A photo circulating on social media claims there’s a “snow snake” that causes one’s blood to freeze, and it has bitten several people in Pennsylvania and Ohio, but that’s not real.
The photo shows what appears to be either a rubber snake or an albino snake in the snow.
As of Friday afternoon, people were still sharing the image on Facebook, Twitter, via e-mail, and blog posts.
Here’s the post that accompanies the hoax image: “This is the deadly snow snake. It has bitten 3 people in the state of Ohio and one in Pennsylvania. It’s been spotted in other states. It comes out in the cold weather and at this time there is no cure for it’s bite. One bite and your blood starts to freeze. Scientist are trying to find a cure. Your body temperature start to fall once bitten. Please stay clear if you have see it. Please forward this and try to save as many people as we can from this deadly snow snake.”
However, the problem is that snakes, like all reptiles, are cold-blooded and would die if they went outside in freezing temperatures.
Snakes that live in colder areas go into a hibernation-like state called brumation during the winter months. They seek shelter or burrow under the ground where they can remain warm.
There’s also no snake venom that causes blood “to freeze.”
Some people are claiming that the snake has never been seen before due to deep-well natural gas drilling, known as fracking.
According to the Museum of Hoaxes, there’s been articles about alleged “snow” snakes since at least 1939.
Henry H. Tryon, the author of “Fearsome Critters,” wrote in the 1939 book that “during the year of the Two Winters, when the July temperature dropped to -62°, these pink-eyed, white-bodied, savage serpents crossed over from Siberia via Bering Strait. They are bad actors; the venom is deadly, with a speed of action second only to that of the Hoop Snake or the Hamadryad.”
The Museum of Hoaxes article also includes newspaper clippings from 1980 and 1965, with one saying that “all the world’s skiers [are] wary of snow snakes.”
However, these reports appear to be unfounded because again, snakes can’t survive in freezing temperatures.