One homeowner living in Estero’s Stoneybrook community found a pair of huge rattlesnakes this week, and a married duo of snake wranglers had to take them away.
Taylor and Rhett Stanberry, who in December caught an albino boa constrictor in Naples, went out to remove the eastern diamondbacks, a species of rattlesnake not uncommon in Florida. The whole procedure was caught on video.
“She’s got a big meal in her tummy—she ate a bunny, look at this,” Rhett Stanberry said in the video, over occasional screams from off camera. “She’s probably got a rabbit in her stomach. That’s a nice one. Look at this! You could almost pet it. Yeah, this is a big old female, nice.”
Scott Flavelle with Scott’s Animal Services got the initial call about the rattlesnakes. He called the Stanberrys because they have the necessary licenses for catching venomous snakes. The Stanberrys say the yard was not right next to the woods, but across the street from them, so the snakes traveled farther. Once they had been wrangled, the pair took them back to the woods and let them go, saving the homeowner the hassle.
Two eastern diamondback rattlesnakes removed from a front lawn in Estero. Credit: Rhett and Taylor Stanberry
“He was very surprised, and he was just happy that we could get there and catch the snakes,” Rhett said. “Even though he was nervous, he was still like, ‘They’re really beautiful, and they’re really cool. We’re so glad you could help us out.’”
“The most we could ask is, you don’t have to like snakes or want them in your yard; just respect them and call someone like us to come and move them for you,” Taylor said. “You don’t need to kill them.”
The Stanberrys say you will see more snakes around this time of year because it’s cooler at night and the snakes will come out to warm up in the sun.
What should you do if you find what you think is a venomous snake in your yard? First, identify it. The Stanberrys recommended a Facebook group called What Kind of Snake is It Florida, in which you post pictures and receive an identifying comment within minutes. There is also the Florida Museum’s snake ID guide.
If a snake is not venomous, try to leave it be. If you’re unsure, you can call a professional.