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5-foot rattlesnake may have hitched a ride under car from Texas to home in Louisiana

This large rattlesnake was captured by police in Harahan, Louisianna, in a family’s backyard.
This large rattlesnake was captured by police in Harahan, Louisianna, in a family’s backyard. Harahan Police Department photo

A 5-foot rattlesnake found under a family’s barbecue grill in Louisiana is suspected to have gotten there after hitching a ride on a vehicle in Texas, according to police in Harahan, south of New Orleans.

The Harahan Police Department reported Tuesday evening on Facebook that it “safely” captured the snake in the family’s backyard.

Helpful tips to avoid a surprise encounter with a rattlesnake and what to do if you're bit, from Scott Smith, who teaches about reptiles and amphibians. Know when they're active and how they judge danger.

Investigators told WDSU they think the snake crawled under a vehicle in Texas and may have remained unnoticed until the vehicle reached its destination in a Harahan.

“It was rattling and striking at the noose when I was trying to get it around the body of the snake,” Police Chief Keith Moody told the station. “A child or a pet could have came across it, stepped on it. ... It could have been a deadly encounter.”

Rattlesnakes are venomous, and reactions to a bite can range from hospitalization to death, as in the case of a Georgia woman bitten by a rattlesnake in May.

No one was bitten by the snake in Harahan, which some news outlets reported was 7 feet long. Police did not supply a size, but included multiple photos showing its length to be about the height of the van that picked it up.

Harahan resident Ronald Lee Puckett posted on Facebook a neighbor mowing his lawn first noticed the rattlesnake slithering between yards. Puckett wrote that he was immediately concerned, as the father of four boys, “three being between 6 and 7 years old.”

His comments were shared by police on Facebook.

“As I opened the curtain sure enough he (the snake) was stretched out making his way across our back porch,” Puckett posted. “He wound up under our BBQ pit... I’ve never in my life seen a rattlesnake here in Harahan.”

Like the police, Puckett believes the snake is from Texas and was out of its element in the neighborhood, despite rattlesnakes being native to the South.

“(The) guy behind me supposedly drove home from Texas last night, after seeing it crawl up in his rear wheel and disappeared around his gas tank,” Puckett posted on Facebook. “I’m assuming he thought it was a bright idea to drive here and not tell anyone about it. Good thing one of my kids didn’t get hit with it.”

TV station WDSU reports the captured snake was released in the Barataria Preserve Woods, which is on the opposite side of the Mississippi River from Harahan.

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