Does pine straw attract snakes? Let’s find out

There is a lot of debate surrounding the question of whether or not pine straw attracts snakes. Some people think it does, while some believe the opposite is true. But does the science support either side of the argument? Snakes can be a bit of an annoyance in our yards and no one wants to inadvertently invite them into their home by using pine straw as mulch. So, what does the research say? Let’s have a look below:

snake population

Table of Contents

Does pine straw attract snakes?

Snakes like to go where they can easily find prey and a good place to hide. If pine straw meets those conditions, snakes will be attracted to it. Usually, snakes are interested in pine straw that is thick, retains lots of moisture and is located in areas close to the ground.  Did you know that by applying pine straw six inches or thicker, you’re imitating one of the preferred environments that snakes would find in the wild?

venomous snakes settle in pine straw

Why pine straw attracts snakes

As we mentioned before, snakes are attracted to pine straws because they offer a good place to hide and an easy food source. The fallen needles create thick layers of mulch that are perfect for snakes to slither through undetected. And, because pine straws help to keep the soil moist, there is a greater chance that insects and other small animals will be present – which is exactly what snakes like to eat.

Pine straws also provide a microclimate for snakes. The needles help to regulate the temperature of the soil, making it more hospitable for reptiles. In fact, studies have shown that pine straws can actually increase the populations of certain types of snakes.

food sources


Below are some simple steps that you can take to try and reduce the chances of snakes being attracted to your yard and property:

Keep your pets fed by feeding them inside

Do you have a problem with rodents around your property? If so, it might be because you’re unintentionally feeding them! When pet food is left out after feeding your cats or dogs, this can become an easy meal for rodents. And why is this such a bad thing? Well, snakes love to eat rodents, so the more rodents you have running around, the higher the chance of attracting snakes.

Clean up debris

As we mentioned before, snakes love to hide. So, if there are lots of places for them to hide in your yard, you’re more likely to have a problem with snakes. To help deter them, make sure to clean up any piles of wood or leaves that might be lying around. You should also trim back any overgrown vegetation.

Cut the grass

Long grass is another great place for garter snakes to hide. So, if you want to deter them, make sure to keep your lawn short. You should also remove any logs, rocks or other objects that might provide hiding spots.

Avoid birdhouses

If you have birdhouses in your yard, it’s a good idea to remove them. Why? Well, nest boxes can provide an easy food source for snakes as they are often full of insects and small nesting birds. Overspilling birdseed is also a very attractive food source for rodents, which as we mentioned before, snakes just love to eat.

Use up firewood

If you have a wood pile, it’s important to use up the wood as soon as possible. Why? Well, snakes love to hide in wood piles and if there is old, rotting wood lying around, it’s likely that insects will be present – which is exactly what snakes like to eat.

Clean up fallen fruit

Fallen fruit from trees and plants may attract a range of pests, including rats. Snakes will then hunt these rodents as a source of food. Make sure to collect and dispose of any fallen fruit on a monthly basis.

Get rid of mulch

Mulch is a great way to keep your plants healthy, but it’s also a great place for snakes to hide. If you’re concerned about snakes, it might be best to avoid using pine straws or other types of mulch in your garden.

Avoid garden ponds

If you have a garden pond, it’s important to keep it clean and well maintained. Why? Well, ponds can provide a perfect habitat for frogs and other small animals – which are a delicious snack for snakes.

Trim trees and shrubs

Trees and shrubs can provide the perfect hiding spot for snakes. So, if you want to deter them, make sure to trim back any overgrown vegetation.

Install a perch pole

A perch pole is an excellent way to take advantage of natural resources for snake prevention. By attracting natural predators, such as hawks and owls, you can keep the area around your home free of snakes. Be sure to place the perch pole in an open area so the birds will have a good view of everything.

Install fencing

Fencing should be buried a few inches into the ground and made of 1/4″ or smaller rigid mesh. The fencing should also have a bend at the top to keep snakes from climbing over it. Some companies even install fences specifically from deterring wildlife.

introducing snake predators

Will The Snake Leave?

You have more of a chance of snakes leaving on their own accord if you apply some of the methods mentioned above. It is worth remembering that some snakes are protected, so you should always check with your local wildlife authority before taking any action.


So, the bottom line is that pine straw definitely attracts snakes, especially when it is 6 inches or thicker and full of moisture. Let’s summarise what we have learnt above:

  • Pine straw is ideal for snakes as it makes for a good hiding place
  • It is thick and moist which attracts insects and other prey
  • It is a perfect environment for snakes to thrive in
  • Pine straw stabilises the temperature of the soil
  • It is the fallen needles of pine straw which decompose slowly, inexpensive and reduce weed growth
  • You can prevent snakes by feeding your pets inside, cleaning up debris, cutting the grass more often and not using mulch as much
snakes eat

People Also Ask

What is the best mulch to keep snakes away?

A top layer of rough, sharp mulch in your garden beds will deter garden snakes. Use natural ingredients such as pine cones, jagged rocks, eggshells, or holly leaves to make a surface that a snake wouldn’t want to slither across.

Do Copperheads hide in pine straw?

Yes, copperheads often seek out areas with lots of cover and pine straw provides the perfect hiding spot for them. If you have copperheads in your area, it’s best to avoid using pine straw as mulch.

What ground cover do snakes hate?

Marigolds are fantastic at deterring snakes because of their pungent smell. Plant them around the perimeter of your garden, or anywhere else you want to keep snakes away from.

marigolds deter snakes

What chemical kills snakes instantly?

Calcium cyanide is an excellent chemical for eliminating snakes that take refuge in burrows, but there are certain gases that can be utilized to fumigate dens from time to time.

What smell do snakes hate?

There are a few smells that snakes hate, including the following:

  • Eucalyptus
  • Cinnamon
  • Peppermint
  • Clove
  • Garlic

What animals keep snakes away?

There are a few animals that snakes are afraid of, including the following:

  • Hawks
  • Owls
  • Cats
  • Dogs
  • Foxes
cat in yard
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Oliver Wright
Oliver Wright

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