Jim Thorpe residents were paid a visit by an unlikely guest earlier this week. A 2 foot rattlesnake was found in the backyard of a home on the borough's East Side July 6.

After being called to the residence by its owner, Jim Thorpe Police called in the assistance of JoAnn McGavin, a trained snake handler formerly employed by the Pocono Snake and Animal Farm. Though McGavin had never handled a venomous snake before, she had no trouble in securing the wayward reptile.

"This snake is more afraid of people than we're afraid of it," she said during a visit to the Carbon County Environmental Education Center.

McGavin believes that the snake came down from its natural habitat high in the surrounding mountains because of the recent heat wave plaguing our area. In desperate search for water, the snake was naturally attracted to the moisture-rich lawns of Jim Thorpe's residential area.

Later this month, McGavin and her husband Leonard plan on releasing the snake back into the wild, most likely in a mountainous area devoid of people.

Area residents are advised to be mindful of their surroundings at dusk, especially when walking near wooded areas. If a snake is encountered, no attempt should be made to either kill or injure it. The best way to ensure safety, according to McGavin, is to simply avoid the snake altogether.