Living in regions with rattlesnakes can pose serious threats to your kids and pets. This is why many people opt to build a rattlesnakes-proof fence around their property. This post will guide you on how to do this.
Rattlesnake Fence Design
A rattlesnake fence sometimes referred to as rattlesnake containment, or rattlesnake exclusion is a way of keeping rattlesnakes out of your yard or property.
Types of Materials to Use
Rattlesnake fences can be made out of a number of different materials. The most common type of rattlesnake fence is made from wood or metal. Steel fences are both aesthetically pleasing and very effective at keeping rattlesnakes away. Stone and brick fences will work as well, just make sure to have their face be both tall and smooth enough to prevent a snake from climbing over.
It is important to make sure that if you are using a wood rattlesnake fence that it is finished with a non-slip coating and that there are no holes or cuts in it. Rattlesnakes can climb up the fence if they can get a firm hold on the surface of it.
Using Wire Mesh
Adding wire mesh to the base and mid section of the fence will very much prevent rattlesnakes from getting through. Make sure the spaces in the mesh are small enough to stop the smallest critters.
If you live in rattlesnake country, it is recommended to install a fence with mesh. Or, you could use vinyl as an alternative.
Building on Flat ground or Hilly Terrain
Both flat ground and hilly terrain harbor rattlesnakes. If you build your fence on hilly terrain, make sure to have the angular rises and falls above ground level covered with dirt, concrete, or fence material to prevent snakes or rodents from entering your property.
Nearby Trees, Grass, And Shrubs
Rattlesnakes like to hide in tall grasses and under shrubs. They also like to hunt small rodents that live in these areas. So, to keep rattlesnakes out of your yard regardless if you have a fence or not, consider removing any shady trees, grasses, or shrubs. Or, you can install plants that actually do a good job repelling rattlesnakes.
For for information, see our post What Plants Keep Rattlesnakes Away?
Fence gates are always needed so you can go in and out of your property. They only need to be high enough to stop a rattlesnake from flopping over it. If possible, make sure to keep the area under the gate flush with the ground to stop any snakes or rodents from crawling under.
The fence does not need to be very high, just high enough to stop a rattlesnake from climbing over it. It is more important to have the middle and lower sections covered in mesh and the base deep enough to stop burrowing.
Closing Fence Gaps
As mentioned, gaps in the fence, even up towards the middle of the fence can allow rattlesnakes and critters to climb through. Most likely, a rattlesnake will slither underneath the fence if there are any gaps at ground level.
Durability Of The Fence
A good property fence should be durable and long lasting. Fences are expensive and time consuming to set up, so you want to make sure they are not shoddy. A solid wood or metal fence should hold up to the elements and strong forces applied to it horizontally. A major problem aesthetically is rust or chipped paint, rotten posts, or areas that are burrowed out underneath.
Burying The Bottom of the Fence
A metal or wood fence with mesh on the ground level could still allow snakes and critters through. To fully prevent rattlesnakes from entering your property, the entire face of the fence needs to be covered in mesh. Burying the mesh into the ground will also prevent them from getting underneath.
When you bury the bottom of the fence, make sure to dig deep, at least 6 inches. Fill this ditch with concrete and cover up the base of the fence. Try and get the base and mesh 2 inches into the concrete.
Can a Rattlesnake Climb a Fence?
Rattlesnakes are not adept climbers, most of the time. If they need to find food or a mate, they will attempt to climb a tree or over large rocks. Some rattlesnakes are arboreal types and actually live in trees. For example, the black-tailed rattlesnake, which lives in the western United States like trees and sleeps in them when they are not hunting on the ground. An arboreal rattlesnake such as these can climb 1-3 yards (2-3 meters) above the ground. Trees allow them to escape predators and also feed on small birds. So, if they can get a hold on a fence that is waist or chest high on a human, they can climb it. Other types of rattlesnakes may not climb trees but can climb small bushes.
Can a Rattlesnake Climb a Wall?
Rattlesnakes are not good at gripping onto smooth surfaces, so climbing a rock or brick wall will present some challenges to them. They would much prefer to go underneath or around the wall. However, if there is a small tree or large bush nearby they can climb, they may use this to get over the wall. Make sure your wall does not have rough surfaces or outcroppings they can grab onto with their body.
The rattlesnake will also only be able to climb a wall that is as high as its body is long. So, a 2-foot long rattlesnake will only likely attempt to climb a wall 2 feet high. If the wall is lower, it can lift its body up and over the wall. If you have a wall at least 3 feet high, a rattlesnake will most likely not be able to climb it. Even the Eastern Diamondback rattlesnake, which grows up to 6 feet long, will choose to stay on the ground rather than climb up a wall.
Effectiveness of a Rattlesnake Fence
If keep your rattlesnake fence maintained and fill in any holes underneath it or on the face, the fence should be 100% effective. It should also last for years and hold up through most weather conditions.
Cost of a Rattlesnake Proof Fence
You can hire a fence builder to add rattlesnake proof options for a little extra money. If you live in the southwest of the U.S., fence builders may be prepared to offer this.
Building a fence that can protect against rattlesnakes has cost depending on several factors including materials, and size (height and length). Adding extra wire mesh or vinyl will cost less than building the fence itself. Metal fences are often more expensive that wood fences.
You can purchase special snake fence barriers online. This is a roll of small mesh poly netting that comes in sizes ranging from 14” and 28” high, and 50+ inches long. It is see through and can stand on its own using small posts spaced in sections. A 50-inch roll will cost between $60 and $70 USD.
Nick Klamecki is a certified Fire and Workplace Safety expert with 15 years experience in product research and testing. He has a degree in Economics from U.C. Davis, is an active outdoorsman and spent years ensuring the safety of special needs children. Nick researches and tests workplace, industrial and safety products and provides advice on their safe use.