My family and I have recently started camping.
We want to teach the little ones to love and appreciate nature. But one weekend, we had a scary incident with a rattlesnake that slithered into one of the sleeping bags.
We usually sleep on the ground.
But when we found Mr. Snake in the sleeping bag, I overthought the whole scenario and could just imagine how freaking scary it would be waking up with the snake in your sleeping bag.
So I called up some experienced campers I know to find out just how to keep snakes away from our campground, especially when we sleep on the ground.
How Can You Keep Snakes Away When Sleeping on the Ground?
To keep snakes away when sleeping on the ground research the area beforehand. Next, camp away from heavily vegetated areas and those adjacent to water sources. Check for holes in your tent and properly store your food. Keeping a campfire burning late into the night, making noise, and hanging rope lights are also good snake repellents.
7 Tips for Keeping Snakes Away If You Sleep on the Ground
Here are the best tips for keeping snakes away from your campsite and when you choose to sleep on the ground.
Tip 1: Do Your Research
There are some US states that have higher snake populations than others. Texas, Florida, and Arizona are merely 3 examples of states with more snakes.
So before you venture out to camp, hike, or undertake any other adventurous activity where you’ll need to sleep in nature, check maps for wild animals that live in the area.
You can also visit the website of the national or state park where you are traveling to and see if there’s information about snakes.
Knowing beforehand how likely you are to run into a snake helps you prepare for your trip, and you can better plan where to set up your tent so you’re less likely to have issues of the snake kind.
Tip 2: Camp Away From a Snake’s Living Zone
Snakes generally live under thick vegetation and rocks. These creatures also like to hang around water sources when they hunt.
So it’s best to camp away from areas where you are (more) likely to find snakes.
Refrain from staying in areas having lots of rock or rock piles and dense bushes.
While you want to camp near a source of water like a river, don’t put up your camping ground right next to it.
Choose an area that’s open with short grass to set up your tents and camping gear.
To ensure the area is open with no dense vegetation, bring a machete with you to clear away any bushes and branches.
But check with your local park ranger and local ordinances if this is allowed. If not, camp in designated areas.
Tip 3: Check for Holes in Your Tent
If there’s an opening in your tent, a snake can make its way inside.
So you’d want to check for holes in your tent.
We usually lay our tents flat on the ground before putting them up, making it easy to see if there are holes. If we find a hole, we use duct tape to seal the opening (unless we have a tent repair kit with us).
I’ve also learned to check the zippers on my tent since snakes can also use these openings to get inside. I make double sure all the zips close properly.
Tip 4: Properly Store Your Camping Food
A snake won’t be attracted to your food, but a rodent will be. And a snake may follow the rodent to feast on it.
So to keep rodents (and snakes) away from your campsite, whether or not you are sleeping on the ground, you want to ensure you are properly storing your food.
I prefer to keep all our food in airtight containers so the yummy smell doesn’t attract rodents. I also keep our food away from the sleeping area.
Trash can also attract rodents, so we put our trash in disposable bags, seal them, and then dispose of them in the designated trash area.
Tip 5: Make a Campfire
Snakes are most active when the sun has set, so we make a campfire around sunset and keep it blazing till late at night when we are ready to turn in.
This helps ensure our camping area stays free from snakes.
You can also take some smoldering logs (carefully, of course) and scatter these around your tent. The heat and smoke will protect you from slithering creatures.
Tip 6: Make Some Noise
Making noise when you are in your camping area also helps keep the snake at bay.
Snakes are generally just as afraid of people as humans are of them. So if they hear a noise at your camping site, they’ll stay away.
If you have portable speakers, you can also play music. Place the speakers on the ground and turn up the volume and bass. The vibration will deter the snakes from coming closer.
Tip 7: Hang Rope Lights
Many campers swear by hanging rope lights around their sleeping area when they are out camping.
Snakes aren’t fans of well-lit areas. So the LED lights will keep your camping site lit, which should deter rodents and snakes.
What About Snake Repellents You Can Buy or DIY at Home
There’s no scientific evidence that these kinds of snake repellents work. For example, commercial snake repellents aren’t allowed to be sold in the state of California.
This state has a law that says a company needs to prove any claims a product makes.
Moreover, many of those snake repellents are toxic to humans and pets, and they aren’t healthy for the environment.
It’s best to follow the tips above to shoo snakes away from your campsite.
Frequently Asked Questions about How to Keep Snakes Away When Sleeping on the Ground
Will a snake crawl into your sleeping bag?
A snake will crawl into your sleeping bag, especially on a hot day when it wants to cool down. Rattlesnakes, for example, will make themselves comfortable in your sleeping bag when you aren’t in it.
Are snakes attracted to campfires?
Snakes aren’t attracted to campfires, which is why fire is a good snake-repellent. Snakes don’t like the smoke from a campfire because it makes them agitated.
The Final Snake
After the scary snake incident, I make sure to follow all the seven tips I’ve shared with you today. They work for my experienced camper friends and many others.
After learning how harmful commercial snake repellents are for the environment (and I definitely want to keep my doggo and kids safe), I make sure to stay away from them too.