Atoka County, Oklahoma

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Large Timber Rattlers

At the time of the event that gave rise to my questions, I was not educated at all about snakes, so when I saw a large timber rattler in a very thick river bottom, I killed it measured it the best I could, and took its rattles. I and a friend were turkey hunting in the Fall of 2001, on property I owned in Atoka County, Oklahoma in Clear Boggy bottom just southwest of Bentley by about 4 miles. I almost stepped right on this snake, which looked just like a large tree limb lying across the path. Almost stepping on this huge snake, scared me so badly, I reacted automatically and shot it. I have regretted that ever since. In any event, I and my hunting buddy both estimated the snake at over 6.5 feet long. We arrived at this figure because it was over 6 inches longer than my 6 foot tall friend. We were close to two miles from my cabin on foot and had to wade cross a substantial creek and several sloughs. So we chose to take the 16 rattles as proof and left the rest of the snake where I found it. Later I learned that the snake was exceptionally large for the species and could have possibly been one of the largest ever in Oklahoma. My question is how common is that large a snake and how old would it likely be to have grown that large? Assuming my estimate is correct, where would this snake rank among records of large timber rattlesnakes? Unfortunately, neither of us carried camera phones that day, and I don’t remember if they were even in use in 2001.

Answered

Atoka County OK almost 2 years ago

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