An Arizona man called a snake removal company after seeing what he thought were three rattlesnakes lurking in the garage of his Mesa home. He was wrong.
There actually were 20 snakes — five adult western diamondback rattlers and 15 babies. One of the adult snakes also was pregnant.
Snake wrangler Marissa Maki found most of the rattlers coiled around the base of a hot water heater in the unidentified homeowner's cluttered garage Tuesday.
"That is a lot of snakes. I'm not going to lie. This is crazy," Maki said in a video recorded by the company, Rattlesnake Solutions.
She said she had to retrieve a second bucket to collect the babies "because I just don't want the adults to start striking."
The western diamondbacks, with their distinctive triangular-shaped heads, are found throughout the Southwest. And though their venom is far less toxic than other rattlesnake species, they still require care when being handled.
The snakes — which are typically 3 to 5 feet long — eat mice, rats, rabbits, gophers, birds, lizards and other small animals, according to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.
Maki used tongs to pick up each snake before dropping them into large plastic buckets and relocating them to a natural habitat in a desert area. She had to use large tweezers to retrieve baby snakes that were difficult to reach.
"This is our record for the most rattlesnakes caught in one call!" said company owner Bryan Hughes.
"I'm so glad to set a record for you," the homeowner can be heard saying sarcastically on the video.
The number could have been higher. Hughes said several shedded skins were found in the garage, indicating as many as 40 snakes may have lived there at some point.
"We'll never know how many rattlesnakes have come and gone over time," he said.
Rattlesnake Solutions made headlines in July when the company successfully removed a non-venomous coachwhip snake from a Tucson home. Their 20-second video showed that 3- to 4-foot snakeand hissing straight at the camera.
The homeowner, Michelle Lespron, said she used her guest bathroom for three weeks before feeling comfortable enough to go back to her own.
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