When young Isac Mcfadden of Abilene, Texas, got up to use the bathroom recently, he found an unexpected surprise in the toilet.
But he knew the “clump” wasn’t the sort to handle on his own, so he called for his mom.
“I found this big clump and I knew it was (a) snake,” he told the local CBS affiliate WTSP.
Not just any snake. A western diamondback rattlesnake, one of the most dangerous species in the US.
The boy’s mother took a shovel and killed the unwelcome toilet explorer. But the family also called Big Country Snake Removal, just to make sure the issue was taken care of.
As Nathan Hawkins, the owner of the snake-removal business, found out shortly after he arrived, 23 more of the rattlesnakes were nearby. Thirteen were hiding out in a cellar, and 10 were under the house, including five babies.
On the Big Country Snake Removal Facebook page, the team explained how so many of the creatures could be there and escape notice: “It’s actually quite simple; rattlesnakes are secretive and can be very cryptic — They rely heavily on their camouflage. This is simply how they survive. Just because you don’t see them doesn’t mean they aren’t there…”
With the proper tools, as the Big Country team told Business Insider via Facebook, such snakes can be removed without killing them, and the team was able to do just that for the remaining snakes at the Mcfadden abode.
In general, Hawkins told CBS News, snakes can be relocated to safer locations or donated to schools, where they can be studied.
Western diamondbacks tend to gather in dens during the winter to keep warm, which is why he knew to keep looking even after the Mcfaddens had disposed of the first one.
In these cases, calling an expert is always a good idea. Inexperienced people who try to kill a snake more likely to be bitten, Hawkins said.
“They’re actually very, very amazing creatures that are really misunderstood,” Hawkins told CBS.