Linda Hamlin is used to rattlesnakes in her backyard.
“When we bought this lot 10 years ago, my husband pulled me aside and told me, ‘You’re going to see a lot of rattlesnakes — can you live with rattlesnakes?’” she told McClatchy during a phone interview Saturday.
In the 10 years that the couple has lived on the property that backs up to Albuquerque’s Petroglyph National Monument, though, she said she’s never seen one as big as the one she saw Tuesday. Albuquerque’s KRQE first reported on the snake and its removal Thursday.
“I’m a live-and-let-live type of person,” she said. “That’s part of the experience of living here — is enjoying the bunnies and the desert rats and the roadrunners. You’ve just got to live and let live. But what really alarmed me about this one was the size.”
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She decided she couldn’t let the rattler that slithered up to the glass sliding door on her back porch stay. She said she spotted the scaly 5-footer at about 12:30 p.m., which is unusual, even for desert-dwellers like her and her husband of 31 years, Steve.
“When we see them, it’s usually very early in the morning, or very late in the afternoon,” Hamlin said. “And they’re usually about two, two-and-a-half feet.”
And what’s more, she said, the school bus would be dropping kids off in her neighborhood just a couple hours after she saw it wiggling around in her bushes. She said she didn’t want one of the children to cross paths with it.
So this time, she called Albuquerque Animal Welfare services. She posted video on Instagram that shows one officer wrangling what Hamlin called the “beautiful animal,” pulling it out of the brush with a grabber and depositing it safely into a ventilated bucket. Her Instagram post refers to the snake as a “4’ monster,” but she said animal control officers later told her it was actually 5 feet long.
What the video doesn’t show is that by the time the animal control officers arrived, the snake had made its way into a gopher hole, KRQE reported, and the officers had to flush it out with a hose.
“I was shaking,” Hamlin said. “That snake was as long as she [the officer] was. It was longer than any other one I’ve seen in this neighborhood.”
Albuquerque Animal Welfare spokesman Adam Ricci told KRQE that the department gets one or two rattlesnake calls per day this time of year.
“What I noticed out of it is the girth of the snake,” Ricci said, according to the station. “I mean that’s a really big rattlesnake.”