Expert weighs in on viral snake pic

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) – A picture of a Casey County man holding up a more than 50-inch long timber rattlesnake has gotten a lot of buzz on the internet and it's our most-clicked on story of the year on

The Director of the Kentucky Reptile Zoo, Jim Harrison, estimates the snake in the picture to be about 20 years old, based on its size.

"Timber rattlers have decent populations in the state, but in most states they're dropping off because they have to be between the ages of four and six years old to be sexually mature," said Harrison. "When they have babies, they'll have 11 and only two will be female."

While the timber rattlesnake isn't considered endangered in Kentucky, according to Jim and his wife Kristen Wiley, it is in other surrounding states like Indiana and Ohio.

So, it's pretty rare to see one out in the wild.

The man in the picture and his brother were cutting timber when they spotted the rattler and then killed it.

"I think they're lucky that they didn't get bitten because a vast majority of bites occur because people are irritating the snake," said Wiley.

Harrison says if you happen upon one of these snakes out in the wild your best bet is to not do anything at all.

"Stand still, look at the animal and move away from them," he said. "They cannot strike more than half their body."

The longest rattlesnake ever discovered was about 74 inches long, according to Harrison.

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