With summer’s fun in the sun, come plenty of strange and scary safety hazards. One you may not have considered: finding a snake hiding in your pool noodle.

It has happened, however, according to an Arizona fire department that reported that a resident found a rattlesnake and its babies hiding inside his foam flotation device. The incident, which occurred last summer, and a subsequent warning on Facebook, left many fearing an infestation in their own pool toys.

So PEOPLE talked to Animal Planet expert Dave Salmoni about the likelihood of having a similar encounter — and what to do if you do come face to face with a dangerous snake.

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“In my experience I’ve never seen or heard of snakes hiding in pool noodles, however it would make sense behaviorally,” Salmoni says. “Snakes are always looking for a nice dark, quiet space to hang out in when they’re not spending time in the sun.” He notes that dark, private, insulated places, like the one created by the foam of a standard pool noodle, fit the bill. He adds, Anytime snakes are looking for a place to sleep or hide, a pool noodle sounds like a lovely spot as long as it’s not being used!”

In the Arizona incident, the local fire chief told PEOPLE he’s had reports of snakes laying eggs in or around pool noodles stored on the ground, but Salmoni says that’s unlikely. “I can’t image snakes laying eggs in pool noodles, unless there are different sizes. I’ve never seen one with a big enough hole to hold a snake egg.”

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In general, he says, finding a snake lurking in a noodle is likely a “very very rare occurrence.” There’s also no particular region or species that would be more susceptible to this type of behavior. “Any place where there are snakes and that species happens to be small enough to fit in the hole of a pool noodle, it’s possible that something like this could happen, but there are no specific places that it’s likely,” says Salmoni.

If you do encounter a snake, in a noodle or elsewhere in your yard, there are a few things to consider right away. “First, you want to identify the snake and determine whether it is venomous or non-venomous,” says Salmoni. He suggests a quick internet search of its identifying characteristics and snakes common to your geographic region. “If it is a snake that may be a danger to your family or your pet, you may want to call someone to relocate the snake in order to find it a happier home.”

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The best way to avoid an unwanted resident in your pool toys is to store them in a “critter-proof outdoor crate or shed” or an “extra large Tupperware bin” available at hardware stores, he says.

Salmoni also shared that his own summer habits would prove a prime testing ground for the snake-in-noodle theory: “I have a dock at my cottage and during the summer it becomes home to about 15 snakes. At any particular time, I’ll have about 25 pool noodles laying around and I’ve never found a snake in any of them.”

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