A Bellevue woman is amazed and thankful to be safe Wednesday after discovering a five foot rattlesnake inside her garage
Barbara Peterson told Nashville's News 2 she initially heard the snake hissing in her storage area earlier in the week, but was unsure what the sound was.
A day later she heard it again, along with a rattling sound.
Barbara called a local pest control company who safely grabbed the unwelcome and potentially deadly guest the next day.
"I knew what to do when I heard it rattling," Peterson said.
"The hissing was right here," she said while showing Nashville's News 2 her garage storage area, added, "He was within striking distance of my leg."
Peterson said a snakeskin on the floor of the storage area was a telltale sign that she had a noisy, dangerous problem.
The company that came to Peterson's near a wooded area off Highway 70S and Old Hickory Boulevard said it's had an increase in calls to remove three timber rattlesnakes from Nashville homes.
"We have gotten three of them in the last month in the area," explained Michael Rossi, owner of Critter Control.
Critter Control employees said they think the increase of rattlesnakes this year is due to the rattlers moving out of their wooded habitat in an effort to find water sources in populated areas.
"I don't think we had one call last year," added Critter Control employee Wayne Barnes, who captured the snake in Peterson's garage.
Peterson said it is not uncommon for snakes to be seen in her Bellevue neighborhood.
"Our neighborhood has snakes," she said. "I just had not met one like that."
Peterson said she is relieved the snake has been removed. She said she considers the employees of Critter Control her "heroes."
The snake will be released into a wildlife area.
Last month, crews removed a more than five foot snake from a home in Hendersonville.
Cumberland University biology professor Danny Bryan said urban sprawl and dry weather are increasing the reptiles presence.
"Take a look at Nashville and how the area is just expanding out and of course you are expanding in to the territories of wildlife. The other thing is the dry weather," Bryan said.
He added that peak breading season is still a few months away.
"From July to August is peak breeding time for the female rattle snakes," Bryan explained.
Bryan said he recommends homeowners to remove bird feeders and birdbaths from their property, as well as keeping yards clear of debris and brush to decrease the chance of an unwanted visitor.
He also added that if a snake is found on your property to call professionals to get rid of it.
"If you take that snake out of its territory it will more than likely freeze to death in the winter," Bryan explained.
The professor added Timber rattlesnakes are a dying breed that need to be protected and that their venom is used to make several medications.