A homeless man was caught Monday carrying a live rattlesnake around downtown Jacksonville Beach, Florida, after he said he became convinced God wanted him to protect it from heavy traffic, reports radio station WOKV News.
The Jacksonville Beach Police Department confirmed in a tweet Monday that they confiscated a 6-to-8-foot rattlesnake, and turned it over to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission for relocation to the wild.
Jacksonville Beach Police say they got multiple complaints “about a man walking around with a rattlesnake in his hand” in the area of the Best Western hotel, reported TV station News4Jax.
Officers responded to find a homeless man holding the snake and “claiming to be an agent of God,” according to NBC-2.com. The man, who was not identified, complied with police commands to throw the snake into the backseat of a caged patrol, NBC reported.
“He says that he found it and God compelled him to keep him safe from traffic,” Sgt. Larry Smith told WOKV.
The Florida Times-Union reported officers have not revealed whether the man was bitten while holding the snake.
Police told ActionNewsJax.com that the man is believed to have found the snake earlier in the morning. He will not charged, the station reported.