Your question sent me on a fascinating journey learning about
rattlesnakes. Following your suggestion to search for ?texas
rattlesnake? I immediately found the Urban Legends Reference Pages
that claim the snake is 9 feet long and weighs 97 pounds.
Claim: Photograph shows a 9-foot rattlesnake caught in Texas. (9 feet,
1 inch - 97 lbs.)
The proportions seem impossible. A nine foot snake weighing 97 pounds
would be ten pounds per foot and the appearance of the snake in the
picture doesn?t seem to be that hefty. It also seems unlikely that the
pole could support the weight and the man holding it could hoist 97
pounds so casually.
After some further investigation I found a page from a zoo that gives
a formula for the length-weight relationship of rattlesnakes which
states that ?a seven-foot wild rattler would weigh about 15 pounds and
an eight-foot snake would weigh 23 pounds.? According to this formula
a nine-foot snake could not possibly weigh 97 pounds.
Length: Some of the smallest species of rattlesnakes seldom exceed 2
feet in length, and some may exceed 6 feet (if they survive man and
Weight: Using a formula of length-weight relationships, a seven-foot
wild rattler would weigh about 15 pounds and an eight-foot snake would
weigh 23 pounds.
I next investigated Texas rattlesnakes and discovered the two largest
rattlesnakes found in Texas are the Western Diamondback and the Timber
Rattlesnake. I found that Western Diamondbacks average 3-4 feet and
the longest one found was about 84 inches or 7 feet. Another reference
showed a Western Diamondback that was 5 feet long and about 15 pounds.
Timber Rattlesnakes grow to about 100 inches and weigh up to 2 pounds.
WESTERN DIAMONDBACK RATTLESNAKE (CROTALUS ATROX)
Western Diamondback Rattlesnake
The Western diamondback rattlesnake is the largest western
rattlesnake. It has a plump body, a short tail, and a broad,
triangular head that is very distinct from the body. It can be
yellowish gray, pale blue, or pinkish and has dark diamond shape marks
down its back.
Western Diamondback Rattlesnake
The Western Diamondback Rattlesnake is the most commonly encountered
rattlesnake in Texas. The Western Diamondback is the longest
rattlesnake in the state, and one of the two heaviest (the other is
the Timber Rattlesnake). The record length is over 213 cm (84 in);
adults found in the wild typically measure between 0.91-1.21 m (3-4
(western diamondback rattlesnake)
Body length: ~1.5 meters Body weight: up to 6.7 kg.
6.7 kg. = 14.7709716 lb.
1.5 meters = 4.9212599 feet
TIMBER RATTLESNAKE (CROTALUS HORRIDUS)
Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus)
Timber rattlesnakes have wide heads and narrow necks?a typical
distinction of all venomous snakes except coral snakes (Micrurus
fulvius). Timber rattlers are the second largest venomous snake in
Texas and third largest in the United States. Adult timber
rattlesnakes reach a length of 36 to 40 inches (91 to 101 cm), and
weigh 1.3 to 2 pounds (0.58 to 0.9 kg).
Crotalus horridus (timber rattlesnake)
500 to 1000 g; avg. 750 g
(17.6 to 35.2 oz; avg. 26.4 oz)
Adult timber rattlesnakes range from 36-60 inches (90-152 cm) in
length, and the record length for the species is 74.5 in. (189.2 cm).
They exhibit sexual dimorphism; the males are larger, weighing around
2.0 lb. while the females weigh on an average 1.3 lb.
Canebrake rattlesnake, Timber rattlesnake
I continued my explorations to see if some snake that was similar to
Texas rattlesnakes might be bigger and heavier and closer to the claim
made regarding your picure. I found that Eastern Diamondback
Rattlesnake is larger than the Western Diamondback. The record holder
was found in the Everglades National park and measured not quite 8
feet and 20 pounds.
EASTERN DIAMONDBACK RATTLESNAKE (CROTALUS ADAMANTEUS)
Class: Reptilia (Reptiles)
Genus: Crotalus and Sistrurus, with Crotalus species being the largest
and most widespread
Length: Largest?eastern diamondback Crotalus adamanteus at up to 8
feet (2.4 meters); smallest?ridge-nosed rattlesnake Crotalus willardi
at 12 inches long (30.5 centimeters). Most species are 24 to 48 inches
long (61 to 122 centimeters).
Weight: eastern diamondback?4 to 10 pounds (1.8 to 4.5 kilograms);
ridge-nosed rattlesnake?3 to 4 ounces (85 to 113 grams)
COMMON NAME: Eastern diamondback rattlesnake, diamondback rattlesnake
GENUS SPECIES: Crotalus (rattle) adamanteus (hard as steel, refers to
diamonds)SIZE: Adults average 1.2 m (4 ft.), reaching lengths up to
2.4 m (8 ft.); newborn snakes measure 30-35 cm (12-14 in)
WEIGHT: Average weight is 2.3 kg (5 lb.); maximum weight is 4.5 kg (10 lb.)
Q. What are the world records for weight and length for an eastern
The eastern diamondback rattlesnake is the largest venomous snake in North America.
More recently, snake expert G.H. Dalrymple listed one of the rattlers
in his research area in Everglades National Park at 94.1 inches and 20
pounds. (You do the math on that 94.1 inches. I'd mess it up. OK, OK.
It's just under 8 feet.) "That's an absolutely giant eastern
diamondback," he says.
Next I investigated whether there might be snakes found in Texas that
are not rattlesnakes and might match your picture. I found that the
three snakes of the genus Pituophis (gopher, bull, pine snake) are
sometimes thought to ?imitate? rattlesnakes because of the way the
hiss and posture. They are also similar in markings to rattlesnakes.
However, they are not venomous. They can reach up to 9 feet. I wasn?t
able to find information about their weight but I don?t believe
there?s any chance that they would weight 97 pounds as claimed about
the snake in your picture.
PITUOPHIS (GOPHER, BULL, PINE SNAKES)
gopher snake (Pituophis melanoleucus)
Large and heavy-bodied, the gopher snake is reported to reach 9 feet
(275 cm) in length, but 4 feet (120 cm) is more common.
Pituophis melanoleucus, Gopher Snake
Origin: Central US east of Rockies to western Indiana, southern Canada
through Northeast Mexico
Size: 5 ft average max size 9ft
Pine Snake Pituophis melanoleucus
Description 48-100" (122-254 cm). Large and powerfully built; small
head. Light-colored with black or brown blotches on back and sides, or
When confronted, the Pine Snake hisses loudly, sometimes flattening
its head and vibrating its tail like a rattlesnake. It may then lunge
at the intruder and strike. Its bite is not venomous.
Bullsnake (Genus: Pituophis (gopher, bull, and pine snakes)
Length: can grow to more than 8 feet long.
Pine Snake (Pituophis Melanoleucus)
Bull Snake (Pituophis Sayi)
Gopher Snake (Pituophis Catenifer)
The snakes of the genus Pituophis, which consists of the pine, bull
and gopher snakes, are among the largest North American colubrids. ?
All three species are large bodied snakes that average six feet in
length, with some reaching as much as eight feet. The markings on all
three species are similar, although there is some differentiation with
the background colors.
Here is a collection of images to help you compare and evaluate the
various snakes that might match the one in your picture. It looks like
some of them might be 9 feet long but none are anywhere near 97
IMAGES OF SIMILAR SNAKES
"western diamondback" OR crotalus atrox
"Timber Rattlesnake" "Crotalus horridus"
"eastern diamondback" "Crotalus adamanteus"
"Gopher Snake" "Pituophis Catenifer"
"Pine Snake" "Pituophis melanoleucus"
"Bull Snake" "Pituophis Sayi"
Pituophis gopher OR bull OR pine snake
I hope the information I?ve found will help you with your discussions
with your friend.
All the best.
~ czh ~