Giant Italian Snake

Posted by: Loren Coleman on November 25th, 2008

A big snake on a hiking path in San Gimignano, Italy. Contemporary photo, credit Travelpod.

The Irish Times for November 24, 2008, shares a tidbit from their archives, dated December 28, 1933. The article entitled “Italy’s ‘Loch Ness Monster,” actually shows the media impact of the-then beginning explosion of international interest in the new Loch Ness Monster reports.

It reads:

Italy’s “Loch Ness monster,” which appeared in the Pantano Marshes, near Syracuse, Sicily, and struck a man dumb with fright for three months, has been lured out of its hiding place by music.

The “monster” turns out to be a snake, possibly between 15 and 20ft long of a kind not previously known in Italy. An expert says it may be 100 years old.

An armed expedition of 10 men set out into the marshes, preceded by a professional snake-charmer playing his musical instrument. After two hours the party found the “monster.”

One of the men said later: “About 50 feet from us was a huge serpent-like creature, bigger than anything we had expected. Two gleaming eyes glared angrily at us out of a rather crushed-looking head. Its tail beat the ground in fury and its body quivered. Two of us fired at it with both barrels, but it dropped down and quickly slithered into the undergrowth. We shall certainly go out for it again.”

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

12 Responses to “Giant Italian Snake”

  1. Loren Coleman responds:

    Folks, for those thinking of leaving comments about the photograph and saying it does not look 20 feet long, please stop and re-read the above posting again.

    One is a “contemporary” photograph used as an illustration, labeled a large snake in Italy. It was not mentioned as being 15-20 feet long.

    The other segment of this posting is a shared “archival” article clearly labeled as from 1933, of a reportedly giant snake seen in Italy.

  2. mystery_man responds:

    Wow. A huge snake undocumented in the area that may be 100 years old, so what do they do? Why, the only rational human thing to do in these situations. Go out and blast it to pieces with a double barreled shotgun. Groan.

    The part about beating the ground in fury and quivering seems a little exaggerated too, something they used to spice up the report. The same thing goes for the gleaming, angry eyes. To me, it just smacks of sensationalism and frankly doesn’t seem very typical snake like behavior. I imagine the report may have been more like it was a snake out minding its own business sunning itself on a rock and getting fired upon with a shotgun by a startled, trigger happy hunter.

  3. shumway10973 responds:

    Do the snakes there have a history of getting big? Has there been any found since that are anywhere near that size? Talk about your conditioned phobias…poor guy probably had a phobia of snakes after that.

  4. pitbulllady responds:

    Oh, Jees…why doesn’t someone declare open season on idiots already? I want to be the first in line to blast away at the morons who claimed with was a “15-20-ft. snake,” seriously.

    The human gene pool would be much better off if someone took a serious load of chlorine to it, starting with these guys in Italy. If that snake is 15 feet long, then those DANDELIONS blooming next to must be the size of hubcaps! It’s a common Italian species, the Western Whipsnake (Heirophis viridiflavus), a harmless Colubrid closely related to our North American Coachwhips, Whipsnakes and Racers, and at the most, it’s probably five feet long, if that much. At least, unlike the often-fuzzy photos of “big cats”, there’s something in the photo of a known size (especially to those of you who love an immaculately manicured lawn) to compare it to easily. I love snakes. I’ve never been afflicted with the irrational fear so many people have for them, and few things raise my ire worse than someone killing a harmless snake and boasting about as if they’d done the world a favor.

  5. camperwoman responds:

    That photo looks an awful lot like a speckled kingsnake. As for the quivering tail report, that is a common defense mechanism for non-venomous snakes. I guess it doesn’t matter if the snake is 20′ or 20″ long, instinct will kick in.

  6. ukulelemike responds:

    Come on, folks-the pic is not the snake from the article.

    Now, from the description, it sounds as though it could have been a rather smallish anaconda, smallish because they get 30 feet or more. It says the head looked rather crushed, and anacondas have small heads compared to their body, so it could seem crushed in comparison. And their eyes are close set on top and near the front of their head, which would seem more menacing looking directly at them. They also like marshes and watery areas, where this was found, and being heavy bodied, even a 15-20 footer looks impressive.

    As for the tail-thumping, your average bullsnake, (gopher snake) does the exact same thing, which is why so many people kill them, thinking they are rattlers. I’ve not known of any large snakes doing it, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they might if provoked.

    Sadly they don’t give any color description, so we’re limited in identification.

  7. Wutwuzit responds:

    lol Pitbulllady, thats not a picture of the 20 foot snake. Thats just a picture demonstrating the size of an average snake in the region.

  8. Dj Plasmic Nebula responds:

    that snake is beautiful oh my

  9. raisinsofwrath responds:


    Obviously you didn’t read the very first posted comment. I suggest you go back and do that.

  10. cryptidsrus responds:

    15-20 feet long. Ouch. I would pee all over myself if I were to see it.

  11. wisaaka responds:

    Let me get this straight: A guy sees a snake. people go out looking for it and find a snake 15-20 feet long. then, because obviously with the fact it hasnt attacked, killed, carjacked or even stolen anybodys wallet, adding to this its extremely rare (since nobody has apperently seen one in oh about 500 years of recorded history) and is previously unknown in Italy, the first thing they do is try to shoot it?
    I dont mean to demean any one here but that seems incredible stupid to me. wouldnt you want to at least take a picture of it and find out more about is movements (not like side to side, I mean around the swamp to and from food sources and the like). I mean honestly Its not like they just found bigfoot or an honest politician or something else that most people have trouble believing actually exist. I know Im sounding like Im missing the point a bit here, but that whole shooting thing strikes me as odd.

  12. twas brillig responds:

    Interesting the sighting took place in 1933, considering that’s the year the Nazi Party came into power. Legend has it that the the reptillian beings are really behind the Nazi mentality as well as much of the related mind control operations, having manipulated the RDNA in humans over many generations in order to make a more agressive force for their desired dominionism. SO we have a sighting of a Giant Serpent in 1933, as a symbolic gesture towards the “serpent race”.

    be wise as a serpent, harmless as a dove

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