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Giant Rattlesnake Photograph

Summary:
Email claims that a 9 foot, 1 inch rattlesnake that weighed 97 lbs. was caught in the American state of Missouri (Full commentary below).



Status:
Unsubstantiated

Example:(Submitted, September 2007)
Subject: Fw: FW: Missouri Rattlesnake - YIKES!!

Wanna see a big rattlesnake?

This snake was recently found at the J & L Tack located just south of Poplar Bluff , Missouri,on Highway 67 south of Town. Look below the picture. In case you catch one, the info might come in handy!!! LOL

Giant Rattlesnake

9 feet, 1 inch - 97 lbs.

DEEP-FRIED RATTLESNAKE


1 medium-sized rattlesnake (3-4 lbs.), cut into steaks
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup cracker crumbs
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (not garlic salt)
1 teaspoon salt
Dash pepper

Mix dry ingredients. Whisk milk into beaten egg and use to dip snake steaks. Then coat them with dry ingredients. Fry, uncovered, in 400 degree oil until brown.

Yum,Yum! It sorta tastes like chicken.
(I always wonder why folks just don't eat chicken)




Commentary:
According to this email, an attached photograph of a very large rattlesnake was taken in the American state of Missouri. The message claims that the giant rattler weighed in at a whopping 97 lbs and was 9 feet 1 inch in length. The message even comes with a handy recipe for deep-fried rattlesnake.

Like a number of other email forwards that feature exceptionably large or unusual animals, this one has mutated a number of times as subsequent recipients have altered the location details to claim regional ownership of the beast. While this version is set in Missouri, alternative versions have been set in various parts of Texas, North Dakota and other areas of the US.

In reality, the true origin of the photograph is currently unclear. There is no reason to doubt the authenticity of the photograph itself, but exactly where and under what circumstances the photograph was taken is perhaps known only to those who were there at the time.

Furthermore, the description of the snake most probably exaggerates the vital statistics of the critter. The snake in the photograph appears to be a Western Diamondback rattlesnake. These snakes are known to grow to more than 7 feet in length, but a 9 foot, 1 inch specimen would be exceedingly rare. Moreover, even if it was over 9 feet in length it is difficult to believe that it would weigh as much as 97 lbs. In his well-respected book about the life and habits of rattlesnakes, Laurence Monroe Klauber notes:
By the length-weight relationship (useful only for rattlers in the wild) a seven-foot rattler would weigh about fifteen pounds, and an eight-footer about 23 pounds.
Thus, even a nine-footer would be unlikely to reach 97 pounds. Also, it seems difficult to believe that the man in the photograph could so easily lift a 97 pound object on the end of a pole.

Finally, like the famous Camel Spiders in Iraq photographs, the critter's closer proximity to the camera in relation to the man holding it up skews the perspective and most probably makes it appear significantly larger than it really is.

In spite of these probable exaggerations, the snake in the photograph is still one massive rattler!

References:
WESTERN DIAMONDBACK RATTLESNAKE
Rattlesnakes: Their Habits, Life Histories, and Influence on Mankind
Camel Spiders in Iraq Hoax Email

Last updated: 24th September 2007
First published: 24th September 2007

Write-up by Brett M. Christensen

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