How Do You Scare Away a Rattlesnake?

An unplanned meet-up with a rattlesnake is a blood-chilling experience because the serpent can land a nasty strike in a blink of an eye if cornered or caught unawares. At the same time, you can prevent things from escalating if you are aware of the tactics that can scare a rattlesnake away.

In today’s article, we will focus on ‘how do you scare a rattlesnake’ to ensure any confrontation in the future doesn’t harm you. The creature can get frightened of simple tactics, such as fast movements, banging noise and vibrations, predatory birds and animals and repellents.

You can learn about these methods in detail below. Whatever scaring technique you choose, remember that following precautions is always the best course of action if you want to come out unscathed from any snake encounter.

6 Ways to Scare Off a Rattlesnake

Despite its terrifying nature, a rattlesnake’s first intention isn’t to attack. It prefers to avoid a human encounter unless threatened. Lucky for you, the creature can be easily scared off; just do not corner it and make it perceive you as a threat.

Stomp Your Feet

Indeed, snakes are deaf; they cannot hear a thing even if you scream right next to their ears. However, they can sense the vibration of the noise and get scared of it. The best method  – and precaution too – to frighten a rattlesnake is to stomp your feet when you traverse across its territory. It will warn the serpent of your arrival long before you enter the vicinity, making it evacuate the scene. Do that from 6 to 10 feet distance. Immediately backtrack if you notice the space to be less than 6 feet.

Throw Something in its Direction

Another effective scaring technique is to throw something, probably a rock, stone or stick, in the rattlesnake’s direction. No, we aren’t suggesting you start stoning or pelleting the creature. Throw them in such a manner so that the object hits the ground near the serpent, making a banging noise. That would frighten it and might make it leave its spot. It is a tested technique that quivering produced due to beating the ground with a heavy object could make any snake back off, rattlesnake included.

Meanwhile, don’t get too close since even a terrified rattlesnake could strike in a flash.

Wave Your Arms Fast

In a lot of incidents, it is observed that fast movements also scare snakes. Besides, rattlesnakes have relatively weaker eyesight. So, if you see a rattler sitting in your path, wave your arms around rapidly. The fast movement of arms plus poor vision works in your favour and scares the reptile; it decides to flee in most circumstances.

This waving action of upper limbs also has a side benefit: it confuses the serpent, making it difficult for it to zero in on the target and strike.

Move it Aside with a Walking Stick

One of the reasons why experts insist on keeping a walking/hiking cane with you is that it helps you move aside the serpent without getting too close. It is a riskier move, especially when the opponent is a poisonous pit viper, but it works most of the time. Pick a long tree branch or a walking cane, at least a couple of feet long, and drag it out of your way with it.

Make sure the cane allows you to keep at least a 3 – 4 feet distance; getting further close will bring you within the striking range of the rattler. Also, go for this tactic after putting on safety gloves. Otherwise, stomp the ground hard and give it a wide berth to let it slither away.

Do not, and I insist, try to pick it up with the cane because it could backfire.

Scare it with an Effective Snake Repellent

Many snake repellents have little to zero effect on rattlesnakes, but some may make them bugger off. Hardware-bought snake repellents that most certainly work on rattlesnakes are few and hard to find. It is best to spray natural repellents nearby, such as the essence of essential oils, to force them to move away. An important reason why wildlife experts insist on organically-produced repellents is that they neither harm the serpents nor humans, pets or the environment.

Scare them with Predator Animals

The sight of some animals or birds also frightens snakes. For instance, a mongoose is an arch-rival of snakes. It has an inborn instinct to kill snakes, including the formidable King Cobra. You can easily domesticate it to terrorise snakes.

Furthermore, felines, dogs, foxes, raccoons, domestic fowl, owls and hawks also invoke fear in serpents. You can use these predators to scare off the rattlers.


Getting bitten by a snake  – and that also a poisonous rattlesnake – will not even be the last thing you would want to experience. Therefore, it is better to follow the necessary precaution to stay safe.

  1. Avoid, if you can, travelling across a rattlesnake country during their active season – spring to fall.
  2. Don’t corner it or try to pick it up or kill it.
  3. Wear anti-snake gears when traversing through a rattlesnake surrounding.
  4. If possible, call a professional to come and tackle it.


Rattlesnakes might be scary, but that doesn’t mean you cannot scare them away. Making fast movements or loud vibrations can scare off the serpent long before it becomes a threat. Other tactics are to move them out of the way with a hiking cane or use repellent or snake predators. Remember, no matter what tactic you use, be sure to follow the precautions to avoid becoming a victim of a snake attack.

About the author

Clinton Newman

Clinton Newman is a herpetologist and part-time blogger who loves to study snakes and their behavior. He is always called by neighbors to help them catch or get rid of snakes in their houses. . He's a passionate traveler and does a lot of Hiking and Hunting Adventures. His favorite places are Forests, Deserts, and Mountains. Now, he's guiding other Hikers to hike safely through this blog by reviewing the top best picks gears for safety and also guiding on Snakes and ways to deal with them.