WESLEY CHAPEL, Fla. - The diamondback rattlesnake is one of the deadliest snakes in the United States, and it can be found all over Florida.
Nonetheless, a Wesley Chapel family was surprised to find a rather large rattler in their backyard.
Their home in the Watergrass community backs up to a preserve area. People are used to being close to nature.
"We have the deers, the boars, all kinds of different animals," Samantha Pelletier said.
But Friday morning, Linda Pelletier found a critter of a different kind while working in her backyard.
"And I looked, I said, 'Oh my God,' and I eased and put my mulch down, and then I backed up really slowly because he looked like he was going to attack me," she said.
"As soon as I opened the door I immediately heard a rattle, said Samantha. "And I said. 'OK, this is not a good snake."
Coiled up in the yard was an eastern diamondback rattlesnake.
It only took AAAC Wildlife Removal of Tampa Bay a few minutes, using snake hooks, to capture the five-footer.
"That snake wasn't leaving," said owner Chris Wirt. "That snake set up under there and was coiled under there and was not gonna leave."
Chris and his associate, John Anderson, gave FOX 13 News a closer look at rattler.
The eastern diamondback is one of the deadliest snakes in the United States. Their bites are extremely painful.
Chris says the recent wet weather likely drove this rattlesnake to higher ground, and it appeared to have recently had a meal.
"It was actually sitting out in the sun to help it digest," he explained. "Because it's a cold-blooded animal they have to get their body temp up so they can digest properly."
The rattlesnake will now live the rest of its life in captivity, most likely at a venom lab helping to make anti-venin to treat snake bites.
There are six venomous snakes found across Florida, and four of them are fairly common in the Tampa Bay area, including the dusky pygmy rattlesnake. Chris discovered one about to slither into the Pelletier's garage as they were leaving Friday evening.
If you come across a snake, and aren't sure if it's dangerous or not, experts recommend giving it room and backing away.
"One of the things that we teach is a 30/30 method, stay 30-feet away for at least 30-minutes and it will usually leave," said Chris.
It could help you avoid a scaly, unwanted house guest.