Massive Diamondback Rattlesnake Hides in a Home’s Front Doorway

Written by Sharon Parry
Updated: August 30, 2023
© Almeida
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Key Points:
  • The timber rattlesnake, the eastern diamond rattlesnake and the dusky pygmy rattlesnake are native to Florida.
  • Rattlesnakes prefer to hide and hunt in their natural habitat, though one could enter a home if there are openings in the foundation or a rodent infestation.
  • Rattlesnakes are exothermic (cold-blooded), so they need to bask to raise their body temperature to a level where their metabolism works correctly.

Rattlesnakes are something that you want to keep a wide berth of and most of us would avoid them if we can, so what do you do if one has settled down right outside your front door? This is exactly the dilemma facing a Stuart, Florida resident and she didn’t even know it was there! Luckily, a neighbor of hers spotted the snake and called her to alert her to the unwelcome visitor.

She, very sensibly, called the Martin County Animal Control and they quickly turned up to assist with the crisis. Tabitha Queen, one of the officers, explains that they found the snake basking on the welcome mat. It looked like it was settled in for the day rather than passing through so it definitely needed to be relocated.

Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake Close Up
Eastern diamondbacks are the largest snake found in Florida.


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Rattlesnakes are found in many parts of Florida. The timber rattlesnake, the eastern diamond rattlesnake and the dusky pygmy rattlesnake are native to this area. These snakes do not go looking for trouble and will try to avoid humans. However, if you step on one accidentally, they could easily bite you and inject them with venom.

Rattlesnake venom can be fatal for humans so this lady had a lucky escape. The venom damages tissue and affects blood circulation. It causes internal bleeding and the effects are apparent almost immediately. Medical help should be received within 30 minutes.

If she had come out of her front door in a hurry she could have easily stepped on the snake. She admits that she was shaken up by the incident and that it took her hours to calm down.

Because rattlesnakes are exothermic (cold-blooded), they need to bask to raise their body temperature to a level where their metabolism works correctly. It’s just a shame that this particular snake chose a front doorstep, although this is not unusual. There are plenty of reports of snakes being spotted on paths and in yards and at certain times of the year.

In this startling footage, we see the snake being moved into a secure plastic canister – but it is not very happy about it! It takes two officers and a powerful set of pinchers (snake tongs) to complete the job. Meanwhile, the resident is filming the whole thing from safely inside her home. We learn that the snake was taken about a mile away and released into a rattlesnake-friendly habitat. Rattlesnakes like to live in open, rocky areas. The rocks provide them with shelter from predators.

These areas are also usually rich in prey for them with plenty of insects, rodents, and lizards. However, you can also find rattlesnakes in marshes, deserts, and forests. Their preferred temperature range is between 80 and 90 degrees F.

Do Rattlesnakes Normally Try To Enter Houses?

Although this Floridian had a close call, she and the rest of us should not worry too much about finding rattlesnakes inside our homes. Though it is possible for one to enter a house, especially if there are openings in the foundation or a rodent infestation, research has shown that rattlesnakes much prefer to hunt and hide in a natural environment. In addition to foundation maintenance and pest control, trimming weeds and clearing debris near decks and patios is recommended to dissuade rattlesnakes from getting comfortable in your space.

How Long Do Rattlesnakes Live?

The lifespan of these pit vipers depends on whether they happen to be living in the wild or in captivity.

rattlesnake poised to strike
Rattlesnakes can live for up to 30 years in captivity

©Maria Dryfhout/

When out in the wild, rattlesnakes are capable of living for as long as 15 – 20 years.

However, in captivity, they can live for as long as 30 years, a decade more than they would normally live otherwise, owing to being sheltered from predators and the elements, as well as being provided with a steady supply of food.

Further, the majority of rattlesnake species remain relatively stable, there is one species and one subspecies that have received federal recognition as threatened. Unfortunately, rattlesnakes face a vulnerability as they are often targeted and killed by individuals who perceive them as dangerous nuisances rather than recognizing their ecological importance as predators.

Additionally, snakes that mimic rattlesnakes, such as gopher snakes, are sometimes mistakenly killed due to incorrect identification.

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About the Author

Sharon has a Ph.D. in Public Health but has spent the last decade researching and writing about all things connected with animal health and well being. As a life-long animal lover, she now shares her family home with three rabbits, a Syrian hamster, and a very energetic Cocker Spaniel but in the past she has also been a Mom to Guinea Pigs and several cats!She has a passion for researching accurate and credible information about pets and reviewing products that make pet owners' lives a bit easier. When she isn't checking out new pet products she's trekking around the Welsh mountains and beaches with her dog - although she lets her husband and her three grown up daughters tag along sometimes if they are lucky!

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