One of Arizona’s largest rattlesnakes was found in a backyard.
A homeowner in Cave Creek spotted the 4-foot Western Diamondback “cruising through his backyard,” said Justin Bagby, a snake catcher who works for moving service Rattlesnake Solutions news week.
When Bagby arrived the snake was stretched out in the grass.
“He was very calm. This animal probably entered through the large gap under their gate. He made it to her patio and just hung out there. This animal was very relaxed and was not overly disturbed by my presence, even during its capture. He was relocated to an undeveloped desert area north of the housing development,” Bagby said.
At 4 feet, the rattlesnake was much larger than the average size for Arizona rattlesnakes, said Bryan Hughes, the owner of Rattlesnake Solutions news week.
“This size, which we would estimate at around 4.5 feet, is not particularly rare, but is larger than the average Arizona rattlesnake and is among the largest we’ve caught this year at over 1,000 rattlesnakes. If I were to put it in human height terms, this snake would be about 6’6,” Hughes said.
“Something interesting is how often people overestimate the size of rattlesnakes, or snakes in general. Rattlesnakes are routinely reported to us at 6 feet or more in length. But when we arrive we catch a snake that is only 2 or 3 feet long. Fear does some interesting things with our brains. In Arizona, rattlesnakes longer than 5 feet are rare – over 6 feet is unthinkable. This individual is among the largest one would possibly see in the state.
Arizona is home to 13 species of rattlesnakes that are particularly active during the spring and summer months. The most common species found in the state are Diamondback, Mojave, Sidewinder, and Black-tailed.
Some rattlesnakes in the US have reached lengths of up to 8 feet, but that’s not common in Arizona.
Rattlesnakes are venomous and bites can be dangerous if left untreated. But they are rarely fatal. The snakes are not normally aggressive, but will attack if they feel threatened.
The species are more active during the warmer summer months but may still be prowling around properties in winter.
“At this point, rattlesnakes are wintering across the state. There’s a misconception about what hibernation actually is, with the expectation that snakes just sleep through the winter,” Hughes said. “However, it is not uncommon to see one on the surface given the right conditions. With a rise in humidity or a disturbance, a rattlesnake may come out briefly to drink or make short movements. This one, found in November, was still likely headed toward his winter den, which was likely somewhere in the backyard.”
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