Camping is a great way to get away from the busy life of a big city and relax in the outdoors. But if you’re going camping in snake country, then there are some things that you should know about keeping your family safe while having fun. This article will discuss tips on how to keep snakes away while camping!
Here are 9 ways you can keep snakes away while camping:
- Chose a campsite with less snake population.
- Pitch your tent away from bushes, water and long grass.
- Store your food in an airtight container to contain the smell.
- Keep your campsite clean from food leftover.
- Make a campfire and leave smouldering firewoods overnight.
- Break campsite silence with music to scare them away.
- Get a good tent and inspect it before bedtime.
- Wear suitable long shoes.
- Keep a flashlight nearby to scare them with light.
Let’s explain each of these tips in a bit more detail so that the next time you go camping, you are fully prepared and have a snake-free time with your friends and family.
To better deter snakes, it is important to know a little about them. For example, what they eat, where they live and hide and what attracts them to your campsite.
Why are snakes attracted to campsites?
Snakes are carnivorous and feed on small rodents such as mice, rats, squirrels and chipmunks, frogs, birds, lizards, and even their own kind. Your campsite attracts these small rodents due to food leftovers which in turn attracts snakes and it becomes one big food chain party.
Snakes are attracted to campsites because they provide a perfect place for them to find their prey and also offer shelter from the elements. So while camping, it’s crucial to keep other rodents away that might attract snakes.
Where do snakes live or hide?
Snakes are introverts and like to live away from humans. They don’t like us as much as we don’t like them. They tend to hide in dark but warm places like bushes, under big rocks, and tree trunks.
At your campsite, they might take shelter under your tent (because it is warm) or even inside your shoes. Keeping a pile of dirty laundry or your camping/hiking gear outside can also provide a good shelter for them to hide overnight.
They can also camouflage themselves in long grass and bushes mainly looking for and stalking their prey.
How to Keep Snakes Away While Camping?
Now that we know a little about snakes and their behavior, let us discuss how you can keep them away from your campsite.
1. Chose a campsite free of snakes.
Some states in the US have more snake populations, like Arizona, Florida, and Texas. So it’s a good idea to check the map of wild animals in your state and camping site before planning a camping trip.
Also, most state and national parks have information about snakes and other wild dwellers on their official website that can help you plan your trip. Some people have an extreme fear of snakes called Ophidiophobia. If you have such issues, perhaps it’s better to choose a campground that is less likely to have snake problems.
2. Select a suitable location for your tent
As mentioned earlier, snakes are not prone to hang around humans and prefer secluded areas. For this reason, opt for a campsite that is far from bushes and long grass where snakes can be found.
Campsites near marshlands or water bodies become more of a haven for these creatures due to rodents getting attracted by the vegetation there.
If you have to pick a campsite near marshlands, try pitching your tent on the dry ground away from the vegetation.
3. Store your food in air-tight containers
One of the easiest ways to keep snakes away is by storing your food in an air-tight container. That way, the food doesn’t lie around in the open, attracting rodents and other small animals that attract snakes.
Storing your food away in tight containers also prevents other crawlers like spiders from coming to your campsite.
Tidy up your campsite and remove all food leftovers. These food leftovers will attract small insects and rodents as we discussed above.
4. Make a campfire to deter snakes
Campfire can also help you repel snakes from your campsite. Its warmth and smoke can effectively deter them from coming near you.
As snakes are active mostly after sundown, if you make a campfire at that time and keep it blazing till late at night, it will make sure your campsite is snake-free. Even after you go to sleep, you can carefully scatter the smoulderings around your tent so that the smoke and heat can protect you till dawn.
5. Scare them away with noise
Snakes are afraid of humans so if they hear your voice or someone making noise around your campsite, they will scurry away.
You can also play music around your campsite on portable speakers to scare them away. Place the portable speakers on the ground with speakers facing the ground and turn them on to keep snakes away. Turn up the bass and volume, but not too much. Snakes are sensitive to vibration, so they will avoid coming near it.
If you have a dog with you, let them run free to scare off snakes or any other small animals that are near your campsite.
6. Inspect your tent before going to bed
When returning to your camp after a day out, take the time to inspect your tent before entering it and check if there is any snake inside or near it.
Make sure your tent is sealed from all sides and there are no holes or tears to let snakes inside. If you find any holes, patch it up on-site if you have the necessary patching kit.
7. Wear long shoes to cover your feet
According to a study, 13% of snake bites happen at the feet or ankles. So if you are wearing long boots or shoes, it can help prevent bites to lower parts of your body when walking around in areas where snakes are found.
Wear long shoes, preferable boots made of thick materials so the cold-blooded creature finds it difficult to bite through them.
Snakes and scorpions often tend to hide inside shoes when you leave them out. Try to keep your shoes inside the tent. If that’s not possible, stuff socks inside your shoes so that snake cannot get inside.
8. Wear gloves if venturing into high grass or bushes
If you are planning to venture deep inside bushes or tall grasses it is best to wear tough leather gloves so that you don’t come in contact with any poisonous insect or snake.
Snake fangs cannot penetrate tough leather so you will be relatively safe even if you encounter a snake.
9. Do not sleep directly on the ground
Snakes like to nestle inside tall grass areas and rocks near the campsite. So it is best to not sleep directly on the ground if you know the area is not snake-free.
Hammocks are particularly helpful against snakes as you will be sleeping a few feet above the ground. Although snakes can easily claim tall trees, sleeping above the ground does decrease the chance of getting bitten by a wandering snake.
10. Always take a flashlight with you while going to the bathroom
It is best to always carry a flashlight with you at night so that you can easily spot any snake or other small animals before they come in contact with your feet. Always stay away from tall grasses and bushes when going to the bathroom, as snakes like to hide in those areas.
Are there any snake repellents?
There are a few commercially available products that claim to keep snakes away if used but their efficacy is highly questionable.
However, there are some natural remedies that help repel snakes which you can easily make at home. These home remedies include using peppermint, lemongrass oil, or essential oil based granules. This one has very good reviews on Amazon though I have not used it personally.
Peppermint and lemongrass oils can also be used to keep insects like mosquitoes away that create problems while camping. It is best to use pure essential oils for this purpose as they are potent and natural.
However, it is advised to use them in well-ventilated areas.
Do rope lights keep snakes away?
It is an old notion that putting a rope around your sleeping area will deter snakes from crawling over it. I haven’t seen any conclusive test to prove or disprove this theory, but many RV campers put a string of LED lights around their RV to deter rodents and thus snakes.
Snakes are sensitive to light and will not seek an area that is highly illuminated at night. So, it is a good idea to put a string of cheap LED lights around your tent. This will make your campsite more decorated and work as a snake deterrent to some extent.
Does vinegar keep snakes away?
This widely used remedy keeps snakes away by emitting a strong vinegar smell. The theory behind this method is that the snake does not like the sharp and sour-smelling liquid and will look for a different area to settle in.
Another theory claims that a surface wet with vinegar becomes acidic and a snake slithering over it will absorb the acid through its belly skin and will deter from going further.
Can snakes get into a closed tent?
Snakes cannot get inside a closed tent unless you leave the zips open. However, it is best to ensure that your tent does not have any openings to keep insects and other small creatures out.
What smell do snakes hate?
Snakes are very sensitive to strong smells. They hate Vinegar and the Ammonia smell. If you soak a cloth into Ammonia and spread it around the area, it will be enough to deter snakes from coming near it.
Several solutions are available in the market for keeping snakes away through effective odor control. These include sprays, granules, and pellets. Most of these are based on herbal extracts designed to keep snakes away by emitting a strong odor.
Why are snakes dangerous?
Snakes are not really aggressive animals, but you should know that they can give you a deadly bite if threatened or cornered. Most snake bites happen when people try to kill them by stepping on them, so it’s best to remain calm and don’t harass the animal and try to scare from away by clapping your hands or shushing or, if possible, just ignoring it.
Keeping snakes away while camping is a lot easier than you might think. Apart from the above-discussed preventive measures, you can also use these natural snake repellents that can drive them out of your tent area and keep the rodents they love to hunt at bay.
Recommended Camping Gears: I have compiled a list of my favourite camping gear in one place. The selection is based on my own personal experience using them for many years camping as well as feedback from fellow campers. Check them out on my Recommended Camping Gears page