Mixsonian Larry

Something of a Serpent

Florida at that time was still somewhat a wild place with bear, wild boar,  panthers and snakes, lots of snakes.  

Ocala Evening Star, Aug 9, 1904

Something of a Serpent

Should go in the Same Category with the Withlacoochee Whale and the Oklawaha Octopus


   The Levy County Advocate in its last issue gave a most thrilling rattlesnake adventure which John M Mixson had with a monster denizen of "Burnt Hill" a great thorny thicket near the head of Turkey Creek and the home of reptiles and chased bear and panther. Mr. Mixson's blood curdling experience was  acquired in hunting a bear in that section, and in the excitement of the chase his horse stumbled over what was supposed to be a log. The overhanging vines unhorsed Mr. Mixson, who, throwing back his hands, struck the supposed log and was surprised to find it moving. The snake now thoroughly angered by the dogs and horse, quickly coiled and struck at the half-paralyzed man who hardly had strength enough left to jump to one side when the mighty death blow fell upon a small tree about eight inches in diameter and completely severed it. Mr. Mixson will probably never go into Gulf Hammock hunting again except in the open game season when snakes I are supposed to be in their dens. Mr. Mixson, when he recovered, shot the reptile eleven times. It measured 19 feet and 7 inches and had 34 rattles.


Daytona Gazette & News, Oct 22, 1904 added further details: "the snake weighed 220 lbs., It took Mr. Mixson 11 loads of buckshot to kill the beast.  The hide was sent to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC"

Note: In 2023 I contacted the Smithsonian to see if they had any record of receiving the snakeskin and they sayd they did not. They also said that rattlesnakes said the largest rattlesnake on record was 8 feet three inches thus the snake in the story was likely 9 feet not 19 feet.

Updated: 02-19-2024