Rattled: Colorado officer finds live rattlesnake in car while searching for drugs

Rattlesnake, Wheat Ridge Police Department

WHEAT RIDGE, Colo. — To say this Colorado police officer was rattled would be an understatement.

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A Wheat Ridge officer, conducting a search for drugs in a vehicle on Sunday night, was startled to find a live rattlesnake inside a plastic bin, KDVR-TV reported.

The Wheat Ridge Police Department posted the officer’s body camera footage in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter. The officer was checking trailheads at Prospect Park when he saw a vehicle with drug paraphernalia in clear view, according to the television station.

The owner arrived at the vehicle in Prospect Park and observed a 2013 Toyota Camry with drug paraphernalia in plain sight, KUSA-TV reported. The owner, who had taken an Uber to the site, told police he had lent the vehicle to a friend.

The owner consented to having the car searched. As the officer poked through the vehicle, he allegedly found drugs, a gun and a large plastic bin, according to KDVR. When he opened the bin, he was startled to see an angry rattler hissing at him and ready to strike.

“Yo, you got a rattlesnake in here?” the officer said in the video. “What the (expletive) dude ... you kidding me?”

The officer noted that the reptile was “rattling at me.”

“I’m not gonna open the box again,” he said.

The car owner appeared to be just as stunned as the officer, KDVR reported

Composing himself, the officer told the vehicle owner that “you guys got a passenger on board.”

Then he wondered, “does he have any other thing that might bite me?”

“I’m just glad it didn’t bite me,” the officer continued. “I mean, hey, it’s a funny story now.

“As soon as I opened it I saw it cock its head back and I slammed it shut,” he added. “I’ve seen enough Steve Irwin documentaries. I know how these things go.”

Police said no charges would be brought against the car owner, but they want to contact the person’s friend to ask a few questions.

The drug paraphernalia, drugs and gun were booked into evidence, KUSA reported. The snake and other property were left in the car. Officers recommended that the snake be delivered to a veterinarian, according to a police spokesperson.

“You can imagine our officer’s shock,” the Wheat Ridge Police Department wrote in a follow-up tweet. “It’s a good example of how you need to be prepared for anything in this job, including snake charming.”

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