It turned out to be a baby rattlesnake.
Carla Rosso and her husband Ariel had just gotten out of their backyard Jacuzzi.
Wrapped in a bathrobe, Carla tried to pick up what she thought was her dog Duchess' rope toy.
She bent down and grasped the long, thin object.
Her home surveillance video shows her panicked reaction when she realized it was a snake. She dropped it immediately and high-stepped out of there in a hurry as Duchess tried to help.
"I grabbed it and as I was going up, I realized it was gushy and it had a feeling to it, like a hot dog sort of," she recalled. "So I let it go. And for some reason I thought it was still on me.
Ariel recalled hearing her yell.
"She wasn't yelling that she saw a snake. She was yelling that she picked up a snake," he said. "And it didn't make sense. Who picks up a snake?"
They called Los Angeles County Fire to help out and firefighters destroyed the snake. They warned her that baby rattlers are even more dangerous than adults because they can't control their venom.
Once the danger was over and they reviewed their surveillance video, they were able to laugh about the encounter and Carla's panicked reaction. But they know it could've ended quite differently.
"This could've been my wife in the hospital. Any one of our three girls in the hospital. Our dog at the vet," Ariel said. "It's funny but at the same time it's really scary.
But once he saw the video, he couldn't resist posting it on YouTube. And even Carla was able to laugh at herself.
"I was cracking up," she said. "It was hilarious. I can't believe I did that. I can't believe I picked up a snake. Check it off my bucket list of things to do!"