A photo we received over the weekend from a Dallas County man claiming to have killed a large rattlesnake turns out to be a hoax.
The story and others like it have been making the rounds on the internet for at least three years.
Bryan D. Hughes with Phoenix Rattlesnake Solutions explains via email:
That photo is of an Eastern Diamondback that has been floating around for awhile. Every time it pops up it has a new location, story, and size associated with it. The last time it was reported, it was an 8.5 foot giant from Georgia. It's also been reported from Florida, Louisiana, Texas, Colorado (where this species doesn't even live), and has landed in my own inbox from people claiming it was a friend of theirs numerous times.
It is, in my estimation, probably about 4 to 4.5 feet long, and maybe 8 or 9 lbs. This is a common trick of perspective, where the snake is held at the end of a pole and looks massive due to the lack of depth perception from a single camera lens. The LARGEST of these animals would be in the low 7 foot range, with a weight of around 15 lbs. A 44lb snake would be more than double the record of the largest rattlesnake found anywhere, which would be like finding a person the size of a 2 story building walking around somewhere.
While this is a big snake, it's nowhere near a record breaker. It's also absolutely not from Arkansas, because this species is not found there. You do have a species of diamondback there (Western Diamondback), but very different and not as large.
A wildlife blog post from "Living Alongside Wildlife: A natural history of the fascinating animals that share our landscapes" includes this same picture and explains in great detail why it's a fake.
The blog states that on Sunday, the photo was posted on the web with the claim it had been taken in Pangburn.
If you Google the phrase "rattlesnake hoax picture" you'll find a few more examples of similar photos.
Original story (February 3):
A man in Dallas County sent us a picture of an extremely large snake he says he killed.
The man claims the rattle snake weighs in at 44 pounds and had 22 rattlers.
According to Steve "Wildman" Wilson with Arkansas Game and Fish, the snake looks real.