Dusky Pygmy Rattler


Dusky Pygmy Rattlesnake on Pavement


The Dusky Pygmy Rattlesnake is the most common venomous snake in Florida. It is also referred to as the florida ground rattlesnake, southeastern ground rattlesnake, Barbour’s pygmy rattlesnake, hog nosed rattler, and small rattlesnake. It’s scientific name is: Sistrurus miliarius barbouri and is a venomous pitviper subspecies. The subspecific name, Barbouri, is in honor of American herpetologist Thomas Barbour.

Dusky Pygmy Rattlesnake on Leaves


The snake is gray in color with black blotches all over its body, including the underside. There is a series of nearly circular black markings on the middle of the back. with a dotted brick-red to orange line running right down the center of the back, between each black blotch.

Pygmy Rattlesnake with Hand for Proportion
Dusky Pygmy Rattler with Hand for Proportion


They are so small and have only a moderately strong venom so this prevents them from being a real severe threat to people, however the bite is still incredibly painful. It still requires hospitalization. This snake is very prone to biting and is responsible for more human snakebites than any other snake. Do not bank on hearing the rattle in advance as a warning, as it is quite thin and rather low in sound level. Children should definitely be educated about this animal. Because of its small size, a child may believe this to be a “harmless” snake.

Dusky Pygmy Rattle Crossing Road
Dusky Pygmy Rattler Crossing Road


They are active both in daytime and at night. Their diet includes lizards, amphibians, and rodents, eating mostly the first two. However if they are in captivity and fed rodents, they will grow bigger than they do in the wild.

Pygmy Rattler with Penny
Pygmy Rattler with Penny

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