(Natchitoches Parish Journal)- After recently rescuing an abandoned baby bunny, Doris Whatley was picking clover on April 25 and saw Tux, her three legged rescue pup, shaking a snake in his mouth. She came back inside and got her husband in case it turned out to be a coral snake and not a king snake.
“I looked up the poem, ‘red touches black friend of Jack, red touches yellow kills a fellow’ before having Dan finish killing it with a shovel,” she said.
When she posted the initial picture on Facebook, several friends commented that it was the biggest coral snake they’d ever seen and asked how long it was? So on April 26 Doris went outside and stretched it out on a picnic table bench and measured it. It turned out to be 34 inches long.The previous longest in Louisiana was 32.4 inches.
So she researched the species online and discovered that they’re usually found in the Mississippi River Valley, and they generally don’t get much over two feet long.
In her research, Doris found a page about snakes, with pictures, on the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries website. At the bottom of the page it gave the email address of Herpetologist Jeff Boundy who had posted the information in pictures. He’s also written a book titled: Snakes of Louisiana.
Doris emailed Jeff the pictures and he replied, “That exceeds the largest coral snake from Louisiana, based on my study of about 240 specimens, the previous largest being 32.4 inches. The same species, Texas Coral Snake, approaches four feet long in open country to the west.”
He asked if Doris would save the specimen for him, so she put the snake in a jar and covered it with rubbing alcohol. An agent who passes by Natchitoches on a regular basis will deliver it to Jeff in Baton Rouge.