Giant rattlesnake discovered in Alpine backyard

Posted at 5:34 PM, Apr 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-21 22:18:33-04

An Alpine neighborhood is buzzing after a giant rattlesnake was discovered in the backyard of a home.

The homeowner told 10News a gardener found the five-foot-long snake on Wednesday and killed it with a shovel before it could harm anyone.

Evelyn Lancaster said while the size of the snake was a shock, it didn't surprise her.

"When we've seen them along the house; they've been stretched out … I believe in Darwin's theory, if they come into our yard and if they're out when we're out, then if we see them they're not leaving."

Lancaster said she and her husband have killed 18 snakes in their yard. Neighbors have caught or killed at least four.

"Two years ago was a real bumper year for us," she told 10News.

Lancaster said one young girl thought a snake was a jump rope jump and nearly reached down to pick it up.

The close calls and encounters with the snakes come with the territory, but it has the neighborhood talking.

Lancaster said, "You know, the one-year-olds, they get one little nib for every year, but they don't make a lot of noise."

Their lack of noise makes it difficult for people and pets to hear, but that's not the only thing that makes the baby rattlesnakes so much more dangerous.

"They don't control the sacks, so when they bite they empty the sacks," said Lancaster.

Adult rattlesnakes give just enough venom to kill their prey.

"You know, they really haven't hibernated this year because it's been so warm," Lancaster pointed out.

Experts say rattlesnake season usually starts in March or April when the weather warms up and they come out of hibernation.