Description Rattlesnakes are named for the warning sounds they make when threatened. While their menacing appearance and toxic bites have earned them a bad reputation, the snakes keep rodent populations in check. Still, finding them near homes is frightening and dangerous for both families and pets. Appearance The U.S. is home to 15 rattlesnake species, ranging in size from one to eight feet long. They can be brown, yellow, gray, black, white, muted red, or olive green in color. Many rattlers also have chevron, diamond, or spotted back and side markings. Their rattles are comprised of interlocking scales on the tips of their tails. Habitat Rattlesnakes can live in a variety of habitats such as forests, brush, swamps, grasslands, and deserts. They are strong swimmers and often found near bodies of water. Since they rely on their environment to regulate body temperature, the snakes are especially common in sunny southwestern states. Rough terrain, dense vegetation, rodent burrows, and hollows in trees are some of their favorite natural shelters. Entry Are rattlesnakes known to enter homes or yards? While they generally try to avoid people, rattlesnakes have been forced into close proximity to residential neighborhoods thanks to urban sprawl. The pests can squeeze through gaps in fences, gates, and shrubbery to get onto lawns. They then take shelter under scrap piles, firewood, trash cans, sheds, and porches. Damage Do rattlesnakes harm people or property? Rattlesnakes live in burrows made by other animals, which makes them hard to detect and therefore easy to startle. This usually results in injury. While over 8,000 people are bitten by venomous snakes each year, fewer than 10 snakebite deaths are reported. Still, even non-fatal bites cause extreme pain and deep, slow-healing tissue damage. Children and pets are at greater risk for additional problems like cardiovascular shock and seizures. Control and Safety Property owners can make their yards less favorable to the pests by controlling rodent populations around homes. Removing piles of debris, sealing holes in building exteriors, and maintaining neatly trimmed lawns and shrubs minimizes rattlesnake hiding spots. Individuals can also install wire mesh fences three feet high and buried three to four inches below the soil around yards or play areas. Trapping and Removal Most fumigants are designed to flush snakes out of hiding for wildlife control professionals to capture with specialized equipment. Improper handling of live snakes may spread salmonella and often results in injury. Therefore, homeowners should avoid the risks by contacting Critter Control's wildlife management professionals for safe removal.