MESA, Ariz. -- 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 YouTube video recorded by the company, Rattlesnake Solutions.
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.
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.
“This is our record for the most rattlesnakes caught in one call!” said company owner Bryan Hughes.
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 (roughly 1-meter) snake being plucked from a toilet bowl and hissing straight at the camera.