An aggressive rattlesnake has left a snake catcher’s claws covered in venom after being found in a woodpile at a California home.
Footage of the incident was shared by So-Cal Rattlesnake Removal on Facebook. In it, the venomous snake is seen lashing out at the snake catcher’s claws, leaving a trail of venom on its surface.
“You can literally see the venom on my claws,” So-Cal Rattlesnake Removal said in the post.
“A customer saw the snake go into a big pile of wood, so when I got there I started removing all the wood,” said Alex Trajo of So-Cal Rattlesnake Removal. Pleasemynews. “Finally I found the snake and was able to get it out quickly.”
The South Pacific Rattlesnake is one of the deadliest snake species in North America. They can grow to over four feet long and are found all along the southwest coast from California to northern Mexico.
“These South Pacific rattlesnakes are very common here,” Trajo said. “[They] are most active early [in the] morning and evening/night on hot summer days.”
Populations of South Pacific rattlesnakes are thriving in the southwest, thanks to warmer temperatures in the region. As global temperatures continue to rise, these snakes are likely to become even more common.
The venom of the South Pacific rattlesnake varies by location. A 2014 study compared the species’ venom in different habitats and found a marked difference between specimens.
Desert snakes in Phelan, California, and Catalina Island release a hemotoxin that breaks down blood vessel walls and prevents leaking blood from clotting. In contrast, snakes at Idyllwild in the San Jacinto Mountains, just a two-hour drive from Phelan, release a powerful neurotoxin that causes paralysis.
This makes it very difficult to develop targeted antivenoms for the species.
Generally, rattlesnakes avoid contact with humans.
However, more than 300 people are interrogated by rattlesnakes each year in California alone, the California Poison Control System estimated. A bite from these snakes produces painful swelling, bruising, excessive bleeding, tissue damage, and can sometimes be fatal.
When alarmed, the rattlesnake shakes its tail back and forth to warn potential predators. The “rattle” is made up of hard tail segments, called knobs, which rattle together to create the distinctive buzz.
With each moult, new buttons are added. “A large one with more than 10 buttons can be quite noisy,” Trajo said. “Like a broken chute.”
Encounters with rattlesnakes are not uncommon and should be treated with caution.
“Do not try to play with or manipulate the snake,” Trajo said. “Please call a professional.”