Emanuel County Canebrake Had 20 Rattles

This rattlesnake was huge, with more rattles than we've ever heard of.

Brad Gill | July 29, 2013

Hunting buddies Steve Taylor, Jerry Rushing Jr. and Adam  Waters, all of Statesboro, were riding 4-wheelers on some Emanuel County property in Covena when they rode up on a giant timber rattlesnake.

“We have killed several diamondbacks and a few timber rattlers, but this one was a freak,” said Steve. “The snake was 5 1/2-feet long and had 20 rattles and a button. Everybody says it has got to be some kind of record.”

Adult timber rattlers are known to grow to about 5 feet. The largest known timber ever reported was just longer than 6 feet.

“The snake was 15 yards away on a log when I noticed it while I was waiting on Jerry and Adam to catch up,” said Steve. “At first I thought it was several snakes. I shot her with rat shot from a .40-caliber pistol. When my cousin, who is a taxidermist, skinned her, she had seven eggs in her. We think they were gopher tortoise eggs.”

The sound of a rattlin’ rattlesnake will strike fear in most men—and that is nature’s intention. The muscles that cause the rattle to shake fire about 50 times per second.

The number of rattles don’t determine the age of a snake. At birth, a rattlesnake has a button. A new rattle is added each time the snake sheds its skin, a snake might shed its skin several times a year. Rattlesnakes travel with their rattles held up, but they still often break off rattles.

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