5 things you can do right now in under an hour to see fewer rattlesnakes in your yard.

Cooler temperatures and the approach of Fall means rattlesnakes are highly active. For the weekend, here are some quick things that you can do to greatly reduce your chances of seeing a rattlesnake in your yard. All of these take less than 1 hour to do, so it’s easy to incorporate them into your Saturday plans.

If you have more than an hour (it may take half an hour to even read this one!) here’s the more thorough, ultimate guide to keeping snakes away.

1. Make life hard for the local rodents

Take an hour and walk your property. You probably already know where the rodent holes are, and have been wondering who has made them. Fewer rodents mean fewer rattlesnakes. Wherever there are rodent holes, destroy them by doing this:

  1. Use a garden hose, placed near the entrance (not inside), and use a low flow of water (maybe 1/4th total flow, if that). You want water to flow into the hole without collapsing the entrance, so that water flows all the way down and fills from the bottom up.
  2. When water has filled to the top, let it soak for a moment, then do it again,until it is clear that the entire hole complex has been flooded. Then, use a tool (or just your boot) and collapse the entrance.
  3. From now on, every time you see a rodent hole, don’t wait – just collapse it with your shoe right then. Make this part of your usual maintenance activity in the yard.
  4. Adjust drip system and automatic sprinkler timers to use just what is needed and eliminate waste.
At this home, a dripping A/C condensation pipe is attracting rodents and birds, and the rattlesnake laying in ambush knows it.

2. Clean up any debris that you can

The pavers along the side of the house that have been laying in stacks for months? The tarp that you’ve been meaning to get rid of forever? How about the old flower pots left over from last Spring? Well, now’s the time to get rid of it. Clean up what you can, either throw it in the trash (or otherwise get rid of it), or make arrangements for it to be picked up.

If whatever it is is too big to throw away immediately, you can minimize how useful it is by simply moving it a short distance. If there is an old tarp, for instance, if it’s been there for months, the rodent holes and dirt under it may be a lot less attractive to visiting animals if it’s just moved to a new location.

  1. Do a once-over of the entire property to pick up anything that’s creating shaded spots for animals to hide.
  2. If it’s not possible to throw something away quickly, just moving it a short distance to new ground can help.
Any cover that can be used, will be used.

3. Get rid of the leaf-litter

This one takes more or less time to do yourself, depending on your yard. However, it possibly has the greatest immediate impact. If you have any plants, like lantana or rosemary, with a lot of fallen leaf litter underneath it, get a rake and get rid of it! This material is where rodents often nest, snakes often hide, and is a great place to hide during the day throughout the year. Until you are able to talk to the landscapers to get the landscaping as it should be to keep snakes away (watch for a future article about this one 😉 the best and fastest thing you can do is clean up the ground immediately underneath.

Deep cover and leafy plants = rattlesnakes. This Mojave Rattlesnake agrees.

4. Fix the leaky hose!

Snakes, like all animals, need water. A leaky hose is not only a valuable resource for snakes, but their prey of rodents and birds also visit. The result is a mini-magnet for snakes – which is fortunately usually pretty easy and quick to fix. If you have a leaky hose, get a new one. Do whatever you need to so that your yard isn’t an easy oasis for wildlife.

  1. Replace old and leaking hoses, and repair dripping spigots.
  2. Place a coffee can or pan under A/C condensation runoff pipes so water quickly evaporates and doesn’t create a patch of wet ground.
  3. Repair leaky drip systems.
  4. Consider throwing the birdbath out. Birds are great to see, but you’re also inviting the animals that eat birds.
Free water = rattlesnakes!

5. Pull the pots in the front entryway away from the wall

Rattlesnakes often rest along the wall in corners of front-entryways. About every day, we are called out to capture at least one snake found in this situation. Even a little bit of cover helps them feel secure, and that cover most often comes in the form of a decorative pot or statue. If you have one of these in the corners by your front door (or back patio), pull them out away from the wall several inches and this can help lessen this effect. For narrow areas, just pull it down the wall so the corner can be clearly seen.

Keeping corners open can help make them less appealing to rattlesnakes.

There’s much more … but this is a big, quick start.

The topic of keeping snakes out of your yard obviously goes much deeper than this, but you’d be surprised how much of a dent you can make with just these three steps. Later, we’ll be publishing a full list of things you can do to make your yard less attractive to snakes, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. If you have any snake-related concerns, any or all of these are an easy Saturday project that can make the rest of the weekend a lot more enjoyable.

Why February is the best time to have a snake fence installed.

There are a lot of factors that can affect the decision to protect a property with a snake fence. Perhaps the least-considered of the bunch is the time of year when it’s done. Here’s a little secret that we’ve uncovered after leading the charge rattlesnake protection this last decade: February is the sweet spot for getting a snake fence installed.

Here’s why:

Rattlesnakes aren’t very active in February.

Prime rattlesnake activity starts in early March (or so). That means that if last year’s backyard rattlesnake encounters were the last straw, your window of having pre-snake season rattlesnake fencing installed is getting narrow.

While it is true that rattlesnakes are somewhat surface-active every month of the year, they aren’t yet traveling far from their winter dens in February. After winter ends, they’re hungry, looking for mates, and have a relatively short time to get a lot of life requirements taken care of before the brutal Arizona fore-summer puts them down for estivation. March and April are the busiest time of year for our snake removal hotline, which means you can opt out of all of that rattlesnake-in-the-yard nonsense before things get busy.

sleepy rattlesnakes aren't moving yet

Rattlesnake Solutions isn’t very active in February, either. Wait times to get on the installation schedule are at their lowest in February.

Out of sight, out of mind, or so the story of rattlesnakes in the minds of Phoenix residents seems to be. When the rattlesnakes largely disappear from view in the desert, the focus of Rattlesnake Solutions is in a lot of behind the scenes work – managing and refining our snake prevention services, improving how we do it, evaluating data and snake activity trends throughout the year, and most of all education.

As things warm up at the end of January, however, some important things happen. The first rattlesnakes of the year start showing up, and, now that the holidays are over, everyone’s “things to do next year” list comes off the fridge and into the forefront. Based on years of data and market trends: most people, even homeowners who are 100% on getting a snake fence, wait until they have another encounter before pulling the trigger.

Right now, the odds of finding open spaces on a rattlesnake fence installation calendar the highest all year. Cool daytime temperatures, too, mean that it can be installed faster than in those 110F days.

Supply and demand: slower times mean the best prices on snake proofing.

Everyone knows that to get the best prices on plane tickets, you book 6 weeks before, on a Wednesday … or is it 5 weeks? Something like that … getting the best price on products and services is often all about timing. In the case of rattlesnake fencing, January and February are often the best, fastest, and cheapest time to do it.

The reason? Availability of the primary material used in effective snake fencing: steel. (off topic, but if you’re looking at a snake fence estimate using plastic, throw it in the trash and keep shopping). As things heat up and rattlesnakes start showing up in backyards across Arizona, our demands on local steel suppliers goes up, and costs do accordingly. If any increases in price have ever happened, they’ve been in the summer during peak snake activity. In January and February, prices are at their lowest, and there are often some really great specials and discounts available (just ask).

By taking care of rattlesnake protection before rattlesnakes become a problem, you’re not only prepared for the upcoming rattlesnake season, but it can get done faster than any other time of year.

For more information about snake fencing in Arizona, or just any questions you have about rattlesnakes and protecting your home, we’re here to help.