California Man Receives Live Rattlesnake in the Mail in What He Says Was an Attempt to Murder Him

A two-foot-long rattlesnake (stock image above) arrived via USPS for a California man.Getty Stock Images

Elijah Bowles received a package containing a two-foot-long rattlesnake, which spent two weeks in the mail before arriving at his poist office box.

A California man received a package with an unwelcome surprise last week, and now believes someone tried to murder him through the mail.

Elijah Bowles, 60, picked up a package at the Twentynine Palms Post Office, which his friend started to open while they were driving home.

"When she opened the box, she threw it at me almost," Bowles told the Los Angeles Times. "And she says, 'There’s a snake in there.'"

Bowles said he quickly pulled over and removed the box with the snake in it from the car, which is when he realized that there were cotton balls in the box. Bowles says he thinks that the cotton balls were to possibly mask the sound of the 2-foot-long snake's rattle.

Cpl. Adam Cervantes of the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Office tells Insider Edition Digital that the snake in question was a Northern Pacific rattlesnake and that it had been mailed via the United States Postal Service (USPS). He also says that the package had a Florida return address.

A USPS spokesperson said someone wrote "FRAGILE" on the package in black marker, and that despite the Florida return address, it had actually been mailed from Heywood, a California town located almost 500 miles north of Twentynine Palms. 

The package spent almost two weeks in the mail before it arrived. The snake was likely able to survive because most adult snakes eat just once a week. Rattlesnakes in particular can survive up to six months without food and water.

A postal inspector with the USPS is now investigating the incident, which Bowles said could have ended his life.

"That’s attempted murder, if you ask me," said Bowles.

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