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Rattlesnake Fence Industry Standards (Alt Names: Snake Fence, Snake Proofing)

Rattlesnake fencing, or “snake proofing”, of fences and gates is an increasingly popular method of providing safety for homeowners seeking to keep venomous snakes out of their yards. While each community may have different standards to meet aesthetic and quality expectations, specific requirements are necessary to ensure the core function is maintained: keep rattlesnakes out.

This guide is a set of standards developed by herpetologists and rattlesnake mitigation professionals, checked against with live rattlesnakes, and field-tested over thousands of real-world installations. These represent the core-minimum of standards necessary to perform rattlesnake-prevention functions, on top of which aesthetic guidelines can be modified to meet community guidelines.

Snake Fence must, at minimum:

  • Keep rattlesnakes of all sizes out of a given area, primarily back yards and courtyards
  • Protect the integrity of existing fencing, walls, and other structures
  • Be easy to remove, repair, and maintain
  • Aesthetically blend with community guidelines and/or be as invisible as possible

Within these basic requirements, there are various ways that the appearance (or lack thereof) of Snake Fencing can be specified within community guidelines to allow maximum customization and cost-savings to residents without breaking its function. Some common points of community-level customization include:

  • Mesh color when available (black or silver)
  • Additional mesh above the minimum functional need to match the height of the fence
  • Paint color of gate barrier installations
  • Material or style of courtyard gate additions (painted steel, decorative materials, etc)

Functional Core Requirements: Mesh and Fencing

  • Metal mesh (steel, galvanized hardware cloth or expanded materials) with spacing of gaps no greater than ¼”
    • BenefitPrevents entry by small rattlesnake species and a greater number of non-venomous (harmless) snake species
    • AvoidBaby rattlesnakes can crawl through gaps as small as ⅓“, and easily penetrate ½” or more gaps in mesh
    • AvoidChicken wire, plastic screens, and other materials break down quickly and do not provide lasting protection
    • AvoidChicken wire is not available at a gap-size small enough to effectively prevent entry by rattlesnakes
  • Mesh height installed at a minimum of 30" above the nearest surface, with a recommended height of 36" above grade [detailed explanation here]
    • BenefitProvides protection for the largest rattlesnakes in Arizona, up to 5’ in length (approximately ½ of the length of the snake plus a 6" buffer)
    • Benefit36" and 48" mesh is the standard size available from metal manufacturers, ensuring clean installation without additional modification of materials
    • AvoidChicken wire, plastic screens, and other materials break down quickly and do not provide lasting protection
    • AvoidAdult rattlesnakes can easily climb over 24" or lower mesh
  • Where applicable, mesh must be buried into the ground a minimum of 4"-6", depending on ground type
    • BenefitPrevents gaps created by erosion or rodent activity
    • BenefitRemoves variation in gap size due to uneven ground surface
  • Mesh must be attached to the outside of view fence
    • BenefitRattlesnakes are unable to climb smooth, static surfaces
    • AvoidMesh installed inside allows grip opportunities and nullifies its function
  • Mesh should be attached using screws
    • BenefitScrews are easily removed for removal and reinstallation of mesh, allowing easy view fence painting or repairs
    • BenefitSelf-tapping screws with rust-proof neoprene washers recommended to protect view fence
    • AvoidPlastic zip ties degrade in the sun quickly and create gaps and sagging mesh
    • AvoidMetal twist-ties accelerate rust of view fence

Functional Core Requirements: Gates and Alternative Points of Entry

  • Gates must be sealed leaving gaps no larger than 1/4"
    • BenefitPrevents entry of baby rattlesnakes
  • Barrier base must be static material, such as concrete or secured pavers.
    • BenefitMetal and hard materials provide long-lasting protection that is easy to maintain
    • AvoidSweeps against a variable surface cannot be consistently closed to the ¼” requirement and will not prevent entry by baby rattlesnakes
    • AvoidFlexible sweeps are variable systems that quickly wear and lose function
  • Steel or other metals for any installed barriers only
    • AvoidRubber, fiberglass, or plastics fail quickly due to heat and gate movement
  • All barrier materials must be installed to a minimum of 30” tall, with a recommendation of 36”
  • Any gaps between the home, walls, gate structures, and block must be sealed with no opening greater than ¼” using concrete, filler, metal mesh, or a combination of those rigid materials

Other Important Considerations

  • Any installation of snake fencing must be a complete system. Installing view fence mesh without also protecting gates, etc, is effectively a snake trap
  • Landscaping must be maintained in such a way that branches and debris doesn’t allow a way for rattlesnakes to climb up and over fencing or walls
  • Vendors should be licensed with the State of Arizona (CR-14) and carry Workers’ Compensation Insurance and Liability Insurance
  • Vendors should carry the Wildlife Services License from the Arizona Game and Fish Department for legal follow-through

For questions, examples, suggestions or further explanation, please contact us at research@rattlesnakesolutions.com


How high does snake fence need to be?

What gap-size mesh should snake fence use?