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Posted by carlfranklin on January 04, 2003 at 11:34:11:
In Reply to: Agkistrodon piscivorus - size max posted by bonita on January 03, 2003 at 22:58:33:
There have been cottonmouths in Texas just over 5 feet, but none to date at 7 feet. The closest one is the Eastern cottonmouth that has been documented at 74 inches. The Brown water snake (Nerodia taxispilota) gets upwards to 5 feet but doesn't occur in Texas Smiling politely and silently nodding works well in dealing with lots of claims made by the general public regarding snake size.
Lord only knows how many times I've been told about 10-12 foot rattlers in Texas.
To answer your other question, yes it is possible for snakes of the same species to be a different size in different areas. There are populations of western diamondback rattlesnakes in South Texas and Dallas County upwards to 6 feet. Whereas I haven't seen anything that large in other places. Competition for resources, abundance of food, etc are all factors that can play a role in how big an animal in any given area grows.
An interesting example is an ancient broad banded copperhead on display at the Abeline zoo. This animal is one of the oldest copperheads on record and might be as long as 15 inches. According to the former herp curator it wasn't really fed that much. I also believe that the amount of food snakes receive in their youth will greatly influence their size as adults.
:I'm continuosly fighting battles with folk on the subject of size ratios in Cottonmouths and watersnakes. I know what the "textbook" average claims, but I haven't personally experienced anything larger than 4 foot in either species. Can anyone say they've ever seen Cottonmouths or Watersnakes (any kind) as large as seven feet in this area? Larger? How about in other areas? Is it possible that max size can be expected at different lengths in different areas?