This photograph been circulating in recent weeks – a Western Diamondback Rattlesnake coiled in a potted plant. It has, as these things tend to do, taken on a life of its own since then and the waft of BS is all over social media.
Is this photograph real?
Yes it is – it’s really nothing out of the ordinary. This is a Western Diamondback Rattlesnake from somewhere in the eastern end of its range (more than likely Texas). It’s sitting in a potted plant, which is both cool and humid, which anyone living outdoors right now is into.
What isn’t real?
The misinformation surrounding where this has been posted is inaccurate. It’s currently circulating around gardening groups, community pages, and anywhere that trolls and needy personalities find useful to scare people for attention. Western Diamondback Rattlesnakes do not live anywhere near Oregon, Idaho, Ohio, northern California, Florida, or many of the places it’s been claimed to originate. It’s also not from Arizona, as we have seen several claim already.
What is really interesting about this, but not too surprising:
The number of people who post this with false information who claim that it is their own photograph, and first-hand experience. To anyone tasked with unraveling the waves of bad information and personality disorders associated with rattlesnake misinformation, this is a normal phenomenon. Many who spread misinformation like this do so without knowing that it’s already been shared thousands of times at this point, so claims like “this morning in my garden”, often posted from locations where this could not possibly have happened, are extra silly.
Should I worry about this and stop gardening?
Absolutely not. Realize this is viral for a reason: it’s interesting, unusual (to most), and meant to get you excited, scared, worried, or whatever else you may be feeling. If anything at all, if you live in an area where rattlesnakes do occur, just take it as a reminder that rattlesnakes could be found in your garden at some point, and take the necessary precautions.
Why do people prefer misinformation to reality?
Who knows. But with rattlesnakes in particular, it is very common.