I’ve just spent a couple of hours in my backyard with the “Hollywood Rattlesnake Wrangler” — a great guy, Bo Slypapich. Bo is a one-of-a-kind who has hunted down rattlers for everybody from Arnold Schwarzenegger to Brad Garrett and today he came to my house after working for Sally Field.
We had started our morning with what we thought was the discovery by our gardener of two baby rattlesnakes in the back yard. We were referred to Bo and he showed up looking like a cross between Indiana Jones and the male version of Tomb Raider Lara Croft. He had gizmos, belts slung around his waist to hold the gizmos and an enthusiasm for his business that was, honestly, very re-assuring.
Bo started catching snakes over forty years ago with his neighborhood friends in Malibu Canyon. He kept his passion for snakes and built a business in the entertainment industry by clearing locations prior to the arrival of the crew, and securing locations while filming.
“One day I got a call from a local doctor who knew me, and was aware of my business. He asked if he could recommend me to another doctor whose daughter was bit while playing in their backyard by a rattlesnake, and then had crawled under the house. They had been unable to find anyone willing to search their property to find the snake or any possible dens.”
Bo has been called to hunt for, track down, and remove snakes who have bitten children, dogs, and adults. Unlike others, Bo will crawl under houses, bushes and porches to find and relocate the snake or snakes.
What’s great about Bo, however, is his passion to educate. Rather than a standard service call, he asked me to join him (at a safe distance) as we went throughout the backyard and he did a show-and-tell about what we were doing right and what could use some improvement. He also spoke to my gardener and my wife.
Bo had about ten snakes in the back of his pick-up truck in sealed plastic containers and, for the first time in my life, I got a truly authentic close-up look at rattlers of all sizes. He also had the harmless snakes for comparison. Now, I can actually tell them apart. Rattlesnakes have larger heads and thin necks and, well, rattles for tails. Every other snake you find in southern California has necks the size of their bodies and tails that end in a point.
As it turned out, ours were not baby rattlers which was good because it means there’s probably not a nest with mom and other kids. We have, however, been tasked with some garden reconstruction and our rattlesnake fence appears to have been breached by the elements in a few key places that needs repair.
By the way, Bo has never been bitten in all his years. He does not kill rattlesnakes unless he has to. When he goes underneath houses, he has a full body armor outfit.
My friend, Michael Nadlman, also had a Bo and rattlesnake encounter only his was written up in the local paper and you can read that article here. That article, by the way, got linked to by the Drudge Report which gave it a global warming related headline and, as a result, the article got 40,000+ hits in just three hours.
Read all about Bo at his website, www.rattlesnakewrangler.com and, yes, somebody is actually developing a reality TV show for him. I’d definitely watch.
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