Boy Freaks Out Restaurant Patrons by Bringing in Rattlesnake

Man alerts nearby police officer, who calls in Marin Humane Society to handle 4 1/2-foot rattler.

A 16-year-old boy was walking around Novato's Old Town area Wednesday with a lethal weapon and, according to several witnesses, didn't really have a clue about the danger.

The weapon was a rattlesnake — mature, 4 1/2-foot-long, 2-inch diameter rattlesnake. Yeah, that would be the venomous kind of snake.

An alarmed man saw the boy walk into restaurant on Grant Avenue at about 3:45 p.m. with the snake draped around his neck.

"At that point," said the man, who didn't want to be identified, "that made me real nervous."

"We were freaking out," said a Mi Pueblo employee. "We're thinking, how can somebody be carrying a snake into a restaurant? I actually had a nightmare about it last night."

The man, who said he had a lot of experience dealing with snakes, had been driving by when he spotted the boy walking down Grant Avenue near the restaurant and pulled over to inquire about it.

"When I saw the size of the snake, my jaw dropped," the man said. "I was sort of dumbstruck that this boy was walking around with a venomous snake. I actually asked him, 'Are you crazy?'"

The boy, filled with bravado and sporting a smile, looked to be gaining attention from his dangerous stunt, the man said. The boy was wearing motorcycling gloves and holding the head of the snake right behind the jaw with one hand and the snake's tail with the other hand as the snake's body wrapped around the boy's neck. 

"He was holding it the right way, but those gloves provided no protection at all," the man said. "And he was putting his finger in front of the snake's mouth, making its tongue come out."

The boy said he had found the snake on a trail and that his father knew about his new pet. "He said his mom didn't know about it," the man said. "When I told him it's illegal to be in possession of a venomous snake in California, he said he had no idea."

When the conversation ended, the man watched the boy walk into Mi Pueblo. The man then looked up Machin Avenue and saw a officer who had just walked outside the station and was getting into his cruiser just steps away from the restaurant. The man asked the officer to roll down his window and he told the officer what he'd seen.

"He was disbelieving, but he went down there and saw it for himself," the man said.

The snake was placed in a bag, and the officer called the , said Lt. Keith Heiden. Humane society publicist Carrie Harrington said the snake was relocated.

The Diggler May 30, 2012 at 04:31 PM
I guess you don't read a lot of Patch commentary.
cody rinkor May 30, 2012 at 05:04 PM
There was no need to say that. It's a shame to think that there are still people out there that think the way you do.
cody rinkor May 30, 2012 at 05:06 PM
Just because other people talk like that, it doesn't mean you need to encourage it.
Maggie May 30, 2012 at 05:13 PM
Again Cody, what gives you the RIGHT to steal animals from the wild? Now that snake has been relocated and if they didn't take it back exactly where you found it, then it's very possible the snake will die - the day you committed this kidnapping I went to a talk at MHS by David Herlocker, on rattlesnakes, and he is a true expert - he is Marin County's Open Space Naturalist - try going on a nature walk with him sometime so you can get educated. He is the one who stated that you must not relocate them more than 3/4 of a mile from where they were found. What you did shows arrogance and hubris and not a love of nature. Please channel your interest into actually HELPING animals, instead of stealing them for your own ego. Walking down the street with a snake is a sign of an ego that wants attention. There are so many places where you can help - WildCare has junior volunteers, there is a reptile rescue in Sonoma, MHS has junior volunteers, there are so many ways to HELP instead of harming wildilfe for your own amusement.
Pebes May 30, 2012 at 05:22 PM
Critter- I was thinking the same thing.
Pebes May 30, 2012 at 05:25 PM
I know who would have had a completely different response too, the #4 commentor would have been a tirade about "illegals" and what-not.
Maggie May 30, 2012 at 05:56 PM
Just because it's not illegal, doesn't make it right. Don't you want people to NOT take snakes out of the wild? That's why rescue group like yours exist, along with the people who buy them impulsively from stores, etc. How far do you relocate rattlers from where you found them?
cody rinkor May 30, 2012 at 05:58 PM
To Maggie, I'm not gonna lower myself to your level and get in a petty little argument with you. As I once heard someone else say, why don't you go hug a tree to feel better.
Mark Burnham May 30, 2012 at 05:59 PM
a story about a kid with a rattlesnake has now morphed in to "racist rattlesnacks attacking illegal immigrants"! amazing. fyi.. local news is also reporting that snakes have been profiling latinos in and around the hills of novato. causing to latinos leave in droves. now the racist rattlesnakes won't take the low paying jobs left in their wake. it has left a glut of minimum wage jobs for garter snakes and field mice. who of course are unqualified as they are simply snakes and mice.. hehehehe
MICHAEL GALLAGHER May 31, 2012 at 04:11 AM
How bout those Giants
krak krak May 31, 2012 at 08:05 PM
Cody, are you bringing a rattlesnake to the meeting?
krak krak May 31, 2012 at 08:05 PM
maybe you know my brother, krait krait?
krak krak May 31, 2012 at 08:07 PM
if the dining facility chef was adept, they might have offered a rattlesnake special on the lunch menu...
Laurie O. June 01, 2012 at 02:18 AM
Cody can bring a rattlesnake if he wants to, but that's usually my job, so leave the kid alone.
Novato Resident June 01, 2012 at 05:49 AM
Hopefully Cody will learn to leave creatures in their own home and unmolested... as he wouldn't like that treatment himself (nor would his parents).
Sara June 01, 2012 at 06:52 PM
Maggie @ 10:56 Wed May 30th, perhaps you've heard the phrase, "you catch more flies with honey than vinegar"? I understand your strong emotions regarding taking creatures out of their homes, especially when done for the sake of human ego, convenience, safety or entertainment. However, the situation is what it is: humans have used their ability to affect the natural world around them for tens of thousands of years. Sometimes for the good of the humans, sometimes for the good of the rest of Nature, sometimes neither sometimes both. Lambasting someone directly is likely to only evoke a defensive reaction; educating them is far more likely to have a lasting effect.
Sara June 01, 2012 at 06:55 PM
Reptiles that live-bear always strike me as having an amazing adaptation...probably based on a simplified early education that stated laying eggs was a criteria for being in the Class...
Maggie June 01, 2012 at 07:21 PM
Actually Sara, Cody and I have become friends on Facebook and had a dialogue, but thanks for the feedback. It's true, I'm very passionate about this issue and there's enough harm done by humans inadvertently (tree cutting, construction, car strikes, poison) to make me even more so when it's done just for fun!
Maggie June 01, 2012 at 07:30 PM
Males and females do not stay together after mating.
Maggie June 01, 2012 at 07:32 PM
Also Sara, it's funny how you took me to task for "lambasting" someone directly, but you did the same thing to Brent about this article!
AllTailNoLegs at Tumblr dot com June 07, 2012 at 11:21 PM
Sounds like you got it under control mom (I assume)! :) Do let him know that a lot of us snake owners understand his passion, but stupid stunts like this give all snake hobbyists a bad name and it hurts the reputation of us all. Bad publicity we desperately don't need, everyone hates/fears snakes already.
Alexandra Jex June 08, 2012 at 12:33 AM
OK at first I was like what kind of idiotic stunt did this kid pull. But then after reading the comments it seems as though he won't be doing that again and I also admired that he did have the snake under such control. It's great that this kid has some kind of passion at his age as most teenagers are out getting high and/or shooting each other. You guys are too hard on this kid. Thankfully no one got hurt but hello we have all made stupid mistakes before in life and have all made poor decisions at one point or another. So with that being said, no need to be so harsh on the kid. Personally if I lived where you all did and there were snakes on my property, he would be the first person I would call to help relocate it far away from me. However and luckily, I live in NYC and these things don't take place there.
don June 08, 2012 at 01:40 AM
hmm interesting indeed 16yr old caught a venomous snake from wild,now how about coming to Australia to catch a inland tiapan or even a Eastern brown snake. i am positive u won't catch them easily like a rattler...
Rae Grainger June 10, 2012 at 05:15 PM
I admit when I first was reading this article, I was incredibly angry, mostly because of the fact that unless one is a professional herpatologist, you shouldn't be handling venemous reptiles at ALL, let alone grabbing them from the wild. Cody, I commend you though, for stepping up and advocating that others shouldn't try it, and hopefully learning something about trying to wander about with venemous reptiles. While I haven't lived in Novato for years, its nice that others there like snakes as much as I do. I highly encourage you to check around your area for local herpatological societies and see about joining. In my neck of the woods, ours is a rescue and educational group and we take animals to schools and teach them about our beloved scaley friends. :)
Brittany Donaldson June 10, 2012 at 05:18 PM
I work with snakes on a daily basis and I've worked with reptiles since I was a little kid, I still don't have anything more venomous than a Western Hognose. If you want to keep venomous you should go through an apprenticeship with someone who already keeps them and know how to do it properly. I'm working towards getting a copperhead to use in educational presentations, I'm not sure I'll ever get anything more venomous than that and this is why: http://www.rattlesnakebite.org/rattlesnakepics.htm That's what happens from rattlesnake bites and an FYI for anyone who wants to go messing with them, insurance rarely covers it since a high % of bites are due to someone messing with it. You will be lucky if your medical bills will be under $100k.
choti singh June 10, 2012 at 05:50 PM
Cody I handled a lot of venomous snakes growing up in Zambia...caught wild ones all the time and drove my parents insane with worry. But that's the job of parents, to worry...I know, I am one now! Follow your passion, develp your dreams, study more...those who are curious and pursue knowledge are the one's who make changes in the world; not those naysayers who fear anything not on TV. Kudos to you kiddo....I hope to read more about you and what you achieve in the years to come! And to your parents....hang in there! He will grow and his frontal lobe will develop and he will understand consequences much better by the time he's in his early 20s...until then, cherish that you have a child who is intellectually alive!!
Michelle Lawrence June 10, 2012 at 09:34 PM
Cody seems to believe he had the situation totally under control the entire time. His youth doesn't allow him to see how this could have gone from a case of bad judgment to a legal case if anyone would have gotten hurt. You're lucky Cody, and hopefully will learn from this situation.
Natalie McNear June 11, 2012 at 06:12 PM
Hey Cody, Good to see you posting on here explaining the whole situation. As you surely know by now, bringing a rattlesnake into a restaurant (even if it's restrained) is not the wisest decision. Unfortunately, many people are misinformed about rattlers and snakes in general, and therefore tend to freak out when they see one. Our local species of rattler, the Northern Pacific Rattlesnake, is actually abundant in Marin County. However, they are so well-camouflaged and have generally inoffensive dispositions that most people don't see them. Contrary to what was stated above, it is not illegal to own native venomous snakes in California, and you don't need a fishing license to collect them as you do with other reptiles. Most towns and cities in Marin however, do have local ordinances that restrict ownership on such species. I'm an experienced field herper (like a birder, except we look for and photograph reptiles and amphibians) in Marin County and a friend of Laurie... She's a great person and has a wealth of knowledge about rattlesnakes, so you'll love meeting her and others who share your interest at the NBHS meeting. There are plenty of field herpers throughout the Bay Area who'd probably be happy to show you around a bit. I'm in Mississippi for the summer, but when I get back to California in August we could probably meet up and find some cool stuff. It's great to see teenagers with an interest in reptiles, and I hope you go on to study biology after high school.
Sara June 11, 2012 at 07:53 PM
Thank you, Maggie. I agree that if I'm going to say something like that, I should abide by it as well. I thought I was being constructive in both cases but perhaps I misjudged. Please don't take it as a personal attack, and if you did, I apologize. I value the health of Earth's ecosystem far more than may be apparent here.
Venomous Handler June 14, 2012 at 02:54 AM
No snakes mate for life and Rattlesnake do not lay eggs. they have live births of fully venomous babies.


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