The noises were coming from the Van der Herchens’ utility room. Was it rats? Intrigued, Adam Van der Herchen went to investigate, but what he saw was certainly no rodent. The family were playing host to a potentially dangerous guest, and it was moving in the ceiling.
Bob Van der Herchen lives in Englewood, Florida, with his wife Linda. However, it was actually their son Adam who first became aware of the mysterious presence in their house. And although Bob’s work puts him in potentially perilous situations, this was not something that he was prepared to deal with himself.
In fact, Bob is in the removal business, but he handles an entirely different type of unwanted guest. To be more specific, he’s the owner of Bob Van der Herchen Bee Removal & Rescue company. He’s not an exterminator, though.
Not only does the business remove honey bees from people’s properties, but it also then relocates them to another locale. The company’s Facebook page explains that they specialize in structural removal, and they do their best to avoid harming bees in the process.
Bob does his part to educate future generations about the importance of bees, too. Yes, he’s visited local schools to explain his work to the children and demonstrate what makes the creatures so interesting. Unfortunately, though, it wasn’t bees in the Van der Herchen household that day.
According to a video uploaded to YouTube on August 11, 2017, Adam had heard strange noises in the house. As Adam’s bedroom is below the attic, he was the first to realize that something was amiss. And the young Floridian’s subsequent investigation took him to the utility room, where he made a shocking discovery.
Adam saw movement above him and caught a glimpse of the intruder through some boards in the ceiling. And after he told his mother about what he had witnessed, she posted a disconcerting Facebook update. Linda’s message read, “Home alone? Maybe, maybe not!”
What’s more, Adam’s sighting wasn’t the only glimpse of the Van der Herchens’ ceiling squatter. Bob was the next one to see the uninvited guest, but this time he caught the creature on camera. And the footage was enough to give the family some clue as to what was hiding in the fabric of their house.
As a result of what the Van der Herchen family had seen lurking in the rafters, they decided to call animal control. But while Sarasota Animal Control sent an officer out to assist, their attempts to capture the creature were unsuccessful. You see, it had retreated further into the house’s ceiling and out of reach.
However, the officer had seen enough to inform the Van der Herchens that their house guest was a snake – and a potentially deadly one at that. Using Bob’s footage, the officer had identified the creature as a diamondback rattlesnake – a reptile so dangerous that the officer told Bob that if it got him, he wouldn’t survive.
“That’s a big old boy right there; that guy will kill you,” the man from Animal Control told Bob. Thankfully for the Van der Herchens, though, their nephew doesn’t fear dangerous snakes, and he offered to kill the rattlesnake before it could cause a fatality.
The nephew’s attempts to remove the reptile met with failure too, though, as the snake was nowhere to be found. Was the animal still deep in hiding, or had it now left the house? The Van der Herchens didn’t want to take the risk, and so they reached out to friend of a friend Mark Lampart via Facebook.
Lampart had been close to dangerous animals before – including sharks and other snakes – so a rattler didn’t put him off. He agreed, then, to look for the Van der Herchens’ suspected diamondback. But the search wasn’t an easy one, and it took a few hours.
During his search, Lampart uncovered a large piece of shed skin, and it turned out that the snake had probably been living with the Van der Herchens for longer than they had realized. Indeed, who knows how long it had been lurking in their attic for?
And when Lampart did eventually locate the snake, the battle was only half won; next came the removal. Still, after a protracted period of poking and prodding the snake into position, Lampart managed to grab its tail and pull it out of its hiding place.
It turned out, furthermore, that the snake had initially been wrongly identified: it wasn’t a diamondback rattlesnake at all. In fact, it was a Columbian red-tailed boa constrictor. And while boas can still be dangerous, this particular snake wasn’t venomous.
Boas often strike out at prey with their fangs first, but their main weapon is their powerful muscles. They wrap their bodies around unfortunate victims and squeeze them tightly. And not only does this restrict their prey’s breathing, but it also affects the victim’s blood circulation.
So if such a snake ambushed a sleeping human – especially a child – it could prove fatal. Thankfully, however, Lampart managed to successfully remove the snake from the premises. And afterwards, the catcher showed the Van der Herchens the creature with which they had been sharing their house.
From the video, we can see that the boa is a sizeable animal; and Bob was evidently pleased that Lampart had removed the snake, as he thanked the catcher profusely. “I’m glad we could get him,” the snake catcher replied. “It was very difficult.” But how had the reptile got into the ceiling in the first place?
Well, younger boas are semi-arboreal, which means they sometimes climb trees, and Linda says that’s how the boa got in. “Animal control said it got on the roof from tree branches,” she explained on Facebook. Thankfully, though, the Van der Herchens finally found a way to get the snake back out.