Huge timber rattler picture from Kentucky is real (UPDATE: Maybe?)

Here is exactly what you want to know is lurking in the Kentucky woodlands on this nice summer eve – a four foot long rattler. Yay.

Casey County brothers find 52 inch rattlesnake.

John Wethington says he and his brother came across a more than four foot long rattlesnake. They found it near Coffman Branch Road.

Wethington says they killed the snake. A taxidermist estimates the snake to be around 52 inches long.


I have mixed feeling about them killing it. It certainly lived a full life. I hope the remains can be donated and studied. Snakes are valuable predators in the ecosystem and rarely are a danger to people.

Expert weighs in on viral snake pic.

A picture of a Casey County man holding up a more than 50-inch long timber rattlesnake has gotten a lot of buzz on the internet and it’s our most-clicked on story of the year on

The Director of the Kentucky Reptile Zoo, Jim Harrison, estimates the snake in the picture to be about 20 years old, based on its size.

“Timber rattlers have decent populations in the state, but in most states they’re dropping off because they have to be between the ages of four and six years old to be sexually mature,” said Harrison. “When they have babies, they’ll have 11 and only two will be female.”

“I think they’re lucky that they didn’t get bitten because a vast majority of bites occur because people are irritating the snake,” said Wiley.

Harrison says if you happen upon one of these snakes out in the wild your best bet is to not do anything at all.

This is not a record-sized snake but it does indicate the population may be doing very well and falls within the range of known size for these animals. (Editors Note: after consulting with an expert, I fixed this sentence.) Note that the pictures make the snake look menacing large. And, in the video below, while a rattler is shown, they are actually handling a different non-venomous snake.


UPDATE: Hang on, maybe I jumped in too fast with this one. In neither of the pieces is it mentioned where the snake body went. So, until the claimants come up with that, I will withhold judgement on whether it is a real an accurate picture. or something less than real. Any additional comments are welcome to either confirm or disconfirm this story. Check out this piece on forced perspective on rattlesnakes. Very good.

  2 comments for “Huge timber rattler picture from Kentucky is real (UPDATE: Maybe?)

  1. Kev
    July 24, 2013 at 10:11 PM

    It’s a classic “lookit my giant snake” photo, where it’s held out much closer to the camera to exaggerate its size. So yeah, show us that snakes’ body against a measuring tape.

  2. lagaya
    July 25, 2013 at 4:03 PM

    Where did they find the 3 foot tall man to hold it?

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