Why did rattlesnake cross the road? Because Virginia cops stopped traffic for it

Police in Roanoke, Va., apparently want drivers to brake for snakes.

Officers delayed motorists at a busy intersection Tuesday as they diverted traffic to allow an endangered rattlesnake to slither across the road at its leisure.

In a video posted to Facebook, two Roanoke City Police are seen halting and waving cars safely around the adventurous serpent — who appeared to be using the crosswalk.

"I thought it was a turtle at first," Randy Leftwich told CBS News. "When I saw the snake I thought cops get such a bad rap these days, here are two officers helping out an animal.

"Awesome to see these guys out there helping," he said.

In Virginia, it’s illegal to kill or relocate snakes unless they pose an immediate danger to residents, the Roanoke Police Department said. Police also warned citizens of increased snake activity as the weather warms.

snake safe

An Animal Warden moved the rattlesnake to a safe location.  (Roanoke Police Department)

“Now that we’re entering the summer months, we’d like to remind everyone to watch out for snakes and other potentially dangerous wildlife,” the department wrote on Facebook. “The summer heat, roadwork and construction can cause snakes to become more active and seek out alternate locations.”

Police said their Animal Wardens, who typically don’t respond to calls about snakes, were able to safely move the slow-moving reptile out of danger. According to the News & Observer, the snake was an endangered timber rattlesnake.

“Snakes are an important part of our ecosystem, and we want to remind citizens to leave them alone while they’re out and about this season.”