– We’ve all seen them – the snake repellers that seem to be popping up like mushrooms after rain in yards all over Australia. But do they work? Do they protect your dogs?
This is a question we have been looking into at pups4sale as we (like many Australians) live in an area that has an abundant snake population. West of Brisbane in the South Burnett region, we live on the edge of a small country town, with a golf course on one side, a cattle property on another and retirees all around us. The golf course and cattle property present plenty of hidey-holes for snakes of course, as do the gardens our elderly neighbours spend a lot of their time in. So we expect a fair share of snakes to be slithering around. In fact we have seen (or heard the yells regarding!) browns, blacks, red-belly blacks and another common species called a “bloody-snake” (although we’re not quite sure what that one looks like 🙂 )
The premise upon which snake repellers are said to work is they send a vibration through the ground periodically, and it is this vibration that repels snakes. Some repeller models change the frequency of their vibrations every couple of days, apparently to stop snakes getting used to one particular frequency. Some have a stated greater range than others. All are solar powered, with battery backup – much like solar garden lights. Prices vary, but at the Daily Dog we have seen them priced generally between $20 and $50 each – a total that quickly ads up if you decide to festoon your yard with them!
This summer in particular we have seen various brands of snake repellers used around town, so there’s been plenty of testing going on of the variants of this device. The most popular brand we have encountered is the Sentinel Q, but there have also been Sureguard, Snake Shield, and more brands used. Additionally at pups4sale we have heard from a number of members, breeders and dog-lovers who have installed snake repellers specifically to protect their dogs from snakes. We’ve also heard from people who relocate snakes for a living, so we’ve had a wide cross section of input as to the usefuleness of the variety of electronic snake repellers available.
Unfortunately for those who have put their faith in snake repellers, there seems to be little evidence that they do provide protection for dogs by reducing the amount of snakes present around house yards. The most telling comment we heard was from a snake relocater, who stated that snakes are looking for water, food and/or shelter when coming into your property. If they are thirsty enough, hungry enough or enough in need of shelter, they will totally ignore vibrations in the ground as they focus on their goal. If they are just snooping around, perhaps snake repellers may annoy them enough to encourage them to relocate themselves elsewhere, but the advice we have received suggests you should not bet your dogs lives on them.
The feedback we have received from dog owners and breeders seems to be in this vein also. Some have seen more snakes since installing the repellers, some less and some have noticed no difference. The one trend that seems to stand out in fact is there is no trend. In conclusion fellow dog-lovers, if you want to employ electronic snake repellers to protect your dogs, by all means do so. However don’t let your guard down and assume you and your best friends are now protected. Stay vigilant and use the same common sense tactics that have always worked to reduce snake populations around homes. That is, reduce:
. The amount of food available – which is generally rats and mice. Always have mouse bait stations baited and in use in sheds particularly.
. Water availability – get rid of any pot plant bases you have as the water retained in these are at a perfect height for snakes to drink from. If you have outside dogs, make sure your dog water container has high enough sides to make it difficult for snakes to drink from (we use 40 litre farm buckets). Keep the water containers in an open area where you can see them and spot any snakes who may be sidling up for a drink.
. Shelter – clear around the bases of hedges and shrubs and raise any clutter in sheds (we put our storage containers up on bricks) so you can clearly see if you have any unwelcome visitors of the snake kind attempting to take up residence.
And of course, watch out for those “bloody snakes” (noted above) in particular…that species seem to be everywhere. 😉