HomeOutdoorsViralMonster Rattlesnake Found Slithering Through Arizona Backyard: PHOTO

Monster Rattlesnake Found Slithering Through Arizona Backyard: PHOTO

by Caitlin Berard
(Photo by liveslow via Getty Images)

Did you know that rattlesnakes live only in North and South America? There are 36 species of rattlers in total spread across both continents, the venomous snakes ranging from three to eight feet in length. The highest concentration of all, however, is in the Southwestern United States and Northern Mexico.

And the state with the most rattlers of all? Arizona. With 14 species, The Grand Canyon State has more types of rattlesnakes than any other state in the country.

Typically, though, homeowners don’t have to worry about crossing paths with a rattlesnake. Despite their widespread population across the state, rattlers are shy, most often keeping to themselves in the arid wilderness.

One lucky homeowner, however, came face to face with the reptile in their own backyard. And not just any rattler, either. This one was among the largest rattlesnakes in the entire state.

When Justin Bagby, a professional snake catcher working for Rattlesnake Solutions, received a call from a concerned homeowner about a rattlesnake “cruising their backyard,” he didn’t expect to find rattler royalty lounging in the grass. Luckily, however, the snake didn’t seem bothered by either the homeowner or the snake catcher. He was too busy basking in the warm Arizona sun.

“He was very calm,” Bagby told Newsweek. “This animal likely came in through the large gap under their gate. He made it to their patio and just hung out there. This animal was very relaxed and wasn’t too alarmed by my presence, even during its capture. He was relocated to an undeveloped area of desert north of the housing development.”

Arizona Snake Catcher Surprised by Massive Rattlesnake

The reptilian intruder was a little over 4 feet in length, and while that might not seem a great size in comparison to, say, a 33-foot python, it’s enormous for Arizona. As Bryan Hughes, the owner of Rattlesnake Solutions, explained, the four-footer was an anomaly, even for the rattler’s paradise that is the Southwestern US.

“This size, which we’d estimate at somewhere around 4.5 feet, is not especially rare,” Hughes said. “But larger than the average rattlesnake in Arizona and among the biggest we’ve captured this year of over 1,000 rattlesnakes. If I were to relate it to human sizes, this snake would be about 6’6″.”

“Something interesting is how often people overestimate the sizes of rattlesnakes, or snakes in general,” he continued. “Rattlesnakes are routinely reported to us as being 6 feet or more in length. But, when we arrive, we capture a snake that is only 2 or 3 feet long. Fear does some interesting things to our brains. In Arizona, rattlesnakes over 5 feet long are rare—over 6 feet is unheard of. This individual is among the largest anyone would possibly see in the state.”

To make this sighting even more uncommon, it occurred in November, when rattlesnakes are tucking themselves away in their dens for the winter. Hughes guesses, however, that this one was simply soaking up its last few rays before settling in.

“There is a misconception out there about what hibernation actually is, with an expectation that snakes sleep the entire winter away,” he said. “However, it’s not unusual to see one on the surface in the right conditions. With a rise in humidity or disturbance, a rattlesnake may come out briefly. This one was likely headed towards its winter den, which was likely in the backyard somewhere.”