19 August 2010

Is this rattlesnake real?

The photo was sent to me by email, labelled "hog killer."  I asked the sender re the source/credit, and he didn't know.  So it's like so much stuff that circulates by email - questionable until proven valid.  A quick search indicates that Eastern diamondback rattlers can reach 8' in length, but this is being held toward the camera, and the whole thing could be 'shopped.  Any thoughts?  And if anyone knows of a valid provenance, let me know and I'll give credit.

Addendum December 2010:  A bit hat tip to Matt for tracking down the original report and first publication of the photo.   The snake was 6 feet, 6 inches long.


  1. At the very least, it's a deceptive photo.

    The snake is much closer to the camera than the man. With a wide-angle lens, this makes the snake appear much larger than it actually is.

    It's an old fisherman's trick.

  2. I agree with Peter Hoh. The person is holding the snake at the end of a stick/pitchfork (look at the positioning of his right hand) which places the snake several feet closer to the lens. The snake is large, but probably more in the 5 foot range and the head and body appear much larger in perspective.

  3. Both posters are correct. I work with rattlesnakes and therefore end up getting images like this in my inbox dozens of times every time one is taken, and they're all pretty ridiculous. When I first received this one, it was "9' and 100 lbs", within a week, it was "15' and 150lbs!!!!!", and always caught by "my friend" or "a guy I work with", and even a few "Look what I killed." It's amazing how easily folks will lie so easily, and then even go on to defend it when I call them out on it.

    If you tell someone this and they still don't believe you, tell them to put a 150lb weight on the end of a 50" pole and lift it. They don't have to think you're right at that point; physics will do the talking.

    The snake is an Eastern Diamondback, most likely from Georgia, and probably about 4'-5' feet, making it about 7 lbs.

  4. Thank you Brian! And Peter. I'm always amazed by the spectrum and depth of knowledge and experience of the visitors and lurkers on this blog.


  5. I actually hunt rattlesnakes and have seen and participated in pictures such as this. That snake is not nearly as large as it appears for exactly the reasons the other comments have indicated. And while it appeals to our fascination with sensational items, I personally worry more about the small ones that are harder to see.

  6. Around 1980, Fort McClellan, Alabama...

    A trainee was brought into the ER with the fang marks two inches apart. He had been bitten by an Easteren Diamond back while on the night march.

    The snake was never found. The kid lived.

    I have no idea how big the snake would have to be to get his fangs that far apart.

    This isn't second hand, I was there.

  7. Yes, I would hold it to the camera, I would hold it as far away from me as possible.

  8. Hello my name Aimee I am a member of a hunting club in Northwest Florida, Moore's Creek that photo is real it was taken in South Alabama hunting club by one of our club members son. We also have huge rattle snakes at our club. So I just wanted to let you know it is a real photo not a fixed photo and a little note to others that spend time in the woods the big rattle snakes here have NOT been rattling (their warning)I'm here and I will strike. Please take note they can get this big and they can kill we have a friend in ICU at this min fighting for his life from a bite from the same kind of snake but he was only 5'long . If a snake is able to get a lot of food they will get big. Think about it the big bucks,bass they are big because they are smart! So please be safe in the woods and look where you are putting your feet this is coming from a hunter and a mother of three that cares for others.

  9. There is another picture on Google from Jacksonville, Florida of a 15' eastern diamondback rattlesnake that was killed please check that one out they do get big!

  10. Sorry Aimee but you are lying. Here is the true story here... http://www.gon.com/article.php?id=2484&cid=158

  11. Thank you, Matt. Post updated with the new information and the link.

  12. 1_ the photo is real; but exaggerated (as others have stated) by being 'pushed' at the camera; blowing the snakes size out of proportion to the man in the background. Comments on weight are humorous; most interesting and real - was the, 'imagine holding 150 lbs on the end of a 5' pole' (the size of the average adult male!) - Oh yeah, that works!

    2_ as others have said - this is an Eastern Diamondback (E.Diamondback) rattlesnake (Crotalus adamanteus)

    3_ as the -referenced by Matt above- newspaper article states - length at 6'6" is fully real for the Georgia location NW of Savannah; large E.Diamonback rattlesnakes are found in that part of the country.

    4_ despite their large size; body, head and fangs; E.Diamondbacks have less than a 40% success ration of 'fanging' their prey. ('Fanging' = Envenomation = injection of venom). Most are 'scraped' and 'salivated'. (Scraped = a fang 'scratched' but did not envenomate (inject venom); Salivated = saliva is transferred to the prey). Also, the larger the 'prey' the lower the envenomation success: small people = small prey; big people = large prey; hence a major contributor to the increased number of kids being bitten and envenomated.

    5_ being scraped or salivated by an E.Diamondback (or any of the family of Crotalus / Sistrurus, is NOT a good thing; scraping causes an open wound; the saliva itself is highly toxic concoction, resulting in immediate tissue destruction. More people (and animals) die from resulting blood poisoning - due to untreated or mistreated - saliva entering a tear/hole/opening in the skin - than through a venomous bite (envenomation).

    6_ the action/notion/promotion toward random killing-of-snakes does more harm ecologically than necessary. It may become necessary to 'cull' a certain number of snakes from a given area, but a mentality of 'kill'em'all' is definitely NOT NECESSARY!

    As pointed out in the article reference above by 'Matt' (http://www.gon.com/article.php?id=2484&cid=158) - the snake that was killed, did NOT rattle. Translation: it was NOT feeling threatened - nor feeding! - and would NOT have attempted/engaged in a strike -UNLESS THREATENED. The person who encountered the snake said the snake just 'looked over the grass and moved away'. That person should have just let the snake move on, instead of blasting it with his .44MAG pistol. Unnecessary overkill! Ignorance has resulted in more deaths (human and animal) that any other causation factor.

    7_ Truly, snakes - such as the E.Diamondback - are far more valuable alive than dead.

    If people want to 'fear something', then fear the diseases that rodents will bring into your environment by their multiplication due to the lack of 'snake controls' in their environment. The bubonic plague is alive and well among many rodents (mice, rats, armadillo, prairie dogs - all are hosts for the plague carrying flea) and all snakes (specifically the rattlesnake!) play an important role in their control.

  13. Look the tail of the snake it touches the ground, and look the size of the man holding the snake ,the snake may look closer to camera but he is quiet big


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