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Rattlesnakes at Your Door?

Rattlesnakes at Your Door?

Just in case you thought we’d exhausted the topic of bizarrely unpleasant side effects of the drought plaguing the Western US, here’s one more to chuck on the pile: rattlesnakes. According to CBS News, scarcity of ground water is driving rodents closer to homes and neighborhoods to quench their thirst. And where the vermin go, the snakes follow, with the result that “Rattlesnakes are Slithering Closer to Homes in Northern California.”

The snake removal specialist quoted in the article reports a record year for his business, netting over 70 snakes in a single week. Incidentally, he keeps them alive in a room and releases them back into the wild—which, if you live in Sacramento, may not be the most comforting part of the article.

I mean, not to creep anybody out, but RATTLESNAKES!

I’m knocking on all kinds of wood as I tell you that I happen to live in a part of the country where rattlesnakes aren’t found, but I did have a glancing encounter with one as a kid at camp. As I remember it, one of my grown-up relatives took a shovel to the creature and lopped off its head—a technique frowned upon by the reliable sources below, I’m sure.

So, what does one do if one comes across one of these nasty pieces of work, whether on the trail or in your garage? First of all, do your homework!

  • The US Forest Service offers a Snake Safety handout, with precautions, first aid, and some really enlightening snake facts. My favorite is the DOs and DON’Ts section—turns out Hollywood’s old cut-and-suck method is a no-no.
  • Washington State’s Trail Association has a page dedicated specifically to “How to Hike in Rattlesnake Country.” Tips include how to identify signs that a rattler is near, how to safely photograph snakes, and what special considerations to make when hiking with dogs.


With all the other drama of this particular crisis, I really hope an infestation isn’t part of your experience this year. But if it is, learn what you need to do to keep your household safe. And for more info on other biters, stingers, and suckers, see our “First Aid for Insect Bites and Stings.”



9 thoughts on “Rattlesnakes at Your Door?”

  • tim

    keep a hoe by the door. that is what i use to kill snakes and it also makes a convenient walking stick when i walk my property.

  • Ernie

    I wish I had Rattlesnakes at my door! They are TASTY!

    SKin and gut...wash thoroughly...salt and pepper and roll in 50/50 meal and flour and deep fry in hot oil! DAMN! Beautiful wonderful delectable meal!

    • beprepared

      Haha! I've never tasted rattlesnake before, but the way you're describing how to cook them . . . Um, sign me up! What does rattlesnake taste like? Chicken? I'm all about trying things at least once : )

  • Dutchuncle

    The best and safest way to remove a rattler or any snake is to go to your local home improvement store and buy a length of 1/2" conduit. That's 10 ft for those who don't know how long it is,,,and get 25 feet of either steel cable (1/8th inch or less) or #12 stranded copper electrical wire. Double the wire and string it through the conduit so you have a LOOP on one end and then tie or tape the other end together for handle. When you see a snake, slowly put the LOOPED end over they snakes head and then pull the other end of the wire. Make sure you hold it firmly because snakes are strong. If you want to carry it somewhere and let it go you can, or if yo want to KILL it FAST,,,Pull HARD and FAST on the taped end and the Conduit will cut the snake's head off...Remember, snake heads can still BITE after separation so use a shovel to hand it.

  • Bill

    Rattlesnakes are a great food source !!!

  • Emily

    I have had a giant rattler in my washing machine, and two baby rattlers in my house, one loose and one I killed. I live across the street from Rattlesnake Creek.

  • Darnell

    What do you do if a rattlesnake bite you are any snake why you are hurting.

  • Harry Hingst

    Best thing to keep by the door is a long handled shovel with the edge sharpened razor sharp. You can then easily cut off their heads from a distance of the shovel handle plus your arms length. Just remember that the heads are still lethal for a time after they are cut off. Best to leave it lay until tomorrow before moving it, with the long handled shovel.

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