Dozens of Tangled Rattlesnakes Found Beneath Woman's House Floorboards

A California woman's worst fears were confirmed when a reptile rescue team pulled dozens of rattlesnakes from under her home. The Sonoma County resident called full-service wildlife rescue organization Sonoma County Reptile Rescue on October 2, after she began to suspect there were snakes nesting beneath her floorboards.

The group reported on its Facebook page that during a near four-hour rescue operation they rescued 22 adult snakes and 59 babies from the property.

And on a return visit to the home Alan Wolfe, the director of the reptile rescue team, removed a further seven snakes. That brings the total number of snakes taken from the property to 88.

Sonoma County Reptile Rescue will return to the property several times between now and October 15, to ensure no rattlesnakes have been left behind.

Wolfe added in the post: "there'll still be more there...very aware that they can come and go as they please, but I'm just giving them a new home somewhere else."

Wolfe identified the snakes as northern Pacific rattlesnakes. These reptiles, common to California, grow to about 3 feet long and are greenish-brown or greenish-grey in color. Like all rattlesnakes, they have wide, flat, heads.

The Burke Museum says the birthing season for these snakes, which live in dry areas such as rocky grasslands but avoid deserts, runs from late August to October.

Females have between 4 and 22 infants, and they will often gather together in a single den to give birth, possibly explaining why so many were found under this unnamed woman's home.

The snakes feed on small mammals and nesting birds, using venomous bites to kill their prey. This makes the northern Pacific rattlesnake, part of the viper family, highly venomous with bites that can induce intense pain, swelling, blistering, nausea, and vomiting in humans.

In extreme cases, the venom can impair blood coagulation and break down the red blood cells, leading to severe systemic symptoms like shock and organ damage. This can ultimately lead to death if untreated.

The snakes, which are generally nocturnal and one of the least aggressive rattlesnakes, will usually avoid contact with humans, but bites are not uncommon. Any bite by a northern Pacific rattlesnake should be treated as a medical emergency and in such situations the first six to eight hours are critical.

Patients with bites are treated with an anti-venom through intravenous injection, and also receive intravenous fluids to prevent them from becoming dehydrated.

The Sonoma Ecology Center says that fatalities resulting from northern Pacific rattlesnake bites are extremely rare, and most human victims are cleared to leave hospital after 24 hours.

However, this is unlikely to comfort many of the commenters on the Sonoma County Reptile Rescue post.

One wrote: "Ummmm where is this house located? Just hoping we aren't neighbors!"

Looking on the bright side, another Facebook user responded: "I bet they didn't have a rodent problem."

Northern Pacific Rattlesnake
A stock image of a northern Pacific rattlesnake. A snake rescue organization in Sonoma County recently rescued 88 snakes from beneath a woman's floorboards. yhelfman/Getty