An unexpected house guest rattled one couple in Serra Mesa Sunday night.
It's a night Robert Tortora and his partner Belinda Vasquez won't be forgetting anytime soon.
Vasquez said she heard fireworks so she stepped outside for just a second. But when she came back inside the house, she had a surprise waiting for her.
"I just stood there at the step because there was a snake here, all straight, 3-feet straight," she said.
A red diamondback rattlesnake decided to make the spot its next home.
Vasquez told NBC 7, her first reaction was to save their beloved cat and dog. She grabbed the pets and stood out on the curb for two hours while she and Tortora waited for San Diego County Animal Control.
"I was at the sidewalk and I could still hear the rattle," she said.
Meantime, Tortora held guard inside.
"For two hours. Just the rattlesnake and I," he said, adding he had a cane and a pick-up tool that's known by some as a "grabber."
He waited until animal control officers arrived and got the snake safely out of their home.
"You want the rattlesnakes alive. You don’t want to kill the rattlesnakes--you just don’t want them in your house," he said.
Animal Control told the couple they were going to release the snake in a canyon about a mile away.
A bite from this species of a rattlesnake would be considered a medical emergency. Doctors say it can be fatal without prompt anti-venom treatment.