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Home > General > How to Get Rid of Snake Odor (4 Tips & Tricks!)

How to Get Rid of Snake Odor (4 Tips & Tricks!)

snake tank_Maria Babikova_Shutterstock

Having a house that smells like your pet can be frustrating at best. So, it’s up to the pet parents to make sure their house smells palatable to everyone who lives there. Usually, people are concerned with getting rid of the more traditional cat or dog smell. But what about reptiles, like snakes? Do they leave an odor in your home? While snakes are not traditionally stinky animals, no animal is without natural odors.

Here are six tips and tricks you can use to banish the snake smell from your home for good! This article also covers what things make a snake “smell” so you will better understand why there is a smell in the first place.

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Where Does Snake Smell Come From?

Northern Water Snake_ Jay Ondreicka_Shutterstock
Image By: Jay Ondreicka, Shutterstock

Most animals have a natural odor, but it can be hard to tell where the actual smell is coming from. While the most obvious answer is to use your nose, there are also specific snake-related things you’ll want to keep an eye out for in your snake’s enclosure. These objects create a more unusual and potent smell than the average items in a snake enclosure. So, clearing them out will help reduce the smell in your house.


Snakes generally eat live food and excrete carcasses. Depending on where your snake eliminates, you might not even realize their enclosure is home to a corpse before it starts to stink.

If your snake’s enclosure is starting to stink to the high heavens, look out for an errant carcass stinking up the place. Removing all the carcasses from your snake’s enclosure should clear up a lot of the smell almost instantly.


It also goes without saying that what goes in must come out. Droppings tend to smell like… well…as they should. Still, not cleaning out your snake’s enclosure of their droppings will make your whole house start to smell like a toilet. Clean out the snake’s enclosure and see if that clears up the stink emanating from the enclosure.


Both genders of snakes are equipped with cloacal glands that emit foul-smelling substances when the snake feels threatened. This musk odor is meant to ward off the snake’s predators and can even be released when the snake is hibernating to discourage an opportunistic predator from invading the snake’s nest.

As a result, snake nests and snake enclosures might smell exceptionally bad if the snake isn’t comfortable in its new home yet. Additionally, if you have other animals, like cats or dogs, that might spook your snake, you may find this musk odor around your snake’s enclosure.

Corn snake in hand
Image By: glicafernandaalmeida, Pixabay


Snakes tend to spend a lot of time in their nests, and as a result, they can start to smell like your snake. Additionally, your snake may be secreting musk into its nest, even during hibernation, which can increase the smelliness of their nests.

Clearing away snake nests and letting your snake rebuild their home can help drastically reduce smells associated with snakes.

Cleaning Tips to Reduce Snake Odors

As you might have guessed, the key to reducing snake odors is to clean your home, mainly your snake’s enclosure, more aggressively. Ensure that you’re only using safe and natural cleaning solutions around snakes for the safety of your scaled companion.


The 4 Steps to Get Rid of Snake Odor

1. Start By Assessing the Source of the Smell

Golddust diffused Corn snake
Image By: Scink, Shutterstock

Where is the smell coming from? Has your snake hidden some carcasses in their enclosure by accident? Does the substrate need to be changed? Is there an excess of droppings in your snake’s enclosure? Any of these conditions could cause your snake’s enclosure to begin smelling a bit funky.

Once you’ve figured out where all the smells are coming from, you’re ready to tackle the cleaning job. If you can’t identify a specific smell, then clean the whole enclosure from top to bottom.

Emptying the whole enclosure in its entirety will reveal anything that your snake has stashed away (on purpose or by accident) and give you a better idea of what’s making the smells fill your house.

2. Sweep Up Droppings

Snake droppings are one of the smellier parts of owning a snake. Cleaning up your snake’s droppings is an excellent place to start with getting your house smelling like fresh daisies again. Use a dustpan to sweep up the area your snake lives in to get the droppings out of the area.

Fresh snake poop tends to look like small, dark brown chunks. Of course, the size will be relative to the snake, but they shouldn’t be massive. However, as the poop ages, it will turn a chalky white. So don’t ignore white pellets either!

Dispose of your snake’s droppings in an outdoor garbage bin to ensure that the smell is excised from your home permanently.

3. Scrub Your Snake’s Enclosure

Snake Tank Empty_ Deb Davis_Shutterstock
Image By: Deb Davis, Shutterstock

The best thing you can use is just plain hot water, but if your snake enclosure has started to smell strange, it’s probably best to use a cleaning solution and some elbow grease. Use an animal-safe dish detergent like Dawn to create a mild mixture that you can use to scrub down the inside of your snake’s tank.

A gentle brush can help you scrub away anything that’s gotten caked onto the inside of your snake’s enclosure. Once you’ve finished scrubbing the inside of your snake’s enclosure, you’ll want to let it dry completely before filling it back up.

4. Use a Natural Air Freshener

If the smell persists, consider employing a natural air freshener that will help mask the smell of your snake while it dissipates after cleaning. Boil some cinnamon sticks and orange peels in a cup of water.

Once the mixture boils, transfer it to a cup and place it near the source of the smell—your snake’s enclosure, in this case—and leave it there to mask the scent in the area. If you’re keeping up with your cleaning, the smell should dissipate on its own after some time.

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An animal’s smell can be frustrating to deal with when you can’t figure out where it’s coming from. Luckily, captive snakes live in enclosures, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to figure out where your snake’s smell is coming from.

Once you’ve identified the smell, neutralizing it through cleaning is a pretty quick fix! So, get cleaning!

Featured Image Credit: Maria Babikova, Shutterstock

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