Oregon mechanic uses makeshift ‘chopsticks’ to pull diamondback rattlesnake from car engine

Man pulls snake from car engine with ‘chopsticks’

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. — There were a couple of things wrong with Katie Prewitt’s Geo Tracker. There was the rope that seemed to hang from the car’s undercarriage. And then that hissing noise; maybe a faulty emissions valve. She took the car into her husband’s Klamath Falls body shop, but Dave Prewitt wasn’t quite sure what to make of the problem, either. He called his friend Martin Schenck, who works across the street at Downtown Automotive, looking for a little help.

That’s when they saw it: A flash of movement inside the engine, a slithering sort of movement.

“It didn’t take too long to figure out that sticking our hands in any part wasn’t a good idea,” Schenck said, who’s been working with automobiles for 28 years.

The “rope,” it turned out, was an angry 3-foot diamondback rattlesnake. How it got there — or why — is anybody’s guess, but it probably snuggled up to the Tracker’s warm V6 engine while Prewitt had the vehicle parked at her Pine Grove home.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Trisha Roninger said a rattlesnake seeking out such a habitat is unusual.

“They’re looking for warmth, usually for basking, so that’s really bizarre, especially with as warm as it’s been in the Klamath Basin,” Roninger said.

However odd, the snake was still there and Schenck was set on getting it out. He and Dave Prewitt tried squirting it with water as a crowd began to form around the commotion. No dice.

Every time someone got close to the vehicle, the buzzing sound started.

“It knew when you were getting close to the rig,” Schenck said. “We assumed it could see us through holes or something.”

Eventually, the snake’s rattling tail slipped out over the right front tire.

Schenck grabbed a shovel and another tool — some makeshift chopsticks — and pulled the snake out. He used the shovel to pin the rattler to the ground.

The rattle continued buzzing while the snake hissed and snapped at the air. “It was very upset,” Schenck said.

Schenck decapitated the snake and the Prewitts took the rattle as a memento.

They weren’t charged for the service.

Information from: Herald and News, www.heraldandnews.com


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