WESTERN PYGMY RATTLESNAKE


Scientific name: Sistrurus miliarius streckeri

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

Description

The Western Pygmy Rattlesnake, often called the "Ground Rattler", is a heavy-bodied snake. The body of the snake is tan, grey, or even 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 Western 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 Western 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 Western Pygmy Rattlesnake has a large, triangular head that is wider than the neck when viewed from above.

Distribution

In the United States, the Western Pygmy Rattlesnake is found in Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas.
Map of US states the Western 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.

Western Pygmy Rattlesnake
Photo used by permission:
© 2004 Brad Moon

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