Kaleb Watts stands with a 5-foot-5-inch rattlesnake he killed by his house in Natchez. Watts said he only kills venomous snakes. (Submitted Photo)
Kaleb Watts stands with a 5-foot-5-inch rattlesnake he killed by his house in Natchez. Watts said he only kills venomous snakes. (Submitted Photo)

Watts catches snakes for family, friends

Published 12:01am Sunday, June 30, 2013

NATCHEZ — When some people see snakes on their property, they don’t call animal control — they call Kaleb Watts.

Watts said it all started when he was 12 years old. He and his neighbor were coming home from working out when a snake was waiting for them in the driveway.

“Everyone was freaking out, but I stopped and picked it up and move it to the woods,” Watts said. “We put pictures up on Facebook and everyone said they would start calling me when they have snake problems.”

What Watts thought was a joke, turned into reality. Now 17 years old, Watts has received several calls from his family, friends and neighbors to control their snake infestations.

“My aunt, my grandma or my neighbors would call, and I’ll catch it and get it out of their way,” Watts said. “It’s usually a chicken snake or a garter snake.”

Watts said he enjoys catching the snakes for people.

“I just like doing it, I think it’s fun and it’s dangerous,” he said. “I get a good adrenaline rush out of it.”

Watts said he has a certain method he goes about to capture the reptiles. But before catching them, there is one thing he must do.

“I try to figure out what kind of snake it is first, to make sure it’s not venomous,” Watts said.

“Then, I’ll get a stick and pin its head down, then grab it by the head so it can’t strike.”

Watts said he only kills venemous snakes that can potentially kill innocent people.

Watts recalls one of the most difficult snakes to catch being on his own property.

He said his mother called him about a chicken snake in the backyard, but by the time he got to the scene, the snake was on the move.

“I chased it and it was hiding under leaves,” he said. “It struck at me a few times, but finally I caught it.”

Watts said he is lucky to have never been bitten. At least, not yet, he said.

Watts said one of the biggest snakes he ever caught was a 6-foot-3-inch chicken snake.

Watts has battled snakes of all sizes with an aggressive attitude to match, but he said he could never remember being scared.

“I live back in the woods — there has always been snakes around,” Watts said.

Now that Watts is a senior at Adams County Christian School, he said it wouldn’t be long before he goes off to college.

Leaving behind his neighborhood obligations may be a bit of a burden, but Watts said he’d be sure to help out his family and friends when he visits home.

Until then, Watts is still the neighborhood snake catcher.