Stuart Stevens was enjoying breakfast on the patio of his Jacks Valley home with his wife, Helen, when he went to inspect a sound he thought was a locust.
Instead, he found a rattlesnake.
"I turned around and saw it just in time. He was ready to let me have it," Stuart said Monday. "It was too close for me -- I really don't like them."
In the nearly 38 years they've lived in Jacks Valley, Helen said it is the biggest rattler they have seen.
"He was almost 3 feet long and had a wide girth," she said. "He'd obviously been feeding very well here."
The Stevenses called Douglas County Animal Control services but found the officers would not remove the invasive reptile. They took matters into their own hands, decapitating it with a shovel.
Carson City and Lyon County animal control officers say they will remove snakes from private property in their respective jurisdictions.
When it's in Lyon County, Nonie Higley responds to the call.
"I have no fear of snakes whatsoever," she said. "I grew up with a father who used to milk rattlesnakes."
She said snakes come out when it's hot, looking for cool and wet spots.
She advises people to call if they find a rattlesnake. But if it is a garter, blow or gopher snake, she said they can usually be chased off with a hose.
Although those snakes can bite, they are nonvenomous and it will feel more like a bee sting.
Above all, she advised, don't provoke them.
"Usually, a snake will not bother you if you just stay away from it," she said. "They will probably run away from you. They are very solitary creatures."
She also warned that a rattlesnake bite can be poisonous to dogs and other animals, cautioning owners to take their pets to the vet if they are bitten.
Tracy Edgar, office manager for Carson City Animal Services, said she has not received many calls about snakes but expects more in the coming month.
"If they know it's a rattler, they should call," he said. "If it's just a blow snake or a garter snake, they're good to have around. They take care of any rodent problem."
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