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Ask Buck

Do Ropes Ward Off Snakes?

Is it true that placing a rope around your sleeping bag will discourage snakes from crossing it?

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Question:

Is it true that placing a rope around your sleeping bag will discourage snakes from crossing it?

Submitted by – John, Brighton, MI

Answer:

A few experiments have suggested that some snakes will not cross some ropes, but the science is fairly definitive: Almost all snakes will cross almost all ropes and have been observed doing so many, many times. (Example: This 1985 study found that a sisal rope didn’t even slow its slithery test subjects down.) In fact, snake repellents in general don’t really work: No product on the market claiming to drive off serpents, from ultrasonic sound emitters to chemical solutions, has stood up to scrutiny. Still, the risks of a snake entering your bag are small to begin with. —Buck