CAROLINA PYGMY RATTLESNAKE


Scientific name: Sistrurus miliarius miliarius

The average size of a mature Carolina Pygmy Rattlesnake is 1 - 2 feet in length.

Description

The Carolina Pygmy Rattlesnake, often called the "Ground Rattler", is a heavy-bodied snake. The body of the snake is grey or reddish. A red or rust colored stripe often runs along the spine. The snake is marked by dark brown or black blotches along its spine that appear to cover the red stripe. There is also one or two rows of dark brown or black blotches on its sides. There is a dark cheek-stripe on both sides of the head that starts at the eye and runs diagonally down and backwards to the jaw above the mouthline. The bottom of the cheek-stripe is often edged in white. The top of the head is often marked by two stripes that continue on to the neck. The end of the tail has a small rattle on it that is seldom lounder than a buzzing insect, and is often not heard or even seen.

The Carolina Pygmy Rattlesnake is categorized as one of several primitive rattlesnakes in the genus Sistrurus. Unlike other rattlesnakes, these rattlesnakes have 9 enlarged scales on the top of their head.

The Carolina Pygmy Rattlesnake has elliptical pupils that look like cat's eyes and like all pit vipers, has a heat-sensing pit between the nostril and eye on each side of its head. The Carolina Pygmy Rattlesnake has a large, triangular head that is wider than the neck when viewed from above.

Distribution

In the United States, the Carolina Pygmy Rattlesnake is found in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.
Map of US states the Carolina Pygmy Rattlesnake is found in.
Map does not show area of true distribution, only the states in which there is a population.
Actual distribution in any highlighted state may be limited.

Carolina Pygmy Rattlesnake
Photo used by permission:
© 2003 John White

Carolina Pygmy Rattlesnake
Photo used by permission:
© 2007 Eric Marquette

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