Nearly 100 snakes pulled from den under Santa Rosa home


No, but there was definitely a movie-worthy number of snakes living under a house in Santa Rosa, a town in California Wine County 60 miles north of San Francisco.

Al Wolf, director of Sonoma County Reptile Rescue, responded to an Oct. 2 call from a woman who said a snake was under her house.

Al Wolf of Sonoma County Reptile Rescue posed with a snake in 2019. On October 2, he recovered nearly 100 snakes from a hole under a Santa Rosa home.

Al Wolf of Sonoma County Reptile Rescue posed with a snake in 2019. On October 2, he recovered nearly 100 snakes from a hole under a Santa Rosa home.

Al Wolf

On the first visit, Wolf found 59 newborn babies and 22 adults, as well as a dead cat and a dead possum.

On two follow-up visits, Wolf wrangled 11 more adults.

“I’ve been doing this for 32 years,” said Wolf, who runs Sevastopol-based nonprofit offering wildlife rescue and relocation. “I get calls with snakes under the house very often. Most of what I did under a house is four or five.”


Wolf noted that he saw holes the size of the one under the Santa Rosa house in the wild, but never in an urban area.

All snakes were North Pacific clamps, the only venomous snake found in Northern California. Southern California has another seven species of venomous snakes, Wolf said. The North Pacific is not aggressive unless provoked.

When Wolf first went under the house, he quickly found seven snakes and returned to his car to find special gloves.

Crawling on his hands and knees and even on his stomach at times, Wolf flips over rocks and scans the area for three hours and 40 minutes to retrieve all the snakes.

“Exciting” is the word Wolf used to describe the situation and the moment when he first realized he was coming over a pit.

“You go under the first part of the house and there’s storage and then it goes to the area that’s tight and you have to pull through it and you can smell the rattlesnake smell,” he says. “It’s the smell of the throws. I got in, and I smell that and it’s like when you smell popcorn and you go ‘Oh!’ Right away, I knew I could have something special and I hoped … and occasionally hoped that you would come true. “

Sonoma County reptile rescue on October 2 found nearly 100 snakes in a hole under a Santa Rosa home.

Sonoma County reptile rescue on October 2 found nearly 100 snakes in a hole under a Santa Rosa home.

Al Wolf

Wolf does not kill the snakes he recovers from human property, and these were released overnight in areas where there are no people. He said he also often brings the snakes to ranches where the owners ask them for pest control.

The location of the Santa Rosa house was unique as the house was built on top of a rocky area and access from the area under the outer foundation was left open, creating a snake-like environment.

“It was obviously their den site,” he said. “They had access to travel in and out and get food.”

Sonoma County reptile rescue on October 2 found nearly 100 snakes in a hole under a Santa Rosa home.

Sonoma County reptile rescue on October 2 found nearly 100 snakes in a hole under a Santa Rosa home.

Al Wolf

Wolf was impressed by the owner, who he said was calm about the situation.

“He told me,‘ Now I know why I haven’t had any rats all these years, ’” he said.

Wolf plans to return home once again this month and again in the spring.

He said: “This lady was not afraid of them.” “He doesn’t mind having them there. There were just a couple too many.”

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