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Las Vegas pastor spends his free time catching unwanted rattlesnakes

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Tim Agnello is a man with a hobby - a hobby that's not for everyone.

TIM AGNELLO: I was catching snakes probably when I was 3 years old, but it was when I was 11 years old that I caught my first rattlesnake. And man, I was hooked.

LEILA FADEL, HOST:

That's the hobby - catching rattlesnakes. He can't forget the feeling of grabbing his first.

AGNELLO: Your nerves just kind of woo, and your stomach drops. And it's kind of scary at first, but it's super exciting.

INSKEEP: Yeah. My nerves would also just kind of woo. That first time, he was with a friend who did not share his excitement.

AGNELLO: I tell my friend, hey, there's a rattlesnake under this board, and he starts freaking out, and he's running around like a crazy person. But I was really thrilled by it and was trying to catch it and finally got it into a coffee can.

FADEL: Agnello has been grabbing rattlesnakes ever since. He works as a pastor in Las Vegas and was looking to do some kind of community service when he heard an announcement on the news.

AGNELLO: Hey, rattlesnake season is coming. Everybody be careful. And I thought, well, I could be of service

INSKEEP: Soon, Agnello was passing out flyers talking with animal control and posting on social media, offering to come to people's homes and remove snakes.

AGNELLO: You know, if I can come in and encourage people and get their snakes, I thought that would be a good way for me to use my own personal skill set to help our community.

FADEL: And he does it for free.

AGNELLO: Most people don't want to do it, and for those who do do it, they charge an arm and a leg, which I don't think is right.

INSKEEP: He takes the risk of getting bitten in an arm or a leg but says he's doing three to four house calls a day.

AGNELLO: We don't kill the snake, so it's kind of a rescue for them. I think it's important to keep them alive and to keep them part of the ecosystem.

FADEL: Agnello finds places in the desert with enough food, water and shade and then releases the rattlesnakes back into the wild. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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