Unknown Snake of the United States.
Variant names: Big Jim, Giant Pennsylvania
Snake, Peninsula Python, Pete the Python,
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.
Distribution: A partial list of places where
Giant North American snakes have been reported
Indiana—Adams County, Dubois County,
Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Knox County, Orange
County, Pike County, Ripley County,
Maryland—Hall’s Springs, Harford County.
Ohio—Doylestown, Kenton, Loudonville,
Peninsula, Rogues Hollow.
Pennsylvania—Allentown, Broad Top Mountains,
Gettysburg, Jenners, Morgantown,
Pocono Mountains, Somerset County, York
South Dakota—Moccasin Creek.
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.
(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
(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