Man Frees Deadliest Rattlesnake in the U.S. From Netting

A man got up close and personal with the deadliest rattlesnake in the U.S., the lethal mojave, after one was caught in netting.

The snake is described by the Encyclopedia Britannica as the "most dangerous" in the country, with their venom attacking the nervous system "more strongly than that of other rattlesnakes."

It's needle-esque fangs deliver a potent injection of "lethal venom that can either shut down your body or tenderize your insides," according to Science Daily.

The serpent is commonly found in central Mexico and the deserts of the southwest, which is where Rattlesnake Solutions, owned by Bryan Hughes, is based.

Hughes, who runs the snake removal service from Arizona, has had to free at least two snakes trapped in bird netting in as many months, sharing the dangerous removals to TikTok and YouTube.

"I have another mojave rattlesnake caught in bird netting... and I need to get it out. Just like the last one, it's not going to be fun. It's a little less tangled up, but still, if I don't get it out it's going to die. And I need to do this without losing any of my fingers. I still got all ten, so let's see how it goes," he says.

He lays out his tools, a plastic tube, a pincher and long scissors, explaining "I like how long they are," as it gives him "reach."

Hughes films the deadly snake, noting it's "very much caught in this netting."

"Ironically I have to free the head first to get it into the tube... in the meantime this is not a good situation," he notes.

As he begins by trying to free the head, he spots its lower jaw is extremely tangled, saying "that's bad," as he speculates the lower jaw may even be broken.

While snipping away at the mesh, Hughes explained why he uses these specific tools, saying: "The reason I don't use a traditional grip that you would on a tube, is because this stuff can get my fingers caught up in it very easily.

Bryan Hughes freeing a mojave.
Bryan Hughes freeing a mojave. The snake expert carefully freed the lethal serpent, which is America's deadliest snake. @rattlesnakesaz

"And if my fingers are in this netting, and the snake decides to move, then I am suddenly trapped in the netting with him, and that is not a good place for your fingers to be."

He assured viewers he wasn't "pushing down hard" on the tube, adding the scissors weren't cutting the animal. The blood, he claimed, probably came from the snake's mouth after being injured by the netting.

After successfully freeing it, Hughes confirmed the snake was going to stay and "rest" for a while before being released into the wild.

The YouTube caption went into further detail, saying: "The netting had cut into the skin and created a few small cuts inside the snake's mouth, but I was able to work it free. After it stays with us for a few days in warm, dry area to make sure it's ok, it will be driven back to its home range to be released."

The final part of the snake rescue was shared to the site on Saturday, with the four videos amassing more than 160,000 views in total.

Hughes' original video, shared in July, amassed more than 21 million views, and can be seen here. He captioned it: "Rescuing a Mojave Rattlesnake from bird netting—the most dangerous part of my job."

Similarly it starts out with the creature making its infamous rattle, as Hughes sets to work snipping away at the plastic, which also has twigs and debris tangled in it.

The head is in a plastic tube, keeping the deadly fangs contained, as Hughes diligently frees the snake piece by piece.

He theorizes the snake may have been tangled for some time, noting: "Some of this netting may have been on here for days at this point.

"It's possible you might see a little bit of blood when I'm doing this, that's ok, that's not from the scissors, that's from the stuff cutting."

After having to free two snakes from netting, Hughes shared a reminder for local residents, saying: "If you use bird netting to keep animals out of the garden, please consider that it also kills a variety of small animals. I know many don't like snakes and don't care, but that list also includes birds of all types, harmless snakes that you may find beneficial, bats, lizards, and small mammals like kangaroo rats."

Speaking to Newsweek, he confirmed the absence of the rattle didn't mean the snake was happy.

He said: "It might look like the snake is relaxing once it realizes it's being helped, but it's almost certainly not that. The snake is highly stressed and likely in some amount of pain, and it just doesn't need to rattle. It will off and on, but this is typical behavior for any rattlesnake.

"It might be accurate to say that the removal of mesh feels good to the snake, like a relief, but I can assure you that this snake was every bit as willing to bite me after it was completely free as any other. This is a good sign, actually, that the snake is behaving normally and can be released back to the wild.

Hughes explained mojaves have an "undeserved" reputation of being aggressive, which isn't necessarily true.

"If I hear a silly story about a snake doing something that clearly didn't happen, like chasing someone around or popping a truck tire, it's usually credited to a Mojave. This even happens in areas where this species doesn't even live—it's interesting how this animal fits in with our culture. It's like a mythological monster that's based on a real animal, and stories about them should always be taken with a grain of salt," he added.

Commenting on his most viral video, people were in awe of his calm demeanor when handling such a deadly animal.

"I'd be traumatized from just touching its scaly body," Val wrote.

Ilikecats commented: "Well done. I have a python and she is my pride and joy. Nice to see someone else show compassion towards a snake."

While Beans praised: "It actually stopped throwing a threat when it felt the binding being released, thank you sir."

Alieneze admitted: "Bro, I love animals and helping them and all, but I wouldn't ever be able to get that close to a danger noodle. Snakes and spiders are not my forte."

Update 8/16/21, 11 a.m. ET: This article was updated with videos and pictures from Hughes.

Update 8/17/21, 3 a.m. ET: This article was updated with comment from Hughes.