Does Compost Attract Snakes? [And What To Do About That]

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Figuring out whether to start a compost pile or not can be tricky sometimes. There are a lot of things to consider when it comes to getting started with composting. Do you want to start composting but don’t know if it will attract snakes into your garden? We have done our research to find you the answer.

Compost does attract snakes. Most times, snakes will hide in warm, exposed compost piles and lay their eggs. When it comes to keeping your compost safe, we recommend storing it in a closed container or off the ground to keep both snakes and other pests away.

As we begin, we will cover all things composting and tag some helpful products. Whether you want to get into composting or already have a pile started, it’s important to keep unwanted visitors away. With that said, let’s dive right into this post!

Collage of garden compost bin and a garter snake, Does Compost Attract Snakes? [And What To Do About That]

Why Are Snakes Attracted To Compost Piles?

Snakes typically find their way into compost piles because of their warm temperatures and critter-attracting qualities. Generally, exposed compost filled with food scraps will attract rodents, which in turn attracts snakes.

Another reason snakes like compost is that it provides a safe, unbothered place for them to lay their eggs and sleep.

Compost bin with organic waste

What Will Attract Snakes?

Although there are plenty of reasons snakes will come to your garden, piles of leaves and debris are the most common. Snakes are also attracted to tall grass, so it’s best to keep your lawn trimmed.

In general, the fewer hideaway spots a snake can nest or sleep in around your garden, the better.

Where Should I Keep Compost In My Garden?

The best place to keep your gardens compost is tucked away, in a bin or enclosed space that gets some sun. Compost does best in dry, sunny conditions and should not be too close to your home.

When it comes to the ground under your compost, you should keep it over dry, bare soil. Too much moisture in your compost not only will bring snakes but also an unpleasant smell. 

What Can I Add To A Compost Bin?

For anyone just starting their compost bin, try adding vegetable peelings, fruit waste, teabags, and garden scraps to your pile. You can also mix crunched-up paper, cardboard egg boxes, and leaves into your compost to help keep it dry.

Although we think food scraps make for great composting, we do not recommend adding dairy or meat to your pile.

What Can I Put In My Garden To Keep Snakes Away?

A California Garter Snake enjoying the warmth of artificial turf

If you don’t want to deal with snakes, there are a few ways to keep them out of your garden. One of the easiest deterrents is ammonia, so we recommend spraying it around your yard or leaving ammonia-soaked towels outside overnight.

Another easy to keep snakes away is to lay down sharp, jagged mulch so they can’t enter your garden. A few good choices include pine cones, sharp rocks, eggshells, or even holly leaves.

Austin’s Clear Ammonia Multipurpose Cleaner

This ammonia cleaner is 64 ounces, full strength, and is made in the USA.

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Microfiber Cleaning Cloths

This 12 pack of cleaning cloths are polyester and nylon material, multicolored, and are reusable.

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Southwest Boulder & Stone Decorative Landscaping Rocks

These decorative landscaping rocks come in various colors, weigh 1250 pounds, and are 100% natural.

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What Time Of Day Are Snakes Most Active?

In general, snakes will be most active in the early morning before it starts to get hot. Snakes typically come out during off-peak hours and when the temperature is under 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

With that said, if you live somewhere with colder daily temperatures, it is not uncommon for snakes to remain active through the afternoon. Regardless, snakes are predators and will come out if they sense prey nearby.

Are Snakes Dangerous?

Whether snakes scare you or not, venomous ones can be very dangerous. Of the almost 3000 different snake species, 600 are venomous, and of that number, 200 have venom strong enough to significantly harm or even kill you.

Of course, most common garden snakes aren’t deadly, but they can give you quite the bite if you aren’t careful.

What Do You Do If A Snake Chases You?

Although this doesn’t happen regularly, if a snake chases you, make sure to get inside or at least a few feet off the ground. Typically, snakes avoid humans as we avoid them, so you should be fine as long as you don’t provoke one.

With that said, snakes can’t usually move faster than 10-15 miles per hour, so if all else fails, unleash your inner track star.

Does Compost Smell?

Kitchen and garden waste

Regardless of how clean and dry you keep your compost, it is decomposing food and waste at the end of the day. Usually, compost has an earthy, dirt smell, but if your pile has an unbalanced amount of food scraps or moisture, expect a strong odor.

A good way to balance your compost is to add plenty of paper goods or yard scraps into your bin to keep the smell as minimal as possible.

How Often Should You Turn Compost?

To keep your compost as odor-free as possible, make sure to turn your pile every four to five weeks. To do this, move the center of your compost to the sides and fill it with existing edge materials.

Think of this like FIFO (first in, first out), and make sure to mix your compost well each time you turn it.

What Other Animals Does Compost Attract?

When it comes to what other creatures might want to check out your compost pile, there are plenty. Most times, rodents, cats, dogs, raccoons, coyotes, and even javelinas will be attracted to your compost.

Regardless of where you live, keeping your compost in an enclosed space or container off the ground is the best way to prevent unwanted visitors.

Dual Rotating Batch Compost Bin 

This rotating composter holds 43 gallons, has two chambers, adjustable air vents, and comes in two color options.

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Large Garden Composter Bin

This compost bin holds 95 gallons, is made from BPA-free recycled plastics, and comes with a two-year warranty.

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What Is The Best Time Of Year To Start Composting?

If you’re just getting into composting, we recommend starting your bin in the late fall or early springtime. Although there is no wrong time to compost, if you live somewhere with harsh summers/winters, that can make it difficult.

When it comes to fall composting, we prefer it because this is usually when trees and plants drop their leaves before winter. If you choose to start-up in the spring, your compost won’t have as many available dry leaves as in the fall, but the weather will be better.

What Can I Do With Compost?

Putting the undecomposed food waste back into a composting bin

For anyone with plenty of extra compost, you’d be surprised at how much you can do with it. For starters, compost is great for gardening and can be used as a mulch for your existing plants.

Another way to use your extra compost is to sprinkle it over your plants before the spring alongside a fertilizer to encourage new growth for the season.

Which Is Better: Manure Or Compost?

Between manure and compost, we think that compost is better and safer for gardening. On its own, manure can contain parasites and harsh chemicals, which are not good for you or your plants.

With that said, if you have manure and want to use it, we suggest mixing it into your compost and using that around your garden. Of course, not all manure is harmful, but it is animal waste at the end of the day.

Our Final Thoughts

Keeping snakes away from it is essential whether you have a compost bin set up or want to start one. From what we found, snakes are attracted to compost and will make it their home if you aren’t careful. Most times, snakes like warm, moist compost that is easily accessible, so make sure to avoid those things.

When it comes to what to put into your compost, things like fruit, vegetable scraps, paper goods, tea bags, and plant leaves make for great composting. Regardless of where you live, make sure to keep your compost in an enclosed area, and don’t forget to turn it every four to five weeks.

Made it to the end? Check out these helpful related posts:

How To Start And Maintain A Compost Tumbler In 7 Easy Steps

Where To Buy A Composter [Top 40 Online Stores]

Compost Pile Vs. Bin – Which Is Right For You?

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