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California Man Receives Live Rattlesnake in Mail, Suspects Attempted Murder

rattlesnake in mail
Images via depositphotos.

In a bizarre and potentially deadly incident, a Southern California truck driver discovered a live rattlesnake inside a package delivered to him, leading him to believe that someone attempted to kill him. The unsettling delivery prompted a swift response from authorities and has sparked an ongoing investigation.

Discovery of the Live Rattlesnake

eastern diamond back rattlesnake – crotalus adamanteus – coiled in defensive strike pose with tongue out. . Image via depositphotos

On May 16, 60-year-old truck driver Elijah Bowles from Twentynine Palms, California, received an unexpected package at the local post office. Upon opening the box, Bowles discovered a live rattlesnake inside, leading him to suspect foul play.

The Immediate Reaction

Western Diamond snake
Western Diamondback Rattlesnake. Image via Holger Krisp, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Bowles’ friend opened the package while they were driving away from the post office. Shocked by the discovery, she threw the box at Bowles, exclaiming that there was a snake inside. Bowles immediately pulled over and set the package by the curb.

Calling for Help

Rattlesnake via Depositphotos.

After securing the box outside, Bowles used a stick to further open it and confirm the contents. Realizing the potential danger, he quickly called 911 for assistance, leading to a response from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office and Animal Control.

The Rattlesnake’s Journey

sidewinder rattlesnake
Sidewinder – Crotalus cerastes, inconic venomous rattlesnake from desert regions of the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico. Image via Depositphotos

The rattlesnake had been in the mail system for about two weeks. The package was originally mailed from Hayward, California, on May 3, and had traveled across the postal network before reaching Bowles in Southern California.

Details of the Package

western diamondback rattlesnake
Rattlesnake, Crotalus atrox. Western Diamondback. Dangerous snake. Image via Depositphotos

The package was marked “fragile” in black marker and included cotton balls inside to muffle the sound of the rattlesnake’s rattle. The return address listed was a home in Palm Coast, Florida, adding to the mystery of its origin.

Authorities’ Response and Investigation

mojave rattlesnake
Mojave rattlesnake. Image via Depositphotos

Officers from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office forwarded the case to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service for investigation. Animal Control took custody of the rattlesnake, identified as a Western rattlesnake, or Northern Pacific rattlesnake.

Potential Motive and Concerns

Rattlesnake via Depositphotos.

Bowles believes that the delivery of the live rattlesnake was an attempt on his life, describing the incident as “attempted murder.” The investigation aims to determine who sent the package and why.

Handling the Rattlesnake

Rattlesnake via Depositphotos.

The rattlesnake, which is typically found in Northern California rather than Southern California, posed a significant threat. If disturbed or threatened, rattlesnakes can bite, delivering venom that requires immediate medical attention.

Risks of Rattlesnake Bites

The red rattlesnake (crotalus ruber) also known as red diamondback. Image via Depositphotos

A rattlesnake bite can be fatal if left untreated, causing severe symptoms such as pain, swelling, and, in extreme cases, organ failure. Healthline advises seeking medical treatment within half an hour of a bite to prevent serious complications or death.

The Role of Animal Control

rattlesnake rattle
Rattle of a rattlesnake. Laura Camp from San Juan Capistrano, CA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Rick Boyd, the Animal Control supervisor for Twentynine Palms, confirmed that the rattlesnake was safely taken into custody. The snake’s unusual presence in the mail system has raised questions about the sender’s intentions and methods.

Rattlesnake. Image via Pixabay.

The incident has potential legal implications, as sending a live venomous snake through the mail could be considered a criminal act, particularly if intended to harm the recipient. The ongoing investigation will determine the appropriate legal response.

Public Safety and Awareness

Rattlesnake via Depositphotos.

Authorities urge the public to be vigilant when receiving unexpected packages. If a package seems suspicious or dangerous, it is crucial to handle it with care and contact local authorities for assistance.

The Mystery of the Return Address

western diamondback rattlesnake
Western diamondback rattlesnake. Image via Depositphotos

The package’s return address in Palm Coast, Florida, does not align with the mailing location in Hayward, California. Investigators are working to uncover the true origin and purpose behind the mailing of the rattlesnake.

How to Respond to a Rattlesnake Encounter

Pygmy Rattlesnake
Pygmy Rattlesnake.
Image via Depositphotos

If encountering a live rattlesnake, individuals should maintain a safe distance, avoid sudden movements, and contact animal control professionals for safe removal. Immediate medical attention is essential in the event of a bite.

What Type of Rattlesnake Was Found in the Package?

rattlesnake in mail
Rattlesnake via Depositphotos

The rattlesnake was identified as a Western rattlesnake, also known as the Northern Pacific rattlesnake, which is typically found in Northern California.

How Long Was the Rattlesnake in the Mail System?

Closeup of an Eastern diamondback rattlesnake. Image via depositphotos

The rattlesnake had been in the mail system for about two weeks, traveling from Hayward, California, to Twentynine Palms, California.

What Should You Do If You Receive a Suspicious Package?

Close up of the beautiful patterns of Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake, originally from Southeastern United States of America. . Image via depositphotos

If you receive a suspicious package, do not open it. Contact local authorities or the U.S. Postal Inspection Service for assistance and follow their instructions.

Why Does Bowles Believe This Was Attempted Murder?

Rattle snake
A rattlesnake in Death Valley, California. Image via Tigerhawkvok (talk · contribs), CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Bowles believes the live rattlesnake was sent with the intent to harm or kill him, given the dangerous nature of the snake and the way it was packaged to avoid detection.

What Are the Risks of a Rattlesnake Bite?

Rattle snake
The rattle of the snake is found at the tip of the rattle snakes tail. Image via ALAN SCHMIERER, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

A rattlesnake bite can be life-threatening if untreated, leading to severe pain, swelling, and potential organ failure. Immediate medical treatment is crucial to prevent serious complications.

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