Snake Removal and Rattlesnake Fencing Updates: Phoenix and Tucson

A quick and easy capture of a Western Diamondback Rattlesnake at a property in Rio Verde yesterday. The snake was having a nice time in some well-watered raised garden boxes, and got a free ride to a packrat nest just elsewhere. If you’ll notice, too, the snake is more curious than anything by the whole situation, not even bothering to uncoil from its resting position.

We’re often asked “why doesn’t it bite the tongs!” – because when the tool is used as it should be, with just enough force to control and lift the animal, avoiding injury or undue stress, it’s often not treated as a big deal. Compare this with photos you may have seen of the fire department or similar, where the snake is gripped tightly behind the head, and it’s in a thrashing panic.

A trailer in Ahwatukee made for an easy shaded spot for this Western Diamondback Rattlesnake. Justin moved it to a better area.

After cutting a Western Diamondback Rattlesnake out of some netting at a property near Tucson, Dave searched for others. He found a small Sonoran Gophersnake, barely visible here hiding beneath some dense vegetation. The homeowner opted to leave it there, which is the best outcome.

A small adult Western Diamondback Rattlesnake cruising through a backyard … which features a viewfence that is looking awfully devoid of certain rattlesnake prevention features *cough cough*

Dave relocated this one to a better situation. Marana, AZ.

The first Mojave Rattlesnake for CJ! He was called out to a home in north Phoenix and found this tiny rattlesnake hiding out in the bucket. Relocated to a deep hole under a creosote in a flat desert scrub.

This Western Diamondback Rattlesnake found its way into an open garage, and had tucked itself behind the fridge when Bryce got there to help it along. Relocated to carefully selected conditions.

Some bucket shots from recent captures.

A rattlesnake call turned into a Sonoran Gophersnake run to this home in Tucson. This harmless snake was moved a short distance and the homeowner learned all about it.

A homeowner called from Picture Rocks reporting a rattlesnake. When Nik arrived, he found a mating pair under the house, just like this. They were carefully captured in that tight space and relocated together to a packrat nest to hopefully resume making more little rattlesnakes.

A call came in for what the homeowner thought to be two rattlesnakes, but it ended up being this gophersnake doing weird gophersnake things.

A Western Diamondback Rattlesnakehiding out in front of a storage facility but moved to a nearby bush when Marissa was on the way.  This is a new building surrounded entirely by desert, which will also become pavement in the near future.

A homeowner noticed she wasn’t alone when she went to water the tomatoes. The Western Diamondback Rattlesnake was tangled in netting, but fortunately seriously injured. Marissa was able to cut it out, then discovered a Sonoran Gophersnake watching the event from a nearby cactus.

New rattlesnake fencing installed at a dog park will make everyone breathe a little easier this summer.

A homeowner living alongside a desert preserve watched a pair of Western Diamondback Rattlesnakes make their way to this rock to mate. Marissa was called out and the snakes were moved to a better spot within the preserve to continue making more little rattlesnakes. 

A Western Diamondback Rattlesnake made its way into this house through a door left open. It was discovered by the homeowners when it rattled at them in the livingroom. After it was captured, Marissa found another rattlesnake, stuck in a sticky trap in the garage. She was able to carefully rescue it, and both of the snakes were relocated to a better spot in the desert. Lessons learned all around about glue traps and leaving doors open in Arizona.

Dave found a small adult Western Diamondback Rattlesnake taking shelter beneath a large Buckhorn Cholla. I found it a nice well shaded pack rat nest near a wash in the surrounding desert.

The weekend after a rattlesnake in a yard prompted an estimate for rattlesnake fencing, Jill found this Sonoran Gophersnake while taking measurements. While Sonoran Gophersnakes are not targeted by rattlesnake fencing, it’s all a good indicator that this property is useful to snakes, and at least the buzzy ones will be prevented from visiting in the future.

This Western Diamondback Rattlesnake traveled from the house that called for service originally to the neighbors’ yard. Justin was thankfully able to find it after searching near the trash cans.

A homeowner was working on his Jeep when he noticed a visitor watching sharing the garage. A garage with an open door is just a shaded cave, and this snake thought it was a good spot to hide away for the day. Bryce went out and helped the snake find a better shady spot.

I think our sales team will kill me if I keep posting photos of recent rattlesnake fence projects with how in-demand the service is right now, but I can’t help it. This one out of Tucson is just perfect. That pool looks even better knowing the fence behind it will keep rattlesnakes out in the adjacent native habitat. Great work Nate and Michael.

From Bryce: “This goes on record as the chilliest coachwhip I’ve ever caught. Sat in one spot the whole forty minute drive I had over, and let me pick it up and release it with ease.”

This Western Diamondback Rattlesnake was found inside a building. A worker met with Dave the next day and the snake was nowhere to be found. He did, however, see a trench running from some equipment to the outside of the building, which he followed out and found the snake under cover there. The snake was safely captured and the workers could get back to it knowing the building was free of rattlesnakes 🙂  

An unfortunate situation near Tucson. This Sonoran Gophersnake was spotted near a loading dock with injuries, likely from a car. Despite being injured, we have seen these snakes survive some crazy situations, and Dave decided that it may have a chance if released. He found it a good spot to hide away and, hopefully, recover.

Two rattlesnakes captured on the same street on consecutive days in Tucson. Both were likely using the same major microhabitat features in the adjacent desert area. Understanding this is key to proper relocation activities, and informing homeowners of what can be done to prevent future encounters.

Western Diamondback Rattlesnake spotted in a well-kept garden in Catalina Foothills. Homeowner had been regularly trimming their bushes, but it was the first time they had seen a rattlesnake.

An adult Gila Monster that was found in the bathroom of an east Tucson home. It likely wandered in through one of the doors of the house, which were left open for the heat. It was given some water and released just down the wash from the house into carefully selected microhabitat.

This Western Diamondback Rattlesnake was caught up in bird netting when it was found in a backyard. Bryce was able to very carefully get the snake out of it, and release the snake without major injury to a packrat nest within its estimated homerange. 

Rattlesnake Fence must, beyond everything else, be functional. There is no next-best, no second place, or half measures – it’s a fully secured perimeter or it isn’t. This is why we are so strict with the situations and figures required to get the job done. There is much more going on than simply sticking metal to things 🙂 Here’s one recently completed by our Tucson team.

Bryce was called to a Phoenix backyard to deal with a pair of rattlesnakes. When he arrived, one of the snakes had already disappeared, but he managed to capture the other one that was still in the yard. While searching the property, he came across a dead ground squirrel, which was placed in a bucket to dispose of in the field. However, when he opened the bucket to release the snake, he found it eating the ground squirrel, which turned out to be a nice treat for the snake before its relocation.

From Bryce: “This was absolutely crazy…. A homeowner opened her garage for me to search in Scottsdale for a rattlesnake that couldn’t have really gone anywhere, and I was starting to scratch my head as to where this snake could’ve gone, given the relative emptiness and lack of hiding spots in the area. As I was speaking with the homeowner near the entrance to the garage, this snake fell from the top of the raised garage door about 10 feet down and landed within 3 feet of all of us, scaring the living daylights out of everyone. Evidently, it had been crawling along the rim of the garage door and must’ve taken a joyride up to the ceiling when the homeowner had opened it for me!”

A Longnosed Snake was found under an outdoor grill shade during the hottest part of the day. These snakes are nocturnal much of the year, but in the spring most encounters are during the daylight hours. It was relocated to deep tunnels under a creosote.

A big Western Diamondback Rattlesnake found cruising around a Scottsdale neighborhood.

From our internal Slack channel from Jill:

“Long story alert!!

I cannot say this with 100% certainty, but I may have bucketed a snake I’ve been looking for for 8yrs. I was called out in early March of 2016 to try and find a rattlesnake from the middle of Mesa. Most habitat gone in the area, I thought the school administrator was freaking out over a gopher. She sent me a blurry photo and it WAS an atrox. An animal that’d been seen by maintenance folk wintering there for 7 freaking years. I went back over and over…never found him. Fast forward to today- Marissa is called out by the new school admin to try and locate a large male cruising past the front door. He’d bolted in the commotion and she was unable to find him by the time she arrived. They requested a fencing estimate for the kids safety, so Brandon worked it so I could get out there today. I searched and searched during the estimate…no luck. Figured I’d give it another go tonight once kids/staff had left and sun was going down. The little (big) punk was finallllllly found. Real talk, it was a huge bummer to evict this guy. He’d managed to survive extreme habitat loss, insane traffic AND to coexist safely alongside tons of tiny humans for a very long time. His whole damn life. His/my choices came down to relocation or chance a meeting with the landscapers arriving tomorrow morning to collect the bounty. Decided it was time for him to go. Highest hopes that he’ll thrive in his new digs and never be bothered with the ridiculousness of human behavior again. He’s earned it. Solid team effort today between relocation and fencing! Big THANKS to @Marissa and @Brandon

!! Love love LOVE you both!! :)) “

A Western Diamondback Rattlesnake captured by Tim, his first relocation call for 2024. Many more to come 🙂

This Coachwhip had been seen the day before, and the homeowner decided to let it stay where it was after discussing their harmless nature with Dave. However, after it was seen 3 more times over the next 24 hours, she decided it needed a ride to another spot. 

Despite being entirely black, the subspecies of this Coachwhip is called a “Red Racer”—despite being neither red nor a racer. Meanwhile, other red snakes, like the Western Groundsnake, are often called red racers as well, becoming a colloquial bucket for any snake that might show a reddish hue. It tends to create confusion, which is why, for this animal, we typically just call it a Coachwhip. 

A couple of Western Diamondback Rattlesnakes, photographed in the location they were found, at homes near Tucson in April. Both were safely relocated to carefully selected microhabitat that emulates the situation of capture.

A Kingsnake from the Tucson area, where their appearance can be variable. A discussion was had with the homeowner about keeping it around, especially since a rattlesnake was seen on the porch the previous fall, but she decided to have it moved.

More about why we sometimes relocate harmless snakes: 

A recent Rattlesnake Fence installation at a home in Tucson. At a height no rattlesnake can climb over and no space small enough even a new born can fit through, this summer will be less stressful than the last year for the homeowners and their dogs.

More information on Rattlesnake Fencing:

A little Western Diamondback Rattlesnake using the shade alongside this house, using the hose for additional cover and maybe a little ambient moisture. 

A Western Diamondback Rattlesnake that met the family dog the night before. It hid under patio furniture but disappeared by morning, when the homeowner called us. Dave went out and was able to find the snake hiding in a nearby lantana … as they often do. It was captured and relocated to carefully selected microhabitat. 

Improperly applied snake fencing and the inevitable results.

Which feature immediately gives this snake fence away as an issue?

A Western Diamondback Rattlesnake found hiding out under some patio furniture. Captured and relocated by Dave to better conditions for all involved.  

A Western Diamondback Rattlesnake was found outside a home, initially discovered in a playroom. It came through the house’s front door, which had been left open for a short time. The homeowners scared it outside, where Nik was able to find and capture it to be relocated elsewhere. 

The modifications to this viewfence, made to keep rattlesnakes out of the yard, are just barely visible here. For the homeowner standing on the patio, it looks somewhere between invisible and a barely-seen gray haze. What they won’t see, however, are rattlesnakes in the backyard.

These two Western Diamondback Rattlesnakes were found under a board pile after one was spotted near the house. We were called out to capture the one, which ended up being two. Both were relocated safely elsewhere.