Rattlesnake Fence Industry Standards

snake fencing installations

Our recommendations are based on decades of experience working with a variety of common, venomous, and endangered snake and other reptile species throughout California. They have been field-tested and comprise the best practices currently on the market. Individual recommendations may vary by project based on the field conditions, location, species, type of existing fence, and other factors. These serve as the industry standards and are updated to reflect the best available scientific knowledge and building practices.

“Snake-proofing” your property begins with an understanding of rattlesnake behavior and abilities. They are creatures of habit that maintain home ranges – an area they live and regularly seek food, water, shelter, and mates – and travel to/from winter hibernacula via the same routes from year to year. New housing developments may be constructed within established home ranges or along regularly used travel routes, making them more likely to show up on your property. The size of rattlesnakes differ between species with adults ranging from 33-65 inches on average in California. The sole exception is the western diamond-backed rattlesnake that can reach 90 inches in length. Baby rattlesnakes – also called neonates or snakelets – range from 6-12 inches in length and can fit through openings larger than a ¼-inch in diameter.

Industry Guideline Objectives

  • Keep people safe by preventing venomous rattlesnakes from accessing properties including backyards, courtyards, gardens, and other confined outdoor spaces.
  • Protect the integrity of existing homes, fences, walls, and other structures.
  • Be easy to remove, repair, and maintain.
  • Comply with HOA and community guidelines and customer preferences without sacrificing functionality.

Recommended Snake Fencing Specifications


Fortunately, rattlesnakes are not good climbers. They typically climb heights measuring 1/3 to 1/2 their body length, so snake fencing should be a minimum of 38-inches for smaller species and 42 inches for larger species. In California, the exception would be a 58-inch tall fence for the western diamond-backed rattlesnake, which only occurs in the southeastern corner of the state. We recommend erring on the side of caution and installing a 42-inch fence.

Mesh Size

Since baby rattlesnakes can move through 1/3-inch openings, we recommend installing mesh fencing with openings that are no greater than ¼-inch. Galvanized hardware cloth is the preferred mesh option as it provides a nearly invisible viewscape that meets various HOA and community aesthetic and visual standards.


Consideration should be given to what type of attachments are used. Zip-ties are convenient but are prone to premature degradation or expedite oxidation. Galvanized self-tapping or self-drilling screws with polymer or neoprene washers are the best choices as they are easy to install and minimize potential damage to existing fences. They also provide ease of removal to facilitate fence painting, repairs, or replacement.


Materials vary from galvanized hardware cloth to solid Animex Premium Snake Fencing. Both options prevent rattlesnakes from entering a property if properly installed, but solid fencing offers additional protection by providing a visual screen that functions as a behavioral deterrent. Species spend less time at a fence that obscures their view and are more likely to venture away from your property rather than spending time trying to find a way through the fence. Although industry standards do not exist for snake fencing materials, the decision regarding which type of fence to choose largely comes down to aesthetics and the degree of effectiveness desired.


Gates function as an additional access point for rattlesnakes and are often overlooked. Snakes and other wildlife travel along the base of fences as they offer a degree of protection and provide thermoregulatory properties depending on the material, especially in areas with adjacent vegetation, rocks, or other suitable habitat features. This behavior guides rattlesnakes to access points under gates and other locations that if not properly secured, can unintentionally trap snakes on the property. Many options exist such as painted steel or other decorative materials that can be custom designed to match the existing gate coloration, material, and design features.


Do not leave any gaps larger than ¼-inch below 30 inches from the ground level including those between adjoining structures including fencing, gates, foundations, walls, siding, columns, etc. Seal gaps using galvanized mesh, concrete fillers, epoxy, or other suitable rigid materials designed for outdoor use.


  • Snake fencing should be attached to the outside of the existing fence to provide an unclimbable survey for rattlesnakes and other harmless snake species.
  • The bottom of the fence should be keyed into the ground at least 6 inches and backfilled to prevent rattlesnakes from gaining entry under the fence.
  • Snake fencing should be sufficiently secured to the existing fence/structure to ensure full coverage and prevent unwanted movement.
  • Fencing should not leave any gaps larger than ¼-inch.
  • The aboveground minimum height should be maintained along the length of the fence regardless of topography.


  • Regularly inspect your fence to identify potential weak, damage, or irregularities that rattlesnakes could use to gain access especially near corners, gates, or any area that is not flush with the ground.
  • Landscaping should be maintained to ensure vegetation, rocks, and other objects are kept clear from the outside of the fence. We recommend keeping a minimum of 18-inch walk space between the fence and adjacent vegetation.
  • Occasionally, walk the perimeter to fill in any holes that may have been created by small mammals such as ground squirrels, gophers, raccoons, dogs, etc.
  • Overall, the effectiveness of your fence is only worthwhile if it's installed properly and maintained regularly.

Fencing Products to Avoid

  • Products shorter than 40 inches unless it is only installed for the purpose of excluding rattlesnakes shorter than 35 inches in length.
  • Products with a mesh size greater than 1/4-inch including chicken wire.
  • Products made from plastic including plastic mesh or thin solid plastic materials even with UV inhibitors as the increased surface-to-volume ratio limits their durability making them susceptible to premature aging, ripping and tearing, and prone to breaking.
  • Placing metal on metal (e.g. hardware cloth on wrought iron fence) where water can sit causing premature oxidation and aging. Use polymer washers where appropriate.
  • Zip-ties (metal, nylon, or plastic) for attachment as they provide convenience at the expense of durability. Even the best quality zip-ties do not last more than a few years.
  • Using rubber, fiberglass, or plastics along the bottom or sides of gates since they are prone to failure due to weathering and repeated use.
  • Leaving any openings larger than ¼-inch.
  • Any material that violates HOA or community fencing standards.

Insured, Licensed, and Bonded

  • Vendors should carry a valid -13 Fencing or Class B General Contractors license in good standing with the California Contractors State License Board.
  • Vendors should be fully insured (general liability, commercial auto, and worker’s compensation) and bonded within the State of California.