Reptile rescue leader retrieves nearly 100 snakes from Santa Rosa home

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Ninety-two Northern Pacific rattlesnakes were saved by the Bay Area reptile rescue leader from a residence in Santa Rosa early this month.

Last Oct. 2, Sonoma County Reptile Rescue director Al Wolf responded to a call saying that rattlesnakes thrive underneath a home in Santa Rosa. Wolf has been rescuing reptiles for over three decades through the group.

The leader went to the home to find an adult rattlesnake and many of its babies beneath the home. He headed to secure more tools after he got a “special smell” of rattlesnake defecation.

Equipped with safety gloves, snake-grabber equipment, and two separate buckets where the adult and baby snakes will be placed, Wolf went back to the dark.

“I’m in there with a flashlight… and check every nook and cranny before you can move forward,” he shared. “It was a lot of physical work for several hours, breathing dirty, dusty, crummy stuff. Moving things aside to make a pathway back, and carefully checking, double-checking where things might come out of. That was the last 40 minutes: double-checking areas.”

He spent almost four hours in the dark – crawling using his belly and knees while also working around rocks. Finally, he was able to rescue 22 adults and 59 baby rattlesnakes.

The search continued for two other times when he came back again to the same home and rescued 11 more venomous snakes.

According to him, the recent rescue gave him the most number of snakes in just one home. He usually rescues one up to three snakes, and 12 at most, in other incidents.

“I was tickled pink,” he told The Chronicle. “It’s what I like to do, and I generally get a call and find one, maybe two rattlesnakes. But when you start finding stuff like this, I think, ‘Oh good, this is a really worthwhile call.’”