National

What’s worse than 5-foot rattlesnake loose in the yard? A second one that’s pregnant

Jonathan Sparks is shown here with the biggest of the two rattlesnakes caught in a yard in Hardin County, Tennessee.
Jonathan Sparks is shown here with the biggest of the two rattlesnakes caught in a yard in Hardin County, Tennessee. Sparks Wildlife Control & Land Management photo

A Tennessee homeowner who wanted a snake gone from the yard this month turned out to have a much bigger problem than anticipated.

Two timber rattlesnakes were found, neither of which was average, according to reptile wrangler Jonathan Sparks, who responded to the call.

One was nearly 5 feet long — considered the maximum size of a timber rattler in Tennessee — and as big around as Sparks’ beefy forearms.

As for the other one, it was not only big at 54 inches, but it was very, very pregnant, says Sparks, who operates Sparks Wildlife Control & Land Management.

“The ‘creme de la creme’ of Tennessee pit vipers and toxicity wise is the most dangerous snake in our state,” Sparks posted on Facebook, with a photo of himself trying to put the larger snake into a bucket. “This particular rattlesnake was a whopping 58” (nearly 5 ft) female with a head nearly the size of my fist. An absolutely beautiful snake.”

A North Carolina couple stepped out of a restaurant Tuesday just in time to see a non-venomous water snake using the dock as a dinner table. "It's not something you see every day," said John Carney Edwards.

The two were found outside a home in Hardin County, 115 miles east of Memphis. Sparks, who is an admirer of rattlesnakes, says he spared the lives of both “awesome” females and relocated them to a similar environment in the same area.

“We’ll be installing a snake fence around the perimeter of this client’s backyard,” he added on Facebook.

The property homeowner, who was not identified, got lucky.

Timber rattlers are not only the “the largest, and the most dangerous of the 4 venomous snakes in Tennessee,” but females give “live birth” to as many as 14 young at a time, according to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.

So those two rattlesnakes in the yard were destined to become as many as 16 in a matter of weeks.

Related stories from Kansas City Star

  Comments