species of snake will slither away if a dog gives chase. Breeds such as Beagles, Basset Hounds, Jack Russell Terriers, and Bloodhounds have a great sense of smell and hearing so could be a good choice.
If you’re looking for a dog that will kill snakes, there are no breeds that naturally want to hunt them. Snakes are not something that dog desire in their diet, so you’re best looking to breeds that have hunter killer instincts towards small animals – Rat Terriers and Airedales being two such breeds.
Handy Hint: Read my latest guide about snake dogs including which breeds are more inclined to catch and kill reptiles.
How to keep snakes from your yard without dog poop
Given we now know that dog poop isn’t a realistic snake deterrent, and there are risks of your dog being bitten, here are alternative ways you can scare snake away.
1. Keep your yard clean
Snakes thrive in messy environments and like to hide in places. If you have junk in your yard, then it makes for the perfect place for a snake to get under. Woodpiles are a fantastic places for snakes to hide out.
Mess and debris, particularly food or animal waste, will attract rodents (here’s how to store poop). This means if you’re feeding your dog outdoors, keep the food bowls cleaned and replaced daily. The same goes for bird feeders.
If rats and mice do enter your yard due to the mess, this will in turn attract snakes looking to hunt and feed on them.
Handy Hint: Keeping a clean yard and mice away is also important because dogs can get sick from eating rodent droppings and poop.
2. Keep grass short
Keeping mowing your lawn as it grows through the summer. This will help to keep snakes away rather than trying dog poop. The reason why? Snakes like the cover that long grass offers them.
When grass is short, snakes cannot move freely without attracting the attention of predators. It will also help you to spot them before treading on one!
3. Eliminate water sources
Snakes like to get to water, and whilst it might be impossible to remove a pond or stream from your yard, you should get rid of any other accessible water sources. This means cleaning up any damp areas, such as tarpaulins where water can gather, or a kids’ paddling pool.
You might also want to consider not watering your lawn. Wet grass will attract worms, slugs, and frogs which snakes like to feed on.
To conclude, dog poop does not keep snakes away, and in fact could contribute towards more snakes coming into your yard!
You might also like…
On the topic of unwanted guests, you might also like the following helpful guides.