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Rancho Santa Fe Snakes relocated

Snakes are pretty rowdy right after you come in contact with them, but they’ll warm up to you

Hooking the rattler.
Hooking the rattler.

“Free snake removal,” read the ad on Craigslist. “I am a lover of snakes and hate seeing them killed. I relocate all the snakes I catch. I am an expert on the snakes here in Southern California; venomous or not, I will remove it and relocate it for you. I’m in North County, if you are close enough to me, I will not charge you anything. Call or text me at 760-846-6677.”

“How cool is this?”

Seventeen-year-old Emerson Sims of Encinitas has been catching snakes since he was six years old. “I have a really outdoor family, constantly camping and hiking, and my dad taught me how. We were on a hike and we came across this kingsnake — so, non-venomous. He taught me that snakes are pretty rowdy right after you come in contact with them or grab them, but they’ll warm up to you. He grabbed the tail and held it outwards, and the snake was freaking out, but after a couple of seconds, he put his hand under its belly to support it and then picked it up, and at that moment, it calmed down.”

Sims’ first snake: “It was almost as tall as me.”

Sims’ first-grade Waldorf school class met at the San Diego Botanical Gardens, and when a group hike crossed paths with a gopher snake, he saw his chance for glory. “It was almost as tall as me. My mom freaked out, but my teacher convinced my parents, ‘This is your kid’s passion; you can’t stop him from doing it. Get educated on it; get him educated on it, and let him do it.’” So they did. “When I was younger, it was more about catching the snakes, showing people. How cool is this?” His phone serves as a portable gallery of trophies. “But as I get older, I realize it’s more about teaching people, because people hate snakes and want to kill them. They’re overseen, like sharks.” Hence the ad.

As we spoke, an ex-Floridian stopped to ask about a snake he had spotted in Carlsbad — it turned out to be a California king. “I golfed at Pelican Hill [in Newport Beach],” he marveled, “and the sign just says it: ‘Rattlesnakes.’ Tom Fazio build a nice course, but you can die out there… You have to have balls to live in California.” (This from a man whose private lake featured its own alligator.)

A rattler was the reason for Sims’ most exciting call so far. “There are a ton of snakes in Rancho Santa Fe,” he said — even before the ad, friends were using him for relocations from RSF to a Solana Beach nature reserve. “The mom who called wasn’t home, but the son was walking around the backyard with a shovel and a rake. He was planning to kill it” — but he couldn’t find it. Sims spotted the snake in the shade and made an approach. “He was rattling, so I hung out next to him and let him be” — just like Dad taught him — before stroking its belly and catching its head with a snake hook.

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Hooking the rattler.
Hooking the rattler.

“Free snake removal,” read the ad on Craigslist. “I am a lover of snakes and hate seeing them killed. I relocate all the snakes I catch. I am an expert on the snakes here in Southern California; venomous or not, I will remove it and relocate it for you. I’m in North County, if you are close enough to me, I will not charge you anything. Call or text me at 760-846-6677.”

“How cool is this?”

Seventeen-year-old Emerson Sims of Encinitas has been catching snakes since he was six years old. “I have a really outdoor family, constantly camping and hiking, and my dad taught me how. We were on a hike and we came across this kingsnake — so, non-venomous. He taught me that snakes are pretty rowdy right after you come in contact with them or grab them, but they’ll warm up to you. He grabbed the tail and held it outwards, and the snake was freaking out, but after a couple of seconds, he put his hand under its belly to support it and then picked it up, and at that moment, it calmed down.”

Sims’ first snake: “It was almost as tall as me.”

Sims’ first-grade Waldorf school class met at the San Diego Botanical Gardens, and when a group hike crossed paths with a gopher snake, he saw his chance for glory. “It was almost as tall as me. My mom freaked out, but my teacher convinced my parents, ‘This is your kid’s passion; you can’t stop him from doing it. Get educated on it; get him educated on it, and let him do it.’” So they did. “When I was younger, it was more about catching the snakes, showing people. How cool is this?” His phone serves as a portable gallery of trophies. “But as I get older, I realize it’s more about teaching people, because people hate snakes and want to kill them. They’re overseen, like sharks.” Hence the ad.

As we spoke, an ex-Floridian stopped to ask about a snake he had spotted in Carlsbad — it turned out to be a California king. “I golfed at Pelican Hill [in Newport Beach],” he marveled, “and the sign just says it: ‘Rattlesnakes.’ Tom Fazio build a nice course, but you can die out there… You have to have balls to live in California.” (This from a man whose private lake featured its own alligator.)

A rattler was the reason for Sims’ most exciting call so far. “There are a ton of snakes in Rancho Santa Fe,” he said — even before the ad, friends were using him for relocations from RSF to a Solana Beach nature reserve. “The mom who called wasn’t home, but the son was walking around the backyard with a shovel and a rake. He was planning to kill it” — but he couldn’t find it. Sims spotted the snake in the shade and made an approach. “He was rattling, so I hung out next to him and let him be” — just like Dad taught him — before stroking its belly and catching its head with a snake hook.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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