Could the length/weight be real?

ccoxNovember 8, 2005

Hello everyone,

I'm a lover of all creatures and my FIL sent me this pic. I live in Texas and so he probably thought I'd find it interesting. I spend most of my time in the Farm Forum, but lurk here some. I thought y'all could settle a "is it real" question. I know diamondbacks get large, but goodness knows this snake would frighten even the most sturdy herper.

Sadly, it's obvious they've killed the poor thing. Some folks can't leave well enough alone.

Your thoughts will interest me on the size of the snake. Seems like a world record, but there's very little about it online.

Carla in Texas;

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The rattlesnake is a large one, but the photo is a bit mis-leading. This is and old photo trick to hold an object towards the camera to make it look bigger. I've done it myself to make the fish I caught look bigger. Something I need to do far too often. Judging by the size of the snake grabber I would say the snake was around six feet long. Still a big snake, and one that would cause even us herp lovers to be shookup. I once saw an Eastern Dimondback in Florida that was much bigger that this snake. I've yet to see anything close - even in a zoo. The guy that caught it lived way out in the sticks with his mother. He claimed to have caught the snake while crossing the road, using only his boot lace and a gunny sack. I would love to have seen that.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2005 at 1:59PM
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While I can't vouch for this exact specimen, I can say these sort of photo shots with the snake extended forward and the size exaggerated are common on the web. The snake he is holding is a very large Western Dimaondback. But judging by appearance, my guess is that this snake is around 6-6.5 feet long and probably weighs about 10-11 pounds. The record size for a Western Diamondabck is just over 7 feet long and the largest rattlesnake ever recorded is an 8 foot 1 inch Eastern Diamondback.

a web example exaggerating a snake's size (and falsifying the location)....

Clay County Snake

Claim: Photograph shows a 50-lb. rattlesnake caught in Clay County, West Virginia in June 2005.

Status: Real photo; inaccurate description.

Examples: [Collected on the Internet, 2005]

This Rattlesnake was caught in Clay County, WV on 5-21-05. It weighed over 50 IBS and was 8' long. Rumers of this snake filtered through our community for the last month, then this pic was found on clay County's web site. A shiver goes up my spine just looking at it.


Well, this would be an unpleasent surprise!!! Here is the news release that came in to me just the other day: Rattlesnake! 114 POUNDS FOUND AT FOLA COAL IN CLAY COUNTY 2 WEEKS AGO

I have to note that this is about 30 miles due east of the State Capitol here in West Virginia. Nothing to do with politics, I am sure, but this is one big snake, so much for so called records from the West!

Variations: Some October 2005 forwards of the photo include a text description that details the finding of a "Big Timber Rattler" "near an open path" in Potter County, PA, "2 weeks ago" by "Phillip Bowman."

Origins: There were several reasons to doubt the origins of the photograph displayed above matched the description that accompanied it on the Internet:
The snake pictured is a western diamondback rattler, a species that does not live east of the Mississippi River.

The apparent size of the reptile is exaggerated in the photograph because a stick is being used to position it much closer to the camera's lens than the men standing behind it are. An 8-foot, 10-lb. diamondback rattler is considered a giant for that species, so the snake pictured probably weighs no more than that.

Fola Coal Co. vice-president Keith Bartley has fielded many an inquiry about this image, stating: "It's unequivocally not ours. It's a false story. There is no truth to it whatsoever."
According to the Stephenville (Texas) Empire-Tribune, the snake was actually an 6-foot, 11-pound rattler snared by three hunters (Jim Bob Basham, Danny Fincannon, and Johnny McClatchy) in the Lone Star State in February 2005:
The Great Rattlesnake Hunter from Proctor has been out looking under rocks again, this time near Alexander. On Valentine's Day Jim Bob Basham, holding the snake, and his fellow hunters, Danny Fincannon and Johnny McClatchy of Dublin, uncovered a din of rattlers that yielded this monster. This snake is even bigger than the one Basham caught last November that made its rounds on the Internet. Big Charlie here is more than 6 feet (an exact measurement was not attempted) and weighs 11 pounds. He boasts 15 rattlers and a button. He was sharing the den with 11 other rattlers that were all caught alive.

Last updated: 24 October 2005

The URL for this page is

Urban Legends Reference Pages 1995-2005
by Barbara and David P. Mikkelson
This material may not be reproduced without permission

    Bookmark   November 10, 2005 at 10:25AM
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Thanks for your responses! I didn't think anyone but the very strong can hold 98lbs at arms length. What I didn't realize was that even large rattlers really don't weigh a whole lot. I would think something that is 8ft long would be pushing 25lbs. I'm just not a good judge.
Mostly, I'm sorry this big fellow is dead. I'm sure he/she parented many a baby.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2005 at 10:38AM
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