Rattlesnake surprises Brighton man in his garage

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The venomous eastern massasauga rattlesnake is a rare sight for most residents, but one was found in a man's garage.

A Brighton Township man said he "screamed like a little girl" when he encountered what he believes was an eastern massasauga rattlesnake in his garage. 

On Wednesday, Bob Kakaley came home from work about 3:30 p.m. As usual, he opened the garage door and walked through to enter the house, which is on Aberdeen Lane, just east of U.S.-23. 

A few minutes later, he left the garage door open and headed to Kroger to fill a honey-do list for his wife, Carolyn. 

When he returned and began stacking the pop he'd purchased in its usual place in the garage, he was greeted by the snake. 

 

 

 

 

“All of a sudden, this thing started rattling at me,” Kakaley said, noting the snake was coiled about six inches from his hand with its head raised “like a cobra would.” 

“I screamed like a little girl and ran to the front door and started pounding on it,” he said. “My wife inside, she thought I fell or something because she heard me scream."

"Yeah, I don’t like snakes," he laughed.

The couple went inside and quickly looked online for some direction, then decided to call 9-1-1. 

rattlesnake-surprises-brighton-man-in-his-garage photo 1

Michigan State Police Trooper Christopher McIntosh scoops what's believed to be an eastern massasauga rattlesnake into a box at a Brighton Township home Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017. (Photo: Jennifer Kakaley)

Michigan State Police Trooper Christopher McIntosh responded to the call and, after making a few phone calls, decided he'd have to take matters into his own hands. 

McIntosh could not immediately be reached for comment, but Kakaley said the trooper used an old weed whacker box to push the snake against the wall and into the box, then pulled a pillowcase over the top to keep the snake inside. 

Kakaley said the trooper told him he would release the snake away from the residential area. A marshy area, prime massasauga habitat, separates Kakaley's property from U.S.-23. 

"He asked me if I wanted my box or my pillow case back," Kakaley said. "I said 'Nope, you can keep them.'"

"He was an awesome cop," Kakaley added. "He handled the situation quite well." 

Hannah Schauer, a communications coordinator for the DNR's wildlife division, said the photo provided by Kakaley to the Livingston Daily appears to be an eastern massasauga rattlesnake. 

"I can't say for certain because I cannot see the head or the tail, but the markings on the body do look consistent with a massasauga rattlesnake," Schauer said, noting while no other species of rattlesnakes inhabit Michigan, other snakes can mimic a rattlesnake. 

"Other snakes will wiggle or vibrate the tips of the tail....to scare away potential predators, but it will not have the distinctive rattle," she said. 

According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources website, the eastern massasauga,  Michigan's only venomous snake, can be found throughout the lower peninsula, but tend to avoid confrontation with humans and are thus a rare sight for most residents.

The snakes possess a potent venom and can easily puncture skin with their short fangs, but are not prone to strike unless confronted by a potential predator.

In September 2016, the eastern massasauga rattlesnake received federal protection as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. 

Contact reporter Laura Colvin at 517-552-2848 or lcolvin@livingstondaily.com or follow her on Twitter: @LauraColvin22

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