Woman probing cactus in Arizona yard pulls out two diamondback rattlesnakes at once

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·2 min read

Rattlesnake catchers don’t like surprises, but that’s what happened to Marissa Maki when she started poking around a cactus.

Venomous snakes had been seen in an Arizona family’s yard, and video shows Maki found them in a most unexpected way.

She stuck a pair of tongs deep into a pink cactus and pulled the tool out seconds later with two very excited snakes writhing from the grip.

They were western diamondback rattlesnakes, each one nearly 3 feet long. Maki was surprised, but she kept her head, the video shows.

“I thought I had just one and then I somehow got both the snakes. It was pretty awesome,” Maki told McClatchy News. “I’ve never done that before and I was excited. I wish I could say I planned that, but it was pure accident.”

Video of her “double grab” has been viewed more than 7,200 times since being posted by Maki’s employer, Rattlesnake Solutions, an Arizona-based snake relocation service. Some have called it more “crazy” than cool, given Maki was dodging two sets of fangs at once.

It happened March 23 in the Gold Canyon area southeast of Phoenix. The homeowners had reported seeing rattlesnakes in the front yard, calling Rattlesnake Solutions out of fear the reptiles would eventually encounter their recently acquired puppy.

Western diamondback rattlesnakes live to 20 years and average 3 to 5 feet in Arizona, though some have been known to reach 7 feet, according to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.

The two snakes Maki caught were happily coiled up at the base of the cactus and clearly annoyed (lots of rattlings) when Maki interrupted their quality time.

They were placed in a bucket together and eventually relocated to a large pack rat nest in the desert, which is standard procedure for Rattlesnake Solutions. The company captured and relocated 1,500 snakes last year and expects to do “slightly more” this year.

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