For the second time in a week, photos have surfaced showing a massive rattlesnake on the slithery prowl near Jacksonville, Fla.
The latest photos, shared via Twitter by Derek Tyson, show an eastern diamondback rattlesnake crossing a golf cart path on Easter Sunday in Nocatee.
Tyson tweeted the images as a friendly warning to K9s For Warriors, whose nearby facility provides service dogs to veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and other ailments.
“Hey @k9sforwarriors, saw this large Eastern Diamondback rattler over by your facility on Sunday afternoon. Be careful with your dogs!” Tyson, a former ESPN sports recruiting analyst, wrote.
Tyson told News 4 that the cart path measured 10 feet across, and the snake nearly spanned the width of the path. “We’ve seen lots of snakes around here, but none that big,” he said. (Photos reveal a massive snake, but not close to 10 feet.)
Tyson told Fox News he was enjoying a drive with his wife and 5-month-old child when they spotted the “monster” rattler.
Many who saw his photos tweeted warnings of their own to friends, asking them to watch their step and to take steps to keep dogs safe.
The sighting occurred about a week after a plump 6-foot eastern diamondback rattlesnake was encountered in another area community (see video posted above).
A Facebook post about that sighting by Lindsey Nilsen – including photos and a brief (and profane) video clip – was shared nearly 100,000 times.
The eastern diamondback rattlesnake is the largest rattlesnake species and largest venomous snake in North America. Specimens can measure nearly 8 feet and weigh close to 30 pounds.
The snakes are native to Florida and play a vital role in maintaining healthy ecosystems, but that doesn’t make close encounters any less unnerving or potentially dangerous.
However, not everybody was impressed images circulating on the Internet.
A News 4 Facebook comment by Angie Vlacos Sams reads, “It kills me how people come out and build their homes on the animals’ land and they freak out when they see this. Get over it people; you’re in Florida.”
Rory Diamond, K9s For Warriors CEO, offered this response when reached by USA Today via email: “We’ve actually caught bigger on our campus.”
The sightings come at a time when rattlesnakes around the country are beginning to emerge from hibernation.
–Rattlesnake images are courtesy of Derek Tyson