Do Mothballs Keep Snakes Away?

Written by Jeremiah Wright
Updated: November 1, 2022
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Snakes are typically elusive, cautious creatures that prefer to avoid contact with humans only attacking when they feel threatened, for the most part. They can be somewhat useful to have around owing to their carnivorous nature and preference for feeding on grubs, insects, mice, rats, slugs, and even other snakes. They can also serve as food sources for other creatures such as hawks.

Although most snakes in North America are harmless, there are a few poisonous species that may harm humans and pets. Their reputation as sinister, venomous reptiles doesn’t help either and unsurprisingly, many home and property owners prefer to keep them well away from their vicinity. Hence the interest in a number of remedies for keeping them at bay. One of which happens to be a white hard substance with a somewhat strong chemical-like odor. So, do moth balls keep snakes away?

Find out what they are precisely, if they’re effective in this regard, and what remedies really are.

What Exactly Are Mothballs?

Mothballs are small balls made of deodorant and chemical insecticide used to store and preserve valuables prone to mold or moth larvae damage.


Mothballs, as their name implies, are small balls made of deodorant and chemical insecticide used to store and preserve clothes and other valuables prone to mold or moth larvae damage. They have become used for various purposes other than the original reasons for which they were manufactured. Do moth balls keep snakes away? Should you actually be stocking up on mothballs for snakes?

Do Mothballs Keep Snakes Away?

No, they do not. They are not only ineffective in repelling them but are also unlawful to use outside. Which puts paid to the idea of buying a few mothballs for snakes.

The EPA also regulates their use; hence, applying them for any purpose other than their original use is not only unlawful but risky. Especially if they come into contact with your children, pets, or other creatures, thereby causing injury. Hence, doing so is best avoided.

Why Do People Believe Mothballs Deter Snakes?

Many people have never actually had first-hand experience of using mothballs to ward off snakes. Hence, their belief in its ability in this regard may mostly be due to hearsay. The ability of these hard, white balls to do so is merely something of an old fable. However, mothballs do not deter snakes. This is due to the fact that these reptiles smell with their tongues and are therefore unlikely to be repelled by any strong-smelling substances.

The use of moth balls for snakes became a rather popular affair due to the belief that their ability to repel moths would also make them effective in repelling the reptiles as well.

The Risks Of Mothballs

Mothballs emit poisonous fumes that can infiltrate into residential spaces, harming everyone inside.


Having discussed the false truth about mothballs repelling snakes, it is high time you knew the implications of using these balls unduly.

One of the greatest risks of using moth balls for snakes is the likelihood of their being swallowed by little children or animals. These hard white ovals or spheres may also release toxic fumes in your home which may be harmful to both human and furry residents, alike.

On the market, there are two kinds of mothballs. They appear to be the same, but some are manufactured using naphthalene and others with paradichlorobenzene. When exposed to air, both compounds decompose and emit a distinct mothball odor. The more hazardous of the two compounds is naphthalene. Mothball emissions can induce dizziness, headaches, and irritation to the eyes and lungs. When consumed, naphthalene can induce hemolytic anemia, a condition in which the process of oxygen transfer to all body regions is hindered due to a breakdown of red blood cells. The resulting symptoms may include shortness of breath, exhaustion, and painful urination.

Snakes and Humans: What Works?

Most snakes are harmless and serve an important function in your house by keeping pests and rodents at bay.

©Jay Ondreicka/

Having answered the question “do mothballs keep snakes away?”, it’s time to examine remedies which are especially effective in this regard. While many people dislike snakes and wish to kill them on sight, others love them and even wish to keep them. However, for the most part, snakes are not allowed to live with humans because they are regarded as wild animals capable of doing more harm than good. Nevertheless, keeping them where they belong and away from homes might be challenging, especially if you live in areas prone to these reptiles. Our modest property is surrounded by children, dogs, and other creatures. Putting anything down (mothballs or chemicals) that may cause damage to the family or animals isn’t an option.

Most snakes are harmless and serve an important function in your house by keeping pests and rodents at bay. Still, some individuals are afraid of snakes and prefer to keep them away from their land. 

Here are some helpful natural remedies:

1. Snake Plant (Mother-in-Law’s Tongue)

A yard full of snake plants could be helpful because a snake’s senses are repulsed by the sharp leaves thereof. It is a succulent plant with pointy leaves. Unlike garlic and lemongrass, it has no odor and is easy to cultivate. 

2. Lemongrass (West Indian)

Lemongrass is an excellent plant to grow because it repels snakes, ticks, and mosquitoes. It is also beautiful. The lemongrass plant works well as a natural snake deterrent when grown in a yard.

3. Garlic Spray/Onions

Onions and garlic are considered one of the most potent snake repellents due to a chemical (sulfonic acid) that causes humans to weep when we slice onions. A mixture of these can help you repel snakes.

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About the Author

I hold seven years of professional experience in the content world, focusing on nature, and wildlife. Asides from writing, I enjoy surfing the internet and listening to music.

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