WASHINGTON - A US family called in the snake-catchers when they caught a rattlesnake slithering out of their toilet bowl - only to find their home was infested with 23 more of the poisonous reptiles.
Professionals from Big Country Snake Removal found 13 snakes huddled in a storm cellar and another 10 underneath the house.
Altogether, there were 19 adult rattlers and five babies at the home in Abilene, Texas, and the family had no idea they were there.
The company posted photos on Facebook on Tuesday (Jan 31) detailing its find, with the post receiving more than 4,600 shares since then.
Young Isac Mcfadden had wanted to use the bathroom when he found the unwelcome surprise in the toilet bowl. The snake was apparently able to get inside through a relief pipe that Big Country Snake Removal later sealed, according to reports.
The little boy’s mother told her son to grab a shovel, and when he returned with the tool, she killed it.
Big Country's Nathan Hawkins was surprised to find a dead snake upon his arrival at the house, said CBS News, but he removed it from the toilet bowl and asked the family if he could do a quick house inspection to give them peace of mind. It was during this search that he discovered the other snakes.
Rattlesnakes are among four types of poisonous snakes found in North Texas, along with copperheads, cottonmouths and corals.
They are so-called because of the rattling sound their tails make.
Rattlesnakes are the main cause of death from snake bites in the US and emergency treatment is essential.
Most rattlesnake bites contain haemotoxic elements which damage tissue and affect the circulatory system by destroying blood cells, skin tissues and causing internal hemorrhaging, according to DesertUSA.
Hawkins encourages residents who encounter a snake to “leave it alone” and phone an expert.
“I would say 90 per cent of snake bites occur when someone’s trying to harm the snake,” Hawkins told CBS.
He is proud that his business does not kill any of the creatures they catch. Instead, he relocates the snakes or donates them to local colleges to study.
“I get to keep snakes alive that would typically end up with a gunshot wound,” Hawkins said.
In 2015, US snake owner Todd Fassler ended up with a US$153,000 medical bill after trying to take a selfie with a rattlesnake which bit him.