How to rattlesnake proof a backyard

How To Snake Proof A Yard

How to rattlesnake proof a backyard

A snake fence is the only guaranteed way of keeping the slithery pest out of your garden.

You may try traps, deterrents or even wildlife control but they will only have limited success.

The snake fence is secure, will last for many years and works 24/7 throughout the year.

Our clients have great success with snake fences, and we advise that you follow a few rules to get it right.

To build a snake fence on your property, you will need to:

  • Dig deep for success
  • Use vinyl to stop them climbing
  • Eliminate all gaps
  • Remove any external aids
  • Be vigilant with your maintenance

Let’s take a closer look at each tip for a snake-proof yard:

Dig deep for success

Snakes are very adept at getting under any fence.

They will find the slightest gap to slide under the fence and into the garden.

We recommend burying the base of the fence in a barrier of concrete.

Dig a trench about six inches deep and of the same width. Fill it with concrete and cover the base of the fence. The base should go about an inch or two into the concrete.

If using a wooden fence treat the wood with sealants and use pressure-treated wood too.

The best fencing option to prevent material damage is vinyl.

Use vinyl to stop them climbing

Speaking of vinyl, we find it to be excellent as a snake fence material.

Your snake fence will need to enclose your property to be successful and be tall enough to stop the snake climbing.

The surface of a vinyl privacy fence will keep the snake from climbing up and over and onto the property.

A skilled fence installer may slope the fence outwards to ensure the snake falls off when climbing.

A wooden fence offers the snake too many opportunities to get a grip when climbing.

Vinyl privacy fencing is the only option.

Eliminate all gaps

Your sneaky snake will simply slide through the slightest gap.

This is why we recommend the vinyl privacy fence and the burying of the base in a layer of concrete.

What you should do is eliminate any gaps. Ensure the fence panels fit tightly to the posts. Clients often ignore gate posts, and the snakes slip in the smallest of holes.

A good tip is to have one person go around the fence at night with a flashlight. At the same time, you walk around inside the fence. If you spotlight shining through, mark the spot and fill the gap.

If you can see a gap, then the snake will too.

Remove any external aids

You may have the best snake fence possible, but the snakes are still getting into the property.

A tree growing close to the fence may be giving them away over the structure. Get permission and trim the overhanging branches.

A storm drain is an obvious way for a snake to slip in, so keep them covered.

A high, well-sealed, vinyl privacy fence will keep the snakes out, but keep an eye on the external aids too.

Be vigilant with your maintenance

A good maintenance policy is vital to the success of any DIY fence install.

You should always treat the fence and keep it free of termites and fungi.

With a snake fence, you will need to keep an eye for new gaps in the fence. You should also fix any damage immediately to prevent holes appearing. The concrete under the fence may crack in cold weather, so keep an eye on that too.

Maintaining a vinyl fence is easy, but you need to be vigilant with snake fences.

Call us

At Fence Supply Online we know a thing or two about fencing.

Vinyl privacy fences are an excellent way of keeping the yard snake free.

How to rattlesnake proof a backyard

Leave it alone. Most bites occur when individuals or dogs provoke the rattlesnake or if you try to capture or kill it. Rattlesnakes only bite or attack in self-defense, so the best way to avoid being bitten is to leave the rattlesnake alone.

Many people spend a lifetime hunting, fishing or otherwise enjoying the outdoors and never see a rattlesnake. Very few people are actually bitten by rattlesnakes, yet because the bite is extremely painful and can be fatal, you should always keep alert and watch where you step or put your hands when you are in the field. Be careful after dark as well, for on warm nights rattlesnakes are out and about searching for food.

Most rattlesnakes, when disturbed, normally try to withdraw, but if they think they are cornered, the explosive sizzling buzz of their rattle is an unmistakable warning to retreat and is a sound that will long be remembered.

Tips To Avoid Rattlesnakes

  • Be sure to walk or hike in areas where you can see the path and where you step or reach with your hands.
  • Use a walking stick or other device to rustle the shrubs along the side of route to alert snakes of your presence.
  • Wear high boots or hiking boots, long pants and gloves (when using your hands to move rocks or brush).
  • Don’t put your hands or feet in areas where you cannot see such as on a ledge, in a crevice and use caution when you pick up rocks or debris where a rattlesnake may be hiding.

Tips to Protect Your Dog or Small Pet from Rattlesnake Bites

One of the most common fears of pet owners is that their dog or cat will be bitten by a rattlesnake.

Rattlesnake avoidance classes designed to train your dog to fear and avoid rattlesnakes is one way to approach the situation. There is also a pet rattlesnake vaccine, but there is some controversy over how effective it really is. Talk to your Vet about the pros and cons of vaccinating your dog or cat with the rattlesnake vaccine.

Here are some additional tips on how to protect your pets from rattlesnakes.

  • Always keep your dog or pet on a leash when outside of your home or away from your yard.
  • Don’t let your dog wander into tall grass or thick shrubs where rattlesnakes may be hiding.
  • Be careful along streams and riverbeds as snakes are often found in the tall grass near water sources.
  • If you encounter a rattlesnake stay a minimum of 10′ or more away from the snake and walk around the area or take another route.
  • Always have a nearby 24/7 Vet Hospital phone number and address with you when you venture out to hike with your dog and keep emergency numbers in an easy to find location at home.
  • Enroll your dog in a Rattlesnake Avoidance Class from a local dog trainer who has experience training dogs to avoid rattlesnakes.
  • Ask your vet if he or she feels a rattlesnake vaccine is appropriate for your dog.

Tips to Keep Rattlesnakes Out of Your Yard

A rattlesnake proof fence is one of the best ways to keep snakes out of your yard. It may be expensive, but worth the investment once you realize how expensive a visit to the emergency vet clinic will be.

A snake-proof fence should be a minimum of 3′ tall with the bottom portion of the fence buried at least 3" or more. Gates should have no gaps on the sides and be flush with the ground. Concrete slabs placed under the gate are even better. For your fencing material, use mesh that is not more than 1/4" in diameter or a solid material that is smooth. Snakes cannot climb smooth surfaces.

Here are some additional tips on how to snake proof your yard.

  • Keep the grass in your front and back yards cut short.
  • Clean up any debris in your yard including piles of wood, leaves, or any other materials that a snake could hide under.
  • Control rodents in your yard and around your home: pick up fruit on the ground, keep trash cans closed with lids and don’t leave pet food out.
  • Remove birdfeeders as they attract small rodents which rattlesnakes prey on.
  • Add a rattlesnake proof fence around your yard
  • Keep any vegetation from growing up or over the fence as snakes can use it as a way over the fence.
  • Check under your house and around the perimeter to close any gaps or holes where a rattlesnake could hide.
  • Fill in or block any holes or gaps were a snake can hide or slip through the fence or under your house.


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How to rattlesnake proof a backyard

With a drier and hotter start to summer this year, more snakes are following their prey into areas that are irrigated and provide good cover and food. Unfortunately, this describes many people’s yards, and for a lot of people, the sight of a snake strikes fear. To further the problem, many companies take advantage of people’s fear of snakes by selling products or services that are ineffective, and in some cases, may increase the danger to people and pets.

Most people’s fear of snakes stems from the worry that they are venomous. Most won’t want to be close enough to tell, but venomous snakes have a pupil that resembles a cat’s. It has an oblong shape with peaked ends that look like a slit in the center of the eye. Non-venomous snakes usually have round pupils. The snakes most people are likely to see in their yards will be non-venomous, such as the garter or gopher snake.

If you encounter a snake in or around your home, keep calm and follow these tips.

Mow grass often and keep it fairly short. Snakes are less likely to reside and move through short grass because it increases their exposure to predators such as owls and hawks. Shorter grass also makes snakes easier to spot.

Avoid over watering your lawn. Too much landscape water may attract prey species such as worms, slugs and frogs, which in turn may attract snakes seeking a meal.

Keep trees and shrubs trimmed and away from your home and garage, and keep branches off the ground. Creating a 24-to-36-inch space under trees and shrubs will help keep snakes away and will make it easier to spot them if they do slither in.

If you feed birds, keep the feeder away from the house or consider not feeding them. Birds are messy eaters and often leave seed scattered below the feeder. Seed on the ground attracts rodents, which may also attract snakes seeking a meal. Store bird seed in a metal can with a tight-fitting lid.

Feed pets inside. Feeding them outside can attract insects and rodents which, again, attract snakes. If feeding outside is necessary, be sure to clean up uneaten food promptly. Store pet food in a metal can with a tight-fitting lid.

Store firewood, excess lumber and other types of debris away from your home. These provide prefect places for snakes to hide.

Think before you landscape. Avoid using mulch and large rocks in your landscape, as they attract snakes and their prey and can create breeding and overwintering habitat. Instead, use smaller, tight-fitting rock such as gravel or river rock. Also avoid landscaping with water gardens and Koi ponds.

Seal cracks and crevices on sidewalks and foundations, and consider getting an energy audit. These can be a great way to identify places that allow air conditioning and heat to escape the home. These same cracks and crevices may be used as an entry point by snakes and other small creatures.

When all else fails, consider fencing. Use 1/4 inch or smaller rigid mesh or solid sheeting and bury it a few inches into the ground. Include a bend at the top to prevent snakes from climbing up and over.

Do not use snake repellents or sulfur, as they are ineffective. Do not use mothballs because the active ingredient is naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene – chemicals that are toxic to insects and mammals, but are not effective against snakes. Using mothballs outside your home also violates product labels and puts your family and pets at risk. Do not use sticky traps outside. Traps placed outside capture all sorts of non-target animals and result in a slow, agonizing death.

If you have issues with snakes in your chicken coop, avoid using ceramic eggs or golf balls. Snakes that eat these artificial eggs die a slow and painful death over many weeks, and new snakes will show up to take their place. Instead, focus on improving your coop to prevent snakes from entering and follow the deterrents recommended above. If using ceramic or other artificial eggs to encourage a brooding hen to lay, glue them down to prevent snakes from eating them.

Do not bring out the guns, shovels or other weapons. Discharging a firearm toward the ground can result in bullet ricochet. If needing to get a snake to move on, use a water hose to spray the snake, which will encourage it to find a new place to take up residence.

Answer by: Terry Messmer, Utah State University Extension wildlife specialist, 435-797-3975

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