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Teen Accidentally Rides Bike Into Den of Rattlesnakes

Newsweek logo Newsweek 5/10/2021 Sara Santora
a close up of an animal: Rattlesnake © INTI OCON / Contributor/Getty Rattlesnake

Fourteen-year-old Raiden Peter and his friend were enjoying an afternoon bike ride in Lethbridge, Canada, a town south of Calgary in Alberta, when they found themselves riding through a rattlesnake den.

CTV News reports that the boys were trying to find new biking paths in the nearby canyon valleys when they accidentally rode their bikes into the snake den.

"I was so scared," Peter told CTV.

The two teens told CTV that they quickly dismounted their bikes, threw them into the den and ran away. They then called the City of Lethbridge rattlesnake mitigation program to help retrieve their abandoned bikes.

Ryan First Diver, who CTV says is better known as the "Rattlesnake Wrangler," appeared at the scene to help the boys.

"I've been in that position where you accidentally walk into a den and what you see around you is writhing, hissing, rattling snakes diving for holes and it's scary," First Diver told CTV.

The network reports that the rattlesnake wrangler quickly helped the boys retrieve their bikes. No one was harmed in the process.

First Diver has been officially wrangling rattlesnakes for nine years, according to CTV. In all his years around venomous snakes, he says that he has never been bitten. He does say, however, that he lost nearly all the vision in his right eye last summer after getting rattlesnake venom in it. But, as a fan of exotic snakes, he told CTV he wouldn't change a thing about his job.

According to the network, First Diver receives between 160 and 170 calls each year from Lethbridge residents who find themselves face-to-face with rattlesnakes. First Diver tells CTV he expects the upcoming rattlesnake season to be busier than usual as a result of people staying close to home due to travel COVID restrictions.

Prairie rattlesnakes are considered a "vulnerable species" in Canada, according to the government's official website. As such, the Saskatchewan Wildlife Act and the Alberta Wildlife Act have made it illegal to kill, possess or damage a rattlesnake area without a permit. People who encounter them are advised to call a local expert to handle the snakes.

Sheri Monk, co-owner of Alberta-based snake fencing and education company Snakes on a Plain, told CTV News: "I think we kind of owe it to the species to protect it a little bit and realize that it's not out to get us, and that we can give it a helping hand."

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