Big Rattlesnake . . . but not that big

Got another of those hoax emails that seem to be circulating all the time. This one purports to show a giant rattlesnake captured in the St. Augustine area. Supposedly the snake was 15 feet long and "could easily swallow a two-year-old child."

The snake and the photos are real, according to, but the angles exaggerate the size. In reality, the Eastern diamondback rattler rarely exceeds eight feet. No rattlesnake has ever swallowed a human child. For Deadly Kingdom, I searched hard for any verifiable cases of snakes eating people--and came up empty. Big constricting snakes, such as Burnese pythons, have occasionally killed people, but without swallowing them afterward. In every case, the snake was a captive specimen.

Real rattlesnakes can be dangerous, of course, but more often things turn out as this case did: humans scared, snake dead.

My video on rattlesnakes:



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