Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Bring Your Boots to Arizona (or Texas)? Sure, But Not Because of 15-foot Rattlesnakes!

In the last week, I have received two e-mails about a large dead rattlesnake that I first wrote about years ago (thanks Brenda G. and Penny B.). These new e-mails claim that the animal in the pictures is a fifteen-foot Western Diamondback Rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox) recently killed near either Mesa, Arizona or Dallas, Texas (I'm sure there are other versions I'm not aware of, let me know in the Comments). An additional note has been added discouraging readers from looking for golf balls that are out of bounds.

If this e-mail is what brought you to this blog, let me assure you that the story is bogus for several reasons.

1) The snake is an Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake (Crotalus adamanteus) not a Western Diamondback.

2) The animal was killed years ago in Florida.

3) Fifteen-foot rattlesnakes do not exist, an animal half that size would be huge. The best measurement we have for this snake is seven feet and three inches (and I've already written why I think even this measurement is exaggerated).

The e-mail also contains numerous "facts" about this snake, I include them below. They are all false.

"One bite from a snake of this size would contain enough venom to kill over 40 full grown men.

The head of this snake alone is larger than the hand of a normal sized man.

A bite from those fangs would be comparable to being stabbed by two curved, 1/4 inch diameter screwdrivers.

The knife being used to draw out the fangs for the bottom picture has a blade around 6 inches long. 
This snake is estimated to have weighed over 170 pounds.

Notice the girth of this snake as compared to the cop's leg in the first picture (and he is not a small man).

A snake of this size could easily swallow a 2 year-old child and dogs, pigs, etc). 

A snake this size has an approximately 5 1/2 foot accurate 
striking distance (The distance for an average size rattlesnake is about 2 feet).

This snake has probably been alive since George Bush Sr. was President."

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