Saturday, April 16, 2011

A Snake Bite & the Use of Snake Repellents

A story carried on, in San Antonio reports a 12-year old boy is in stable condition after being bitten late in the baseball field's dugout by a rattlesnake.The bite occurred in Helotes, Texas a town northwest of San Antonio. The league canceled Thursday and Friday’s games after pest control experts sprayed the ball fields with snake repellent, because of concern that the repellent would "agitate" the snakes. 

The story raises the question - are snake repellents effective? Goggle "snake repellents" and you will find a surprising number of available products claiming to prevent snakes from entering your yard, livestock areas, or campground.

A look at the ingredients in snake repellents reveal a wide range of molecules and compounds that are volitile and have strong odors and includes the following: garlic oil, putrescent egg solids, menthol, menthene, camphor, camphene, carvacrol, thymol, carvone or 1,8-cineol; sulfur, cinnamon oil, clove oil, naphthalene, ammonium carbonate, dieldrin, heptachlor, texaphene, petroleum jelly, benzoyl chloride, civit musk, anise oil, cedarwood oil, clary sage oil, giner oil, grapefruit oil, juniper berry oil, lavender oil, rosemary oil, wintergreen oil yucca oil. The list could be much longer. In fact there seems to be little or no evidence that any of the snake repellents are effective. In fact they may be better at repelling humans, than snakes. See the references below. So, if you are looking to repel snakes, you might as well try the old horse hair rope around the tent trick. At least when it fails you still have the rope.

Some Snake Repellent Research Articles
Ferraro, D. M. 1995. The efficacy of naphthalene and sulfur repellents to cause avoidance behavior in the Plaind Garter Snkae. Great Plains Wildlife Damage Control Worksphop Proceedings. 1995:116-120.

Moran, S., Vaisman, S., Tayar, E. 2008. The efficacy of a naphthalene and sulfur formula to repel the venomous snake Vipera palaestinae in Israel. Applied Herpetology 5:225-232.

San Julian, G. J. 1985. What you wanted to know about all you ever heard concerning snake repellents. Second Eastern Wildlife Damage Control Conference 1985:243-248.

1 comment:

  1. Here in the Amazon the tribes use black tobacco as a repellent. Before they go into the forest hunting, they smoke the Mapachos and the whole body smells after this stong tobacco. Snakes hate tobacco.