Snake Myths Q & A

Snake repellents

Electronic snake repellents DO NOT WORK! They say: The snake repellers send out a slight noise and a pulsing vibration, which the snake picks up through sensors throughout its body. The snake perceives danger which causes them to evacuate the area. If this is true, then we wouldn’t see this….

Snake Repellents. A photo sent in to us by a local resident in The Adelaide Hills. Many people buy these snake repellers – they also get snakes! We remove many eastern brown snakes each season from The Adelaide Airport (yes, even out past the runways), so if a snake doesn’t mind the vibrations from a 747 then it’s not going to be too bothered by a little pulse in your backyard!

Ropes repel snakes

If you lay a rope around your camp site it said that a snake won’t cross it, this is also untrue, and there is no logical reason for this too work.

Baby venomous snakes are less dangerous than the adults

All species of venomous snake carry venom whether they are juvenile or adult. The only difference is the volume of venom they can hold and the size of their fangs. Baby brown snakes can be particularly defensive as they are more vulnerable to predators. Never assume smaller venomous snakes are less dangerous, they should be treated with caution at any age.

If there are baby snakes around their parents will be nearby

Most egg laying snakes such as the eastern brown will lay their eggs in a burrow or a hole but sometimes use compost heaps or wood piles inadvertently supplied by humans. The female will deposit the eggs and then leave the area to find food. The hatchlings will be completely independent and quickly travel long distances to set up their own territories and avoid being eaten. Most small snake sightings are babies who are on the move for new homes.

It should be noted that not all venomous snakes are egg layers (oviparous). In cooler climates snakes may bear live young (viviparous), but these will be independent from birth like hatchlings.

If I have a Blue Tongue in my yard it means I won’t get a snake

Wrong…..Larger snakes such as eastern browns enjoy eating Blue Tongue lizards – so it’s unlikely that lizards will indicate a lack of snakes. Blue Tongues are harmless and good to have in your garden as they eat snails and caterpillars and help keep the population down of these invertebrate garden pests.

Snakes and milk

Despite popular myths, milk (or lemonade) will neither attract nor deter snakes. They do not drink milk and won’t be lured into a trap, such as a bottle filled with milk. Snakes cannot digest milk and prefer to drink water.

A backyard snake trap – a bottle containing milk!

Snakes are aggressive

Snakes are defensive, not aggressive creatures. They have numerous predators such as lizards, birds and mammals, and fear anything bigger than themselves such as humans. They will always flee if possible and only act aggressively if they cannot escape and feel threatened. They are usually shy, quiet animals who enjoy keeping down populations of rodents such as mice and rats.

Snakes are slimy

Probably the oldest myth of all! They are in no way slimy – unless they’ve been in a slimy wetland. Snakes have dry scales which can be either smooth or rough depending on the species and how camouflaged they are. Most snakes are quite delicate and soft; some snakes such as pythons can be calming to hold.