Snake Repellers – Do They Protect Dogs

Snake repeller - does it protect dogs
Snake repeller – does it protect dogs?

– 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. 😉


18 Responses to “Snake Repellers – Do They Protect Dogs”

  1. Rebecca

    Last year we saw 15 snakes around the house alone, this year since installing the snake repeller see have only seen 1 and it was in the move slithering away from the house. Thats good enough for me

    • pups4sale

      Rebecca, that’s the sort of comment we have heard, together with others that say they’ve seen more snakes and others that see no difference in the amount of sightings. The thing is the repellers can’t hurt, and if people see less snakes, well that has only got to be a good thing!

  2. Judy

    I have lived west of Toowoomba in a small county town, open grassland and trees only 2 houses away. Until last April, I had not seen any live snakes, only years old snake skins. Last year there were a lot of “bloody” snakes, all sorts about. I spoke to a lady who raises chooks, duck etc and she told me she had had a lot of trouble with snakes until she installed snake repellers. She hasn’t had any for years, until last year. When she checked the snake repellers, she found that the one which was suppossed to be protecting that area, had to have the solar battery replaced as it was past it’s use by date. She has replaced the battery and no more snakes have come to visit. I have installed them, and while I have not seen any here, my neighbour, who does not have the repellers, has had 4 unwelcome visitors. I am definitely going to keep mine, but also keep a look out.

    • pups4sale

      Judy, those “bloody snakes” are of course the most common ones around 😉 Keeping an eye out is of course important, as is having a long handled shovel handy (not politically correct of course, but better than being six foot under as the result of a snake bite!). The snake repellers can’t hurt, but we think they are just part of the solution in terms of keeping snake numbers under control around the house.

  3. Charlene

    When I lived in Redland Bay we put in a couple of those because a brown snake had been on my porch. After installing those we never saw another snake but he may have been the only one. I think I would install them again just on the chance they do work.

  4. Angela

    My work has used snake repellers at one of our rural depots for the last few years, after staff were reporting lots of brown snake sightings (one even came into the office), all comments have been really positive regarding the reduction in the number of snakes seen, and one of the bosses even tells us that she and another member of staff were watching a whip snake travel along the perimeter fence, and every time it tried to come down onto the ground it recoiled back up onto the fence like something had alarmed it. There was one snake found inside the repeller boundary soon after they were installed, but thoughts are it was already in the area when the repellers were put it, as no snakes have been seen within the boundaries since. The brand that our company purchased are Sentinel brand and Australian made, they got them from a rural produce supply, but I have bought some for home from ebay, same brand, and much cheaper. Here is the seller who I purchased mine from –

    • pups4sale

      That’s very interesting, Angela. It would have made great video if someone had “whipped” out their phone and taken a video of the whip snake in action! As these are a relatively new product it will probably take several summers before we can make a definitive judgement on their effectiveness across the board.

  5. Dianne

    I had 4 snake repellers, had a snake sleeping within 5m of one, and saw several others. Then it rained and the repellers got water in, I emptied it, redug the hole in my horrid ground and re-planted it – after a couple of repeats they died….so totally useless. I also have 30 dogs who make a hell of a lot of vibration when they’re running around. I recently had a 2m brown snake slithering around the yard in amongst the dogs, for a couple of weeks before it got caught in baling mesh… can imagine I was so scared for the dogs who were quite interested in it. So my thought is, they’re useless, but baling mesh is great….if I could train the kookaburras to sit on the fence and keep sentinel I sure would….

    • pups4sale

      Dianne, this is the flip side of the many reports we hear that they do work. I’ve got a hunch that the brand and thus quality has a lot to do with it. It could even be those that are fancy enough to change frequency every couple of days work better still. The better quality ones certainly seem to keep the rain out, so given yours got wet inside, I wonder if they were on the cheaper end of the scale? Good to hear that the baling mesh did the job, although the favoured alternative we have heard about from most people is the long handled shovel…but that’s another story 😉

      • Angela

        repelling them is much better than killing them. Most people are bitten when trying to kill snakes, plus they are a protected species.

        • pups4sale

          An interesting thought, Angela. However out in the countryside most people seem to have a different philosophy. Especially where children and pets are concerned, a dead snake presents no harm, whereas a live snake is a clear, present and ongoing danger. I think the majority of rural people at least give no heed to the protected status of snakes as a result; preferring to ensure their loved ones are protected instead.

    • Jenny Stark

      What brand did you buy. I wonder if some brands are better than others. I have been interested in getting one. But I’m not rushing out yet.

  6. [BLOCKED BY STBV] Snakes Vs Dogs - A New Twist In The Tail | The Daily Dog - the blog

    […] Invest in some snake repellers, as featured in an earlier blog post on the Daily Dog. They may or may not work (the jury is out on that one), but they surely can’t hurt […]

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