Phoenix 24-Hour Snake Removal Hotline

480-237-9975

Tucson 24-Hour Snake Removal Hotline

520-308-6211

Snake Fencing

480-565-7824

Frequently asked questions and answers

Phoenix 24/7 Hotline:

480-237-9975

Tucson 24/7 Hotline:

520-308-6211

Snake Removal Questions

  1. How fast will you arrive when called?
  2. What do you with the snakes you catch?
  3. Is it legal to kill rattlesnakes?
  4. Why do you charge to capture snakes?
  5. Will you sell me a rattlesnake?
  6. Will relocating a snake upset the natural balance of the ecosystem when you move the snakes from one area to another?

Rattlesnakes on your property

  1. Do mothballs keep snakes away?
  2. What repellents do you recommend?
  3. Is it true that rattlesnakes won't cross a horse hair rope?
  4. I want to remove a snake myself. Is a noose tool a good idea?
  5. How high should a snake fence be?
  6. What size of mesh is effective to keep rattlesnakes out?
  7. Does having a water feature attract snakes?
  8. Is there a way to scare rattlesnakes out of an area before clearing brush?
  9. How do I keep rattlesnakes off my driveway?
  10. Can I install snake fencing on the inside of a chain link fence?

General questions about snakes in Arizona

  1. What do you do if you see a rattlesnake on a trail?
  2. Someone sent a picture of a HUGE rattlesnake killed in my area. Is it real?
  3. If I am bitten by a rattlesnake, what should I do?
  4. Can a person move fast enough to dodge a rattlesnake strike?
  5. Can rattlesnakes climb trees?
  6. I've heard there are rattlesnakes on Camelback Mountain, is this true?
  7. Are baby rattlesnakes more dangerous than adults?
  8. Can rattlesnakes mate with other kinds of snakes and make dangerous hybrids?
  9. Can you tell the age of a rattlesnake by the number of rattle segments?
  10. Are rattlesnakes quickly evolving a more toxic venom?
  11. Can you tell a Western Diamondback Rattlesnake from a Mojave Rattlesnake by looking at the rings on the tail?
  12. Are rattlesnakes nocturnal?
  13. Do denim jeans protect against rattlesnake bites?
  14. Which year are you least likely to run into rattlesnakes?
  15. What can I do to protect my dog from rattlesnakes?
  16. Can a rattlesnake regrow its rattle?

How fast will you arrive when called?

We will be there as fast as legally possible. We have field agents throughout the valley, and the closest one is dispatched to your location after we gather a little bit of information. This typically takes between 15 and 30 minutes, at the mercy of traffic.


What do you with the snakes you catch?

As per Arizona Game and Fish guidelines, they are released as soon as possible. If you are worried about them coming back; out of over 1,000 rattlesnakes we've relocated over the years, we've not had one customer call to pick up a repeat. Snakes, like all animals, will do their best not to die. Being picked up with tongs, placed into a dark bucket, and going for their first car ride is a scary experience for them. Much as a person might avoid a street where they've been mugged, even if convenient, snakes will avoid places where they've had what seems like a near death experience. Even when working with snakes in the wild, an observer must be very careful not to disturb a snake where it lives - if it is disturbed enough it will abandon its home to find somewhere without so many nosy herpetologists.


Is it legal to kill rattlesnakes?

Unfortunately, it is legal in Arizona to kill a rattlesnake with a valid hunting license. Aside from the fact that we just like the things, killing a snake does very little to actually solve your problem. While of course the snake would no longer be there, a huge portion of bites occur when untrained victims are attempting to catch or kill it. They can be unpredictable, and it's best left to the experts. *ahem*.


Why do you charge to capture snakes?

We believe we are providing a valuable service by using our knowledge and experience to safely relocate rattlesnakes. We realize that, to some, this should be a free service, but respectfully ask that we be fairly compensated for doing a very dangerous job.


Will you sell me a rattlesnake?

Never. Not only is it illegal, but it is not in the best interest for the snake or anyone involved. Please do not inquire.


Will relocating a snake upset the natural balance of the ecosystem when you move the snakes from one area to another?

Good question. The best answer is that we don't really need to, to a large degree, because the method of relocation that has the greatest chance of success for the individual snake is also one that considers that system. When a snake like this is captured, the first thing we do is evaluate the surrounding area to assume its likely home range based on features and access, etc. Then the snake is moved to an area where it either likely already knows, or one that would allow the safest access back to known areas if it chooses to. Since each and every relocation is a new and isolated process, it's much more a matter of correcting an error (snake being on a patio, etc) than long-term impact. For that reason, even if we are wrong in our assessment, or we were completely ignoring it (we're not), moving one snake at a time would fall well inline with the natural population flux of any given area.

If things were different, however, impact to the local system could be very bad. The worst offenders that I see that do relocations are ones that gather snakes in a group and relocate them together without consideration of individual microhabitat considerations, condition, etc. Even something as simple as potential impact to gene flow in an area, or possibility of parasite/disease transmission, are rarely considered when the objective is "put the snake in a bucket" instead of "put the snake in a place where it will survive".

So the short answer: this consideration is built into our methods, but we do have concern for the trend of sloppy relocation services popping up all over.


Do mothballs keep snakes away?

Not at all. One of our field agents actually came to remove a rattlesnake sleeping in a pile of mothballs. While the smell may bother them or disrupt some of their natural behavior, if there are resources around, they will not stop them.


What repellents do you recommend?

We don't recommend any! They don't work and just make your yard smell like a urinal. There are better, natural ways to keep snakes away.


Is it true that rattlesnakes won't cross a horse hair rope?

Nope.


I want to remove a snake myself. Is a noose tool a good idea?

First, thank you so much for being one of the rare people that would rather move a snake to a safe location rather than kill it. Knowing that you obviously care for the wildlife in your area and have a sensible take on how to deal with it, you'll probably want to ditch the noose and pole combo. We get a lot of comments in and about home-made (and a few store-bought) tools that are, basically, a tube with a loop at the end that can snare a snake and move them. Sounds great right? Well, not so great for the snake. They are very fragile animals, tools like this can very easily damage ribs, vertebrae, or cause other unseen issues. The snakes may seem to just slide off after the release, but in some cases, this can be a death sentence, other than just being quite painful. It can also make the situation much more dangerous for yourself, in that rattlesnakes that are improperly supported or in pain will act in an overly defensive manner. I've seen quite a few videos of snare tools grabbing snakes behind the head ... the home owner or fire department guy believes that they are helping, but that snake is not going to survive.

So what do you do? We use and recommend snake tongs - they come in very long versions (52" is great for someone inexperienced). The Gentile Giant version by Midwest Tongs is what we purchase for our own team, and is highly recommended for one simple reason: the wide base and solid build allows for a gentle and effective means of handling snakes. The wide base creates a larger area to support the snake, and when used properly, can very quickly relocate a snake without any damage to those little snakey riblets, or causing undue struggle and risk for the user. So please, if you're a lifelong snare user, consider making the switch to tongs, for both their safety, and yours. Take it from us - we relocate many hundreds of snakes each year.


How high does a snake fence need to be?

36" high is best, with a minimum of 30". Anything less than that and your yard is likely not protected.

How do we know this? We tested different heights of fence with different sizes of rattlesnake. Here is a link to the article and detailed video how high a snake fence should be.


What size of mesh is effective to keep rattlesnakes out?

1/4" or less is the maximum size you'll want at every possible entry-point into your property.

It's common to see larger sizes than that; sometimes even as a requirement from the HOA. But, from testing and studying the sizes of baby rattlesnakes, the correct size of 14" is clear. Here is a link to a video we produced to demonstrate what size mesh should be used in snake fencing.


Does having a water feature attract snakes?

Providing water opportunities for wildlife is one of the many factors that can attract rattlesnakes to your property. Not only to drink, but to ambush rodents and other small animals that are seeking water as well. During the hottest time of year, too, any leaks or splashing from a water feature can help regulate the temperature and moisture available in a larger area, making them ideal estivation spots.

If you do have a water feature, make sure to keep it as well-maintained as possible. Any cracks in the material binding rocks, or openings for pipes and drainage areas, can be used by rattlesnakes as easy retreats. The moisture and small vibrations that occur every time the pump turns on or off can help create cave systems that are used by rattlesnakes and their prey, so should be fixed immediately when damage or erosion is discovered.


Is there a way to scare rattlesnakes out of an area before clearing brush?

In a growing area of Arizona, the invasive Globe Chamomile is becoming quite a menace. As a result, more and more property owners are looking to clear brush and grasses before the fire season. Unfortunately, there isn't a great way to scare rattlesnakes out of the brush before you begin. Suggestions like playing loud music or banging pots and pans will not work; even though rattlesnakes can detect air-borne sounds to some degree, this is very unlikely to send them slithering off into the neighbors' lot. Ground vibrations would likely be a better way to get their attention, but running away isn't always their go-to strategy. Just as likely, you'd cause the rattlesnakes to hunker down and hide, possibly increasing your chances of an encounter.

There is some chance that flooding the area, spraying it with a hose, or using something that creates a lot of vibration and motion like a leafblower, could help, but those aren't actions that would guarantee success. Unfortunately, the best course of action here is to remain aware of your surroundings and proceed with brush clearing with caution.


How do I keep rattlesnakes off my driveway?

We're often asked what kind of gate can keep rattlesnakes from coming down a driveway. For residential properties, this is relatively easy, as most gates in these situations are the type that we can modify with our rattlesnake fencing and exclusion services.

For large properties, several acres, or more, that is often not an option. It's often suggested that installing a cattle guard could keep rattlesnakes away, but it's not that easy. For every rattlesnake that is unable to cross it, the pit and shelter opportunity offered by aging grates could actually become an attractant. The best thing to do in this instance is to make sure that the fence line is always free of debris and brush, and possibly look into drift-fence solutions made for industrial-scale projects.

In all cases, keeping your driveway and the areas around it as clear of brush and stuff that could offer a place to hide is the best way to keep them away.


Can I install snake fencing on the inside of a chain link fence?

It is not recommended to install snake fencing on the inside of chain link fencing, or any other fencing when it can be avoided.

Snake Fence works as a physical barrier to keep snakes out of an area. If there are surfaces that a snake can use to climb up and over the fence, it's more or less useless. While it may be ok in some situations with view fence (if installed properly, and other considerations), something as easy-to-climb as chain link should be avoided.

This does often cause some conflict with Homeowners Association guidelines, however. If your HOA is requiring you to install on the inside of the fence, it would be appropriate to challenge it. Most HOAs do not understand that there is added risk by simply choosing a different side of the fence to install on, and are open to changing their rules when they learn otherwise.


What do you do if you see a rattlesnake on a trail?

Nothing! Rattlesnakes are just part of living in Phoenix, and often only dangerous to those who choose to "fix" a situation that doesn't need fixing. If you see a snake on a trail, just leave it alone and go around it. Most often, a snake that appears to be stretched across a trail "sunning" is actually being still beccause it has seen you first and doesn't realize that camouflage doesn't work on a trail. As we have learned from years of snake removals and asking residents to keep an eye on the snake until we arrive, many are completely aware of your presence and are just waiting for the "predator" to leave so they can make an escape. If you get out of sight for a minute or two, the snake will likely move on. Make sure to alert others who may be coming down the trail to watch for the snake, and then simply go around it. Remember that rattlesnakes aren't aggressive, but defensive, and won't actively come after you as long as you do not appear to be a threat. Stay well outside of the strike range (about half of the body length, but give it a good 5' or more) and walk around it. In many of the photos that we receive where hikers claim to be trapped or in some "stand off" situation, there are clear opportunities to just go around it, like you would any other hazard on the trail.

Most importantly, if you do see a snake on the trail, prevent idiots from messing with it. Something about a certain gender that starts with "M" causes idiotic behavior when presented with an easy opportunity for self-aggrandizing stories, and there is an irresistible urge to pick up, play with, or catch the snake ... if not throw rocks, sticks, or kill. If you see one of these people doing this kind of thing, please remind them that wildlife should not be disturbed, and if they're unable to resist, perhaps a nice air conditioned gym is more to their taste.


Someone sent a picture of a HUGE rattlesnake killed in my area. Is it real?

Probably not. I get forwarded about every dead snake photo that makes the rounds on the internet, and then some. I've also set up alerts on Google so any time a rattlesnake is mentioned in type anywhere on the internet, we're able to see it. Usually, these stories are indeed real snakes, but the descriptions, stories, locations, and places involved are complete lies. The amazing part (perhaps a psychology grad student out there might pick this up) is how often and how predictable the lies are. Whenever one of these fakes is posted, it gets new life with a 'look what my friend killed'. One could assume that it would be the 'friend' who is the liar, but I have NEVER seen one email, forum post, or news article where the poster claims it to be themself. One would think that someone who takes a photo found on the internet to send around as if it were there own would be enough of a braggart to at least do so in the first person, rather than leave it up to their friends.

As a reference, of if you're wanting to know if that photo is indeed real, would be the blog of David Steen . He does a great job of keeping track of these ridiculous stories when they emerge and RE-emerge a few weeks later with a different story attached to them.


If I am bitten by a rattlesnake, what should I do?

You need to get to a hospital as fast as possible. First, try your best to keep calm and just remember the statistics: in almost every case, you will live. According to the CDC, there are between 7,000-8,000 venomous snake bites in the United States each year, and less than 10 of those die. Of those 10, there may be other health issues that complicate the situation. Keeping calm not only helps you make the right decisions, but keeps your heart-rate down, slowing the venom's progression through the body.

Remove any jewelry to allow for swelling. Keep the bite area below your heart, if possible. Do not cut, suck, or try to bleed venom from the wound. This does not help, and causes additional stress and injury to the area. Do not let anyone try and use a suction device on the wound. A study by Loma Linda University School of Medicine shows that these devices also do not help and can actually make the situation worse. Do not apply a tourniquet. While it is true that a properly applied compression bandage may be of benefit with some bite situations, attempting to tie off the flow of blood can make a bite that may not result any long term damage into an amputation situation or worse. Do not apply ice or home remedies - basically, leave the bite area alone completely.

If you are far from help, out hiking or otherwise, it may be best to send someone for help. If you can get a cell phone signal, call 911 and let them advise on how to proceed. If you cannot call, notify anyone around of the situation and let help come to you. If you are alone, get to a trail and calmly make your way back to where there are people who can help. Do not run - it is important to keep your heart rate down and make your way to other people. Stick to trails so that in the event that you lose conscienceness, people will find you and be able to get help.

Do not try to kill the snake or intact with it further, and insist that others do not try to either. This isn't for the snake's benefit - it is simply a useless action. The antivenin you will receive is made to work for all species in our area. Furthermore, proper identification of a snake is not something that doctors or EMTs will necessarily know how to do. Even those who spend a great deal of time working with rattlesnakes can have difficulty differentiating between a Mojave rattlesnake and a Western Diamondback. Simply remove yourself from the situation and focus on getting help. Further interaction with the snake only puts additional people in harms way.

If you are in a populated area, do not attempt to drive yourself to the hospital. You may pass out or otherwise become unable to operate a vehicle, making a bad situation worse. Call for help, keep calm and stationary, and let help come to you.

If it is your dog that has been bitten, call an emergency veterinarian as quickly as possible.


Can a person move fast enough to dodge a rattlesnake strike?

Nope! A rattlesnake's strike is faster than a person would be able to react. By the time your eyes send the signal to the brain, and the order to "move!" goes to the limb, there's not a chance to dodge it. Fortunately, staying outside of a rattlesnake's strike range is pretty easy. If you end you close to one unknowingly, move away as fast as you can.


Can rattlesnakes climb trees?

Sometimes! It doesn't happen very much though. We have seen a handful of rattlesnakes climbing in bushy trees to get over a fence, and know that some species will climb trees in the wild for a variety of reasons. This doesn't mean that you need to worry about them dropping out of the branches, but it does mean that you should keep the bushes near your fence nice and trim.

The speed of the strike can vary due to a number of circumstances. According to on study, the average time a snake takes from a ready position to full extended is just 0.1 seconds, which would be about 136 miles per hour.

RATTLESNAKE STRIKE BEHAVIOR: KINEMATICS, KENNETH V. KARDONG1 ,AND VINCENT L. BEL


I've heard there are rattlesnakes on Camelback Mountain, is this true?

Yes. We have relocated 2 species of rattlesnake from the Camelback area and surrounding mountains - in fact speckled rattlesnakes are quite commonly seen throughout the range. It doesn't mean you will ever see one if you hike along the very busy trails, but you should still keep an eye out as you would anywhere else in the desert.


Are baby rattlesnakes more dangerous than adults?

No they are not. This myth is complicated because some of the reasons people give to explain it are partially true, but do not add up to a baby rattlesnake being a more dangerous animal - not even close.

Here is a video from The Venom Interviews that destroys the myth and shows its origins.

One reason people give is that baby rattlesnakes are more toxic than adults. This is partially true with some species. The common western diamondback, for example, may have slightly more toxic venom as a baby to target different types of prey (The Venomous Reptiles of Arizona. Lowe, Schwalbe, Johnson). The missing factor here is venom yield, or how much venom is delivered in a bite. The yield delivered by an adult rattlesnake is many times that of a baby, negating any difference in toxicity. A metaphor I use is this: if you are trying to stay as sober as possible, would you rather drink a) a shot of tequila, or b) a gallon of wine? Obviously, a gallon of weak wine would make anyone pretty sick, while a shot of very strong tequila is just to get the night going. The toxicity differences between a baby rattlesnake and an adult are not nearly this extreme, making the notion even more ridiculous.

Another reason given is the idea that baby rattlesnakes do not yet know how much venom to deliver, so they just give it all. The same rationale applies here as before - even a fraction of a full load from an adult will be as much as all that a small baby has. There are many different views on this topic in the herpetological community about the level of consistency at which a rattlesnake of any age injects venom, and why.

Just to wrap this up - even if the venom were much more toxic, even if they always gave a higher venom yield than an adult, they are certainly not more dangerous for one reason: they are tiny. An adult diamondback in Arizona has a strike range of around 2', and half-inch fangs. A baby can strike out about 6 inches with it's little pin pricker fangs. I'd not like to step on either with my boot while hiking, but the outcomes of these scenarios are very different.


Can rattlesnakes mate with other kinds of snakes and make dangerous hybrids?

While it is true that some animals do produce cross-species hybrids in the wild, they have to be fairly similar in form for the animal to actually be born. There are hybrid rattlesnakes out there, such as half mojave and half diamondback weirdos, but they are unable to breed. It is impossible for a rattlesnake to interbreed with a very different kind of snake, like a gophersnake, black snake, or kingsnake, as are sometimes reported. They are too different in form for it to work out. Even in a controlled, captive environment, this could simply never happen.


Can you tell the age of a rattlesnake by the number of rattle segments?

No. This is a popular myth, though it's not at all true. A rattlesnake is born with a single segment, called a "pre-button". The first shed adds to it, making it a "button", and each shed after that for the rest of its life, it will gain a new segment. The number of times that a snake sheds has to do with how fast it is growing, how much it gets to eat, the age of the snake, and other factors. In the first few months of life, a baby snake will shed several times, while at older ages or in cooler environments, it may only shed once. Instead, age can be somewhat determined by the taper of the rattle, or the angle at which each segment is larger than the previous. A snake with a rattle that looks like a triangle is a fairly young snake, probably only 2 or 3 years old. Each segment is larger than the last because the snake is growing at a steady pace, and has not yet lost early rattles. If the rattle is the same thickness from start to end, that is an older snake that has stopped growing long ago.


Are rattlesnakes quickly evolving a more toxic venom?

No. There is no evidence to suggest that rattlesnakes are quickly evolving to deliver more toxic bites. As far as we can find, it's just a made-up story that is getting passed around. However, even if there were evidence of such a thing, there are much more likely answers to the reasons for it than the "OMG it's a hybrid with a cottonmouth!" theories out there.

Here's a peer-reviewed paper that explains this in detail


Can you tell a Western Diamondback Rattlesnake from a Mojave Rattlesnake by looking at the rings on the tail?

Sometimes, but it's far from an absolute way to tell the difference. The tail banding patterns of both species of rattlesnake can be quite variable, and relying on any single feature to give an absolute answer, in many cases, can lead to misidentification.

Here is a short video explaining this:


Are rattlesnakes nocturnal?

Rattlesnakes, along with many other species of snake, can be both active in the day and night. Depending on the time of year, temperature, and other conditions, rattlesnakes may have better opportunities to find a comfortable temperature. On hot days, for example, rattlesnakes are primarily nocturnal. On cooler Spring and Fall days, they may be active in the mornings and afternoons.

Activity times may differ from encounter times – that is, when we tend to run into rattlesnakes has just as much to do with our behavior as theirs. A great example is that for much of the summer, rattlesnakes are most often encountered by people just after sun-up and sunset, even though this is just a sliver of the nocturnal activity happening at the time. During the Spring, people tend to see more snakes in the early afternoons, not only because snakes are active then, but these are the times that many choose to start an afternoon hike. Similarly, changes like getting a new swimming pool or dog can increase the likelihood of snake encounters because of the activity of the homeowner, not a change in the behavior of snakes.


Do denim jeans protect against rattlesnake bites?

While heavy jeans or pants may help reduce the chances of envenomation by a rattlesnake, they should not be regarded as foolproof protection. Jeans and heavy pants, especially if worn loosely to allow space between the material and the skin, may decrease the odds that a rattlesnake attempting to defensively bite could come in full contact, resulting in potentially less venom delivery. In general, if working or recreating in an area where rattlesnakes are common and other safety measures, like being able to completely see the ground, heavy pants and boots are a good idea.


Which time of year are you least likely to run into rattlesnakes?

Generally in Arizona, the coolest months of the year are the times you are least likely to see rattlesnakes without intentionally looking for them. Starting in late October through mid-February, rattlesnakes in the low desert are likely either in hibernation, or in a staging mode that keeps them near those dens. Based on our snake relocation records and frequency of accounts and requests to our snake identifcation services, this is the best time to hike if you prefer not to see rattlesnakes.

Similarly, but not as good for hikers, are the hot summer months, when rattlesnakes are estivating (like hibernation, but to escape the heat). If someone were to hike in the heat of the day between mid-May and the end of August, you'd be unlikely to see any surface life at all.


What can I do to protect my dog from rattlesnakes?

Rattlesnake aversion training, combined with other avoidance techniques and prevention of rattlesnakes at home, are the best actions to take to keep your dog safe from rattlesnakes.

Rattlesnake aversion training is a process that teaches dogs to be cautious and avoid rattlesnakes. Dogs have no evolutionary history with rattlesnakes and have no natural aversion to them. As a result, a buzzing venomous snake looks more like food or a toy than a threat to our furry pets. Aversion training is simply a method of teaching them that rattlesnakes are nothing to play with. Rattlesnake Solutions does not offer dog training (we know a lot more about snakes than dogs and leave it to the experts), so we have partnered with Rattlesnake Ready as our recommendation on who should provide this service.

If you are hiking with a dog, you should always use a leash. In our polling, we have discovered that second only to your own backyard, the majority of bites to dogs happen on trails when off-leash. By simply using a leash, the owner can control the situation and avoid almost all risk. Remember that dogs are typically bitten on the nose when they go to investigate, not being surprised by a hiding snake.

Lastly, you should take all efforts possible to reduce the chances of an encounter on your property. We have outlined how to do this in our Ultimate Guide to Keep Snakes Away From Your Home

There is a "vaccine" available for dogs. We are not veterinarians, and I would encourage you to speak to your vet about this. However, I would not give it to my dog, personally.


Can a rattlesnake regrow its rattle?

The rattle of a rattlesnake is made of a material that often grows brittle and breaks through the tough environment. That doesn't mean that they'll go rattle-less for life, however. As long as the first segment on the tail, called the proximal rattle, is intact, the snake will grow a new segment of rattle with each shed cycle. The new segment is not left-behind skin, but keratin (the same material that your fingernails are made of). Since it requires at least 2 segments to make any sound, a fully-functioning rattle can take some time to regrow, but it eventually will. This is also the reason why counting the rattle segments is not a way to tell the age of the snake, as is commonly believed.