SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - If you needed proof that rattlesnake season is in full swing, the experience of one Spring Valley homeowner might just be it.

Jim Merzbagher discovered huge rattlesnake in his garden. He estimates it weighed about five pounds and had just eaten.

Merzbagher said he has experience wrangling snakes and managed to get this big boy, or girl, into a cooler.

"Well, I save these animals because they're part of the food chain here in San Diego, a real important part of the food chain,” explained Merzbagher. “And we also have a lot of small mammals and one thing these reptiles do is to keep us from being overrun by small mammals."

Merzbagher let the snake go in a back country preserve.

If you find a snake, call a professional and don't try to capture it yourself.