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Dusky Pygmy Rattlesnake

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Is the Dusky Pygmy Rattlesnake right for you?

Species group:

Other common names: Barbour’s Rattlesnake; Florida Ground Rattlesnake

Scientific name: Sistrurus miliarius barbouri

The basics:
This attractively-colored venomous snake is quite small, and sometimes tempts private snake keepers to try their hand at venomous snake care. However, as is true for all venomous species , the Dusky Pygmy Rattlesnake should be enjoyed only in zoos or the wild.

The Dusky Pygmy Rattlesnake is native to the Southeastern United States, where it ranges from southern South Carolina to the Florida Keys and west to southeastern Mississippi.

Typical habitats include sandy, open pine and scrub oak forest, palmetto woods, Everglades prairie, and moist, overgrown fields.

Appearance / health:
The background color is dark gray and marked with 3 rows of dark lateral spots and a reddish-brown dorsal stripe. Dusky Pygmy Rattlesnakes top out at 12-24 inches in length, with a record of 31 inches.

Zoo specimens are generally hardy and have lived to age 15+.

Behavior / temperament:
Dusky Pygmy Rattlesnakes face many predators in the wild and tend to remain defensive or shy and retiring in zoos.

Housing:
Venomous snake species are not suitable as pets in private collections. It is impossible for a private snake owner to adequately prepare for or treat a venomous snakebite, or, prior to a bite, to arrange for treatment in a hospital.

Diet:
The natural diet includes harvest mice, young chipmunks, crickets, and other large insects, lizards, salamanders and frogs. Zoo specimens are fed small mice.

Breeding:
Females give birth to 2-32 live young in July-September. Pygmy Rattlesnakes are 4-7.5 inches long at birth.

Written by Frank Indiviglio