Former Coyotes star Jeremy Roenick takes on angry rattlesnake

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(Source: Jeremy Roenick via Twitter) (Source: Jeremy Roenick via Twitter)
NEAR SCOTTSDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

A rattlesnake that apparently thought it had found itself a home in the garage of former Coyotes star Jeremy Roenick instead embarked on an unexpected high-flying adventure.

Roenick posted video of his encounter with the desert dweller on Twitter.

The video shows the former center armed with a pair of golf clubs trying to capture the snake. He used one of the clubs to pin the agitated snake’s head and then picked it up and showed it to the camera. You can clearly hear the snake wildly rattling its tail.

“That’s. How you catch a rattler,” he said.

Roenick, who played two stints with the Coyotes – 1996-2001 and 2006-2007 – before retiring from the NHL in 2009, then calmly walked over to the wall of his Scottsdale, snake in one hand, golf club in the other.

“You’re nuts,” said the person behind the camera over the unmistakable sound of the most assuredly annoyed rattler. “You’re so nuts.”

“This is how we get rid of rattlers here in Arizona,” Roenick said before giving the snake the old heave-ho, sending it spinning through the air.

“Didn’t kill it,” he said as he walked back to his garage. “Kept it alive.”

Arizona is home to 13 species of rattlesnakes, according to the Arizona Games and Fish Department, and the snakes do find their way inside, particularly into homes in desert areas.

Autumn has been warmer than usual this year -- we might break a record on Thanksgiving Day -- which is keeping the snakes awake and active. August and September are usually the peak months for snake bites.

While rattlers generally do not slither very fast, their strikes are another story. Many people learn that the hard way every year.

[RELATED: Snake bites Coolidge man in face, neck after he tried catching it]

[RELATED: Rattlesnake, waiting on doormat, bites Phoenix man without warning]

While Roenick did effectively get rid of the rattler, his method is probably not something you want to try yourself.

Russ Johnson is president of the Phoenix Herpetological Society.

He has caught his share of snakes over the years, and said, what Roenick did was a perfect example of what not to do if you find a snake in or around your home.

"I understand he was entertaining the guy taking the picture with the camera, but it would have been horrific, worse than any injury he ever received in hockey," said Johnson. "Doing that, and then throwing the snake like a helicopter blade, that is wrong on so many fronts. It's an animal and doesn't deserve that."

Johnson said what the former hockey player did was not only dangerous because he could have been bitten, it also sent the wrong message, especially to kids.

"That's animal cruelty," said Johnson. "I guarantee if that had been a bird or mammal, there would have been a sheriff's department investigator out there. This was just totally wrong."

Roenick admitted that what he did was not smart, and said he never intended to do any harm.

The safer bet is to leave the snake alone and call in a professional.

[RELATED: Watch out for more rattlesnakes when the monsoon hits]

[RELATED: Rattlesnake sightings on the rise across the Valley]

"Do not approach the snake for any reason," Phoenix Herpetological Society advises. "Do not try to hurt, kill, move, or photograph the snake. Back up and give it plenty of space so that everyone feels safer." 

The organization does rattlesnake rescue and removal. Its rattlesnake hotline is 602-550-1090. The cost is $75.

Most fire departments are also equipped to remove a rattler from your home.


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