Vintage MONSTER rattlesnake photo

About 25 years ago, someone gave me this photo of a monster rattlesnake allegedly in Texas. While the length on the snake is hard to tell, the girth is definitely impressive. It almost looks like an eastern diamondback, a snake quite a bit thicker than our western diamondback in Texas.


In other words, the snake could be from Florida or somewhere else along the eastern seaboard. The man is holding the snake away from his body which makes it appear larger than it is but this is without question an extra big rattlesnake.

I am trying to find out two things about this photo.

1. Does anyone have any verifiable history on it-old magazine articles, news clippings, etc?

2. Has anyone seen this attributed to a specific area?

Tracking down the origin of some of these photos is fun and this has been one that has interested me for years.

Chester Moore, Jr.


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  1. David Velau

    this isn’t a Western Diamondback, think is a Eastern diamondback

    In the late seventies the Freer Rattlesnake round Up had a seven foot westernback and weighed eighteen pounds, we sold the snake to Sea O’ Rama in Galveston, Texas!

  2. Bobby Adams

    I would like to help shed some light on your old black/white photo of the Eastern Diamondback. I was one of the founding members of a Snake Handling group called “Snakes Unlimited” during the late 70’s and into the early 90’s.
    We worked the show pits at almost every major Rattlesnake Roundup in southern U.S. We educated and entertained the folks that attended these roundups. That pic had circulated the roundups every since I can remember, it and hundreds of others over the years. And the one thing they all have in common is an old photographers trick called forced perspective, and it has been used to perpetuate the myth of the “monster snake” for years. The pic you seek information on is supposedly from South Carolina, but that pic has had dozens of names and places attached to it over the years. But if you look at all the pics over the years of supposedly giantic, huge, monsterous snakes, you’ll see forced perspective used over and over.. I’m sure you’ve seen it hundreds of times as well with fish, hogs, deer, etc… Its a simple optical illusion. All those pics have the monsterous, incredibly huge, (insert type of creature here) in the forground closer to the camera than the person object used to reference the size of the creature. While yes some of those pics are of legitimately large snakes, they are never the exaggerated size they are “sworn” to
    to be. And Mr Velau is correct about the Freer snake, it was legit. Matter of fact the Freer Rattlesnake roundup was the “holy grail” of snake shows for us handlers because Freer had the biggest snakes, friendliest people, greatest parties, and very tolerant law enforcement. I will never forget setting the record for the crawling out of a sleeping bag headfirst with 101 western diamondbacks in the bag back in the late 80’s at the Freer show. Good times..
    Hunt safe, shoot straight, kiss cobras
    Bobby Adams

    • Chester

      Thanks Bobby. Good information on some of the history. As noted in the history, there is no doubt it is a big snake and it is held out to look bigger but it is well before the era of photoshop. I suspected it is an eastern diamondback just from basic girth. This example of the pic is kind of blurry so some details are foggy. It would be neat to find out if the snake was say 7, 8 feet long etc and put a name to a face. I appreciate you giving some history on the rattlesnake exhibitions.

      You mention free and big rattlesnakes-true. I have a copy of a Harper’s Magazine from 1845 with an article about rattlesnakes that said, “The Texas-Mexico border has the biggest rattlesnakes in the world”. Obviously they were not acquainted with the eastern diamondback but I do know those snakes down there are monsters. I would love to talk with you some time about your experiences and certainly see any photos.

      Chester Moore
      TF&G: Editor-In-Chief

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