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It's completely illegal to kill them here.People stepping on snakes at night is about the number one reported incidence (my partner is an ICU nurse).
The story didn't say did it.It said after midnight, and also that the victim owned the snake.So I'm guessing some sloppy handling was involved, possibly with alcohol as an element (knowing this area).Why you would want to own one of the world's deadliest snakes, when it is already widespread in the area (not as if it's a rare Amazonian specimen etc) I can't imagine.
I almost stepped on a 6-foot Mohave rattler in the backyard in the middle of the night. Coiled up underneath the water spigot. Decided to warn me only after I stepped over it ... then I ran in the opposite direction like a crazy person. Unfortunately that direction was against the fence and not back towards the house.That morning I took a shovel and chopped its head off. I think, given time, it could have swallowed and digested me. Rattler was longer than my index finger and about as fat as my thumb.