Western Diamondback Rattlesnake

Keeping rattlesnakes off of my property in San Diego

Western Diamondback Rattlesnake

Keeping rattlesnakes off of my property in San Diego

Rattlesnakes are a common sight in Southern California, particularly in the arid and semi-arid regions. Known for their distinctive rattling sound, these venomous snakes play a crucial role in the local ecosystem. Understanding their lifecycle, hunting habits, and ways to deter them from your property can help you coexist with these fascinating yet potentially dangerous creatures.

Lifecycle of Rattlesnakes

Rattlesnakes in Southern California, particularly the Western Diamondback and the Southern Pacific Rattlesnake, follow a well-defined lifecycle. They typically emerge from hibernation in late March or early April as temperatures rise. Mating season occurs in the spring, and after a gestation period of around six months, females give birth to live young in late summer or early fall. A litter can range from 5 to 20 snakes, each equipped with a pre-button at the end of their tail, which eventually develops into a rattle.

Young rattlesnakes are independent from birth and must fend for themselves immediately. They grow rapidly, shedding their skin several times in their first year of life. Each shedding adds a new segment to their rattle. Rattlesnakes can live up to 20 years in the wild, although their average lifespan is typically shorter due to predation and environmental factors.

Hunting Habits

Rattlesnakes are primarily ambush predators, relying on their camouflage to blend into their surroundings and wait for prey to come within striking distance. Their diet mainly consists of small mammals such as mice, rats, and rabbits, but they also consume birds and other reptiles. They have heat-sensing pits located between their eyes and nostrils, allowing them to detect the body heat of their prey even in complete darkness.

Rattlesnakes hunt mostly at night during the hotter months to avoid the daytime heat. In cooler months, they may be more active during the day. Their venom not only immobilizes their prey but also begins the digestive process before the snake even starts to eat.

Deterring Rattlesnakes from Your Property

Living in an area populated by rattlesnakes requires some precautions to ensure safety. Here are a few effective methods to deter rattlesnakes from your property:

1. Eliminate Food Sources: Rattlesnakes are attracted to areas with abundant prey. Keep your property free of rodents by sealing trash cans, removing bird feeders, and cleaning up fallen fruit and pet food. Bite Away can help with comprehensive rodent control services.

2. Remove Shelter: Snakes seek out cool, shaded areas to hide. Clear away piles of rocks, wood, and debris where snakes might find shelter. Keep your grass mowed and trim overgrown vegetation regularly. Don’t put any planters or other objects directly advance to exterior doors where snakes could hide, and strike at you or your pets.

3. Install Snake Fencing: A snake-proof fence can be an effective barrier. Ensure it is made of mesh less than a quarter-inch wide and buried at least six inches into the ground to prevent snakes from burrowing underneath.

4. Use Natural Repellents: Some plants, such as marigolds and lemongrass, are believed to repel snakes. Additionally, essential oils like clove and cinnamon oil can act as deterrents when sprayed around your property.

5. Regular Inspections: Conduct regular inspections of your property to ensure that there are no signs of snake activity. If you encounter a rattlesnake, it’s best to contact a professional to remove it safely.


Rattlesnakes are an integral part of Southern California’s natural landscape, serving as both predator and prey within the ecosystem. By understanding their lifecycle and hunting habits, and taking proactive measures to deter them, you can reduce the likelihood of encountering these snakes on your property. Respecting and coexisting with rattlesnakes, while ensuring your safety, is key to living harmoniously in their habitat.

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biteaway President

About Us

Bite Away Termite and Pest Control has been providing San Diego homeowners, commercial property managers, and the real estate community quality termite and pest control services since 2005. The company is under new ownership since 2021 with a renewed dedication to customer service, quality termite repair work, and effective pest control to keep your property and your family safe and pest free.