Another mass e-mailing and it ends up being another hoax. What are the odds?
These days about 90%. Seriously.
The story with the mailing is that some poor guy went deer hunting in the Carolinas and came across a mess of rattlers. So many, in fact, that he offered up his deer blind to anybody who wanted to hunt from it. He was quitting.
Rattlesnakes back east are either eastern diamondbacks or more likely timber rattlesnakes. Neither are in great numbers. Finding a huge number would be very, very rare.
Checking the photos I noticed the snakes were thinner and had a different scale pattern than any timbers I’ve seen in Kansas. The banding on the tail also didn’t look right.
I sent the pics to Joe Collins, a world-class herpetologist from Lawrence. He immediately identified the snakes as western diamondbacks. They don’t live anywhere east of the Mississippi River, let alone the Carolinas. The black and white bands on the tails of these rattlesnakes help identify them as eastern diamondbacks. Unfortunately I don’t have the real story behind the pile of headless snakes. I’d guess they’re probably from west Texas, where they’re pretty danged common.
I’ll never know for sure.
But it’s just one more reason many people now open such ‘net mailings with a built-in skepticism.
What a shame.