Two Giant Rattlesnakes Caught in Florida at Cop's Home

Two "huge" rattlesnakes were caught on camera lurking in the front yard of a cop's house in South Florida.

Husband and wife snake-catching duo Rhett and Taylor Stanberry attended the property in Estero, Lee County, on January 16, they told Newsweek. The pair remove and relocate snakes in the region.

The Stanberrys estimated that the two eastern diamondback rattlesnakes—a male and female—measured around 4 feet and 5.5 feet in length respectively.

Eastern diamondback rattlesnakes caught in Florida
Eastern diamondback rattlesnakes removed from a property in South Florida. Eastern diamondbacks are the largest rattlesnake species and one of the heaviest known species of venomous snake. Rhett Stanberry/Taylor Stanberry

Native to the southeastern United States, eastern diamondbacks are the largest rattlesnake species and one of the heaviest known venomous snakes.

Eastern diamondbacks grow to an average of 3-6 feet in length and a weight of 2-4 pounds, figures from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) show. The largest specimens can reach 8 feet in length and weigh up to 10 pounds.

These snakes have brown, tan or yellow skin with brown diamonds along their back that have a cream outline.

The "giant" snakes found together outside the cop's house in Estero were a breeding pair, the Stanberrys said.

"It's a male and female found together during breeding season and the homeowner sent us a photo of them courting each other which means they were breeding," they told Newsweek.

After arriving at the property, the snake catchers managed to safely capture the serpents, which were hiding below a hedge, using snake hooks.

"They're just out this time of year looking to breed," Rhett Stanberry said in a YouTube video posted to the pair's Tobie's Troop channel. "They've been crawling around looking for a nice cozy place to nestle up."

The female even appeared to have a "big meal" in its stomach, probably a rabbit, he said.

Once the snake catchers had captured the two snakes, they placed them in a box and took them to a safe location in the wild to safely release them.

"We're taking them away from the neighborhood and now we're going to let them go into this perfect rattlesnake habitat," Rhett Stanberry said in the video. "There's a cypress forest, there's pine trees on the other side."

"We want to release them in the same area in case they still have some more business to finish," he said.

As the female snake slithered away into the forest, he said the serpent was one of the biggest rattlesnakes that the pair had caught.

"Look at that beast. Holy smokes," he said. "That is a giant rattlesnake. Every time I think we caught a big one we catch a bigger one. What a cool snake."

This was only the second time the snake catchers had received a call involving a breeding pair. "That was awesome," Rhett Stanberry said.

In the video, Taylor Stanberry said they had arrived just in time to save the rattlesnakes. A lawn crew had also just arrived with weed whackers, potentially to try and kill or harm the serpents.

The Stanberrys said this has been a "crazy" rattlesnake relocation season so far, "with more and more huge rattlesnakes showing up."

The large number of sightings can be explained by increasing development in South Florida, they said. Rattlesnakes and other species are being displaced as a result and turning up in residential areas such as this.

"The increasing development on the rattlesnake habitat is a huge reason as to why we are seeing them more frequently because they are running out of hiding spots," they told Newsweek.

These snakes can inflict a painful bite, which can be fatal to humans in severe cases. But rattlesnakes would generally prefer to flee encounters with humans so if you come across one, it is recommended to give the animal space to slither away.

"We get called from all around South Florida to catch and relocate venomous snakes from situations where they may pose a threat to people or pets, and it is often unsafe for the snakes themselves to live around human habitation," the pair wrote in the description for the YouTube video.

"Rattlesnakes, while they can be scary if you're unfamiliar with them, are not aggressive, they do not seek out humans, they are shy and reclusive and often live in areas near people for a long time without anyone ever knowing."

Eastern diamondback rattlesnakes are also an important part of the ecosystem in South Florida, not least because they help to control rodent populations. These snakes eat several types of mice, rats, squirrels and rabbits. They have been documented eating prey weighing as much as 85 percent of their own body weight.

"It is important to keep what ecosystems we have left, intact and functioning," the Stanberrys said in the YouTube description.

Eastern diamondbacks are one of six venomous snake species found in Florida—alongside dusky pygmy rattlesnakes, timber rattlesnakes, cottonmouth water moccasins, coral snakes and copperheads.