Starving Rattlesnake Survived Two Years in a Sealed Crawlspace in Arizona

by Caitlin Berard
(Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)

On Friday, September 30, an elderly woman living in Tubac, Arizona, called animal control to report that a rattlesnake was hiding underneath her backyard shed. To her confusion, the shed had been sealed with high-grade mesh two years ago. The mesh didn’t appear broken, so how did the snake get in?

Animal control passed the message along to Rattlesnake Solutions, a snake removal service located 45 miles away in Tucson. Curious to see the unbelievable situation for himself, Dave Holland, a professional snake trapper, soon set out for Tubac, his wife in tow.

Arriving at the home, Holland surveyed the shed. There was, indeed, a Diamondback rattlesnake behind the mesh, which was fully intact. This left only one possibility: the snake had been trapped under the shed for two years, starved of both food and sunlight, both absolutely necessary for their survival.

To the snake trapper’s disbelief, however, the snake was very much alive. The homeowner then explained the events of two years prior, at which point the situation became clear.

“My 81-year-old customer walked out to the shed and was buzzed by a Diamondback hiding beneath,” Holland wrote in a social media post. “This had also happened in August of 2020 and she had a pest control company come out to take care of the pack rats that had undoubtedly attracted the snake.”

To relieve the homeowner of her rat problems, the pest control company then trapped and removed the rodents. With what they thought was a clear crawlspace, they added high-quality mesh to prevent future infestations.

They did an excellent job with the mesh, as there were “absolutely no entry points” under the shed. Unfortunately, however, they also trapped the poor rattlesnake.

Snake Trapper Successfully Rescues Starving Rattlesnake

Back in 2020, the homeowner noticed the rattlesnake trapped under the shed’s crawlspace. She made no effort to rescue it, though, as she assumed the massive snake was dead.

Two years went by and rather than finding a decomposing snake corpse beneath her shed, she discovered a live rattlesnake, at which point she called for help.

“Just over two years later, I shined my light beneath and observed a large, and very alive Diamondback,” Holland said. “I took off a small section of mesh and sprayed the hose from the back and was able to coerce the snake out.”

Sadly, though the rattlesnake was still alive, it was in terrible shape. Two years in a tiny, dark crawlspace with no food left it starving and injured.

“It survived the drought of 2020, two winters, and no food for over 2 years with nothing to hide in but the remnants of the old pack rat nest,” Holland explained. “It was never able to bask but somehow managed to get enough moisture to endure.”

“The scales on its nose were mostly worn off. It must have persistently pressed against the mesh in an effort to escape,” he continued. “It had lost so much weight that its skin was loose and the coloring looked abnormal.”

After releasing the snake from the crawlspace, the snake trapper ensured that it found its way to a food source. He placed it near multiple rodent trails and left the rest to nature. “After what this snake has endured, finding a meal should now be easy,” Holland said. “I am amazed that it survived and hope it thrives and continues to pass on his genes.”