16 Distinct Scents That Naturally Lure Snakes Into Your Yard

It’s pretty common to find some snakes slithering around in your yard, but if you’ve noticed a significant increase in snake sightings around your house, then there might be certain scents in your yard or home that are attracting them. Snakes, after all, are drawn to specific odors and smells that can make your outdoor space more enticing. From the smell of rats and insects to water sources and wet soil, here are the top 16 scents that will undoubtedly draw snakes to your yard!

Insects and Critters

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Understanding a snake’s diet is critical to understanding their behavior. Their primary food sources include spiders, moths, grasshoppers, and other insects. This is why they are often found in tall grasses, as they provide both protection and a ready supply of food. Snakes are also opportunistic feeders, constantly on the move until they detect a fresh scent, indicating potential prey nearby.

Rodents and Mice

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If you have a rodent or mouse infestation, you’re probably in a bigger pickle than just that because you’ve attracted lots of snakes in your yard! Rodents are snakes’ natural prey, so they would probably know its scent from afar. Clegg’s Pest Control shares, “The best way to keep snakes away from your property is to ensure that you do not have a rodent problem in your house. Leaving uncovered garbage out overnight may attract rats and mice to your home, which will, in turn, attract snakes.”

Water Sources

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Water, in and of itself, would not attract a snake to your backyard. However, with water comes the possibility of there being some of a snake’s favorite food: insects, frogs, and more. Snakes have long known that places with water sources could also be a source of their food. Because of this, they could be attracted to the scent of ponds, leaking faucets, pet water bowls, and more because they know they’ll find what they’re looking for there.


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The wild is all about survival of the fittest, which goes for snakes, too. Though insects, critters, mice, and rodents are their go-to’s, many snakes also eat frogs and, therefore, are capable of hunting them through their scent. The Australian Museum explains, “Some of the biggest amphibian consumers are snakes.” For some snake species, frogs are their primary choice of food; some examples include Asian pitvipers, Asian keelback, and more.

Overripe Fruits

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Snakes are notorious for being carnivores. So, it may be odd to say that overripe fruits attract a carnivore and not an omnivore or herbivore. Well, overripe fruits are a lighthouse from many insects flying around your home. And, because snakes love insects, they know their prey will come running when an overripe fruit is there.


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Like overripe fruits, vegetables are also one of the main things attracting insects into your yard. According to the University of Minnesota Extension, “Insects, spiders, and other bugs that particularly help, harm, or feed on fruits and vegetables in the home garden.” Consequently, the insects feeding on your vegetables will also be locked in as a snake’s prey.

Bird Eggs and Chicks

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According to an article from the Avian Report, “Studies that used surveillance cameras on bird nests determined that rat snakes are the single most important predator of bird nests.” Snakes use their eyes and sense of smell to locate their prey. Aside from hunting them down using their scent, snakes are also pretty smart and can track a bird’s movement. They would track a bird’s activity during the day and then attack at night—once they notice little movement in the nest.

Bird Nests and Droppings

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Aside from the smell of the eggs and chicks themselves, snakes could also pick up on the scent of the nest and bird droppings. They know that if they smell bird poop or the like, there will highly likely be eggs, chicks, or other prey.

Pet Food

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While allowing your pet dog or cat some time out in the backyard is great, you should never leave their pet food lying around. The smell of pet food is enticing to not just your dog or cat—rodents and other small animals like them, too! Snakes don’t like dog or cat food, but their prey do. Because of this, snakes will realize that if pet food is lying around, there would most likely be some rats or mice around.


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The cottonmouth or water moccasin is a snake species particularly attracted to the smell of fish. As their name implies, these snakes are semi-aquatic and can be found in or around water sources. Because of this, one of their primary food sources is fish, and therefore, the scent of such animals could attract them.

Synthetic Fragrances or Perfumes

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Not all synthetic fragrances attract snakes. But if your perfume or cologne mimics natural scents, it might ignite a snake’s curiosity. For example, floral scents could make them think they’re near a flower garden with insects. Similarly, fruity perfume could make snakes believe they are within the vicinity of overripe fruits!

Wildlife Residue or Lingering Animal Scents

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Your backyard is most likely exposed to other creatures that lurk within the vicinity, such as raccoons or rabbits. They might not be your pets, but they can still enter your lawn at night and leave their fur, pee, and poop without you noticing. However, even if you don’t notice them, snakes definitely will! These kinds of scents will communicate to the snake that potential food sources are nearby.


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Sandalwood is one of the most popular trees for fragrance, and India is one of the best places to get the highest quality. It has a rich, earthy, still floral, soft smell that goes well with other scents. However, the tree’s scent does not attract snakes to it per se; instead, it attracts pollinators and other insects. Then, by association, snakes that feed on this kind of prey get attracted, too.

Wet Soil

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Wet soil brings about worms, insects, and other things that snakes prey on. Therefore, the smell of damp soil after the rain makes snakes realize that it will be easier for them to hunt and find food. Aside from this, snakes usually need moisture to keep themselves cool and hydrated, especially during warm summer days. This makes them seek out wet areas around them, and there’s a high chance they’ll settle into your yard!

Compost and Garbage

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Garbage and compost pits are breeding grounds for food that snakes love the most: small animals and insects. As these prey are attracted to the smell of compost, it follows that snakes slither toward them, too. Aside from this, because snakes are cold-blooded animals, they sometimes seek shelter and warmth that the decomposing organic matter in the compost offers.

Blooming Shrubs

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Another fixture in your yard or garden that might attract snakes is blooming or blossoming shrubs. These attract prey, like birds, rodents, and insects. Therefore, snakes know that if they crawl toward it and hide in it, they’ll most likely come across their favorite food! Shrubs could also be an excellent shelter for snakes; hence, the combination of food and shelter makes shrubs irresistible to these reptiles.

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Author: Karen Danao


Karen is a writer and also a marketing and advertising professional. Beyond the keyboard and the screen, she is someone who’s out to enjoy every bit that life has to offer!

Poetry, philosophy, history, and movies are all topics she loves writing about! However, her true passion is in traveling, photography, and finding common ground to which everyone from different cultures can relate.