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Unknown Snake of the United States.

Variant names: Big Jim, Giant Pennsylvania 
Snake, Peninsula Python, Pete the Python, 
Salem serpent.

Physical description: Length, 8–30 feet. As big 
around as a stovepipe.

Behavior: Eats chickens. Can raise its neck 
and head in the air.

Tracks: As wide as an automobile tire track 
and 4 inches deep.

Habitat: Wetlands.

Distribution: A partial list of places where 
Giant North American snakes have been reported 
follows:

Alabama—Clanton, Kilpatrick.

Arkansas—Foreman.

Georgia—Seney.

Indiana—Adams County, Dubois County, 
Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Knox County, Orange 
County, Pike County, Ripley County, 
Shelby County.

Kansas—Fredonia.

Kentucky—Hazel.

Maryland—Hall’s Springs, Harford County.

Massachusetts—Bridgewater.

Michigan—Hastings, Salem.

Missouri—Lock Springs.

Montana—Cascade.

Nebraska—Holdrege.

New York—Dresden.

Ohio—Doylestown, Kenton, Loudonville, 
Peninsula, Rogues Hollow.

Oklahoma—Wewoka.

Pennsylvania—Allentown, Broad Top Mountains, 
Gettysburg, Jenners, Morgantown, 
Pocono Mountains, Somerset County, York 
County.

South Dakota—Moccasin Creek.

Tennessee—Nashville.

Texas—Ames.

Significant sightings: In January or February 
1871, a snake 38 feet 9 inches long and 43 
inches in circumference was killed near Fredonia, 
Kansas. However, in the nineteenth century, 
Kansas was widely regarded as an area for 
exaggeration and tall tales.

A dead snake 13 feet 6 inches long was found 
behind the Clyde Myers home near Doylestown, 
Ohio, on May 1, 1944. It was 6 inches in 
diameter and had bent and broken the tall grass 
in an area at least 30 feet in diameter with its 
thrashings. It was on display at a service station 
in Barberton for a week before health officials 
ordered it buried.

An 8-foot snake with a diamond shape on its 
flat head struck at Orland Packer’s horse as he 
was riding near Kenton, Ohio, on June 9, 1946.

The D. A. Crance family was driving next to 
Spy Run Creek in Fort Wayne, Indiana, on 
June 13, 1952, when they saw an 18-foot, grayish- 
blue snake with a head as big as a bulldog 
cross the road. The Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette 
nicknamed it “Pete the Python” after a hunt organized 
by Sheriff Harold Zeis had gone on for 
three days without finding anything. Additional 
sightings ended with a hoax story on June 18.

Eileen Blackburn was driving on I-15 south 
of Cascade, Montana, in October 1978 when 
she struck a snake 20–30 feet long that was lying 
in the road with its head and neck 2–3 feet in 
the air. It was gray-white with a tan stripe and 
had a flat head.

Clifton Louviere shot a 25-foot snake on his 
pig farm near Ames, Liberty County, Texas, on 
April 10, 1982. However, the carcass disappeared 
the next day, and Louviere supposed the 
snake had only been stunned.

Possible explanations: 
(1) The Black rat snake (Elaphe obsoleta 
obsoleta) typically grows no longer than 7 
feet, although an 8-footer has been 
recognized. It is a uniform black with faint 
spotting and is found in the east from 
Kansas to Connecticut. 
(2) The Northern black racer (Coluber 
constrictor constrictor) does not grow much 
longer than 6 feet. It is black, with dark, 
middorsal blotches, and is found from 
southern Maine to northern Alabama. The 
Southern black racer (C. c. priapus) is similar 
and ranges from southern Indiana to Florida. 
(3) The Eastern coachwhip (Masticophis 
flagellum flagellum) is typically 4–5 feet 
long, with oversize individuals reported up 
to 8 feet 6 inches. The head and neck are 
dark brown or black, gradating to a lighter 
color ventrally. Found in the South from 
North Carolina to Florida and west to 
Texas. 
(4) The Eastern cottonmouth (Agkistrodon 
piscivorus piscivorus) is a brown, black, or 
olive semiaquatic snake normally only 3–4 
feet long, with a maximum length of 6 feet. 
Its range is from southeastern Virginia to 
central Georgia. The Western cottonmouth 
(A. p. leucostoma) maxes out at 5 feet and is 
found from southern Illinois to Alabama 
and eastern Texas. 
(5) An escaped Indian python (Python 
molurus), an Asian snake that has an average 
length of 13 feet and an outsize length of 20 
feet.

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