VIDEO: Chesapeake residents find large canebrake rattlesnake outside apartment complex

Posted at 2:31 PM, Aug 01, 2014

Chesapeake resident Mary Kay Stewart has posted a video to YouTube showing her husband and brother-in-law capturing a large canebrake rattlesnake in the bushes in front of their apartment building.

"I was like, 'Oh my gosh this is crazy,'" she says.

Her husband, Greg Stewart and his brother - who you see picking up the five foot rattler with his hands - wanted to get the snake out and back to a more wild habitat.

"We couldn't just leave it here,” Greg Stewart says. "There were other neighbors that were threatening to kill the snake. We didn't want to see that happen."

Mary Kay says she called the city of Chesapeake for help, but says workers told her to call pest control.

"You don't think of calling your maintenance people for a rattlesnake," she says.

While certainly a bit frightening, it's important to remember that these snakes are not uncommon in Southeastern Virginia and Northeastern North Carolina.

According to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, the canebrake rattlesnake is a protected species in Virginia that inhabits hardwood and mixed hardwood-pine forests, cane fields, and the ridges and glades of swampy areas in localized areas of southeastern Virginia.

The apartments where this particular snake was found are located in the Deep Creek section of the city, which backs up to the Great Dismal Swamp.

John Kleopfer tells NewsChannel 3 that this is a prime habitat for the snake and that since July-August is peak mating season, males will occasionally wander into housing areas while searching for a mate.

John also notes that the video is a good example of what not to do when you encounter one of these snakes.

He says that you should call the local animal control or the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.