Authored by Rodney Southern in Nature and Wildlife
Published on 09-26-2009
The pygmy rattlesnake is one of many different rattlesnakes that are found in the United States. The thing about the pygmy rattlesnake is that it is easily the smallest. This little snake is usually only about 20 inches long, and they are very rarely seen. Still, the pygmy rattlesnake packs quite a venomous wallop if you are bitten, and can not be ignored as one of the few venomous species of snakes in the US.
The pygmy is found primarily along the eastern seaboard and is prevalent in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and even into Tennessee. They love the sand hills but are often found near a water source such as a creek or stream. They avoid contact with humans on the whole, but they will not hesitate to bite if you attempt to mess with them.
One reason the pygmy is rarely seen is simply due to the fact that they are so small. The rattle is sounded like with other rattlesnakes, but people often do not even hear it due to the tiny size. This can be a real problem if the pygmy is able to strike at you and bite. Another reason the pygmy is rarely seen is just because of the incredible ability they have to blend into their surroundings. The colors of the pygmy rattlesnake are highly variable, and this allows them to blend into a number of environments. It is entirely possible that you have passed over a pygmy and never even knew it.
The base color of a pygmy rattlesnake can be anything from red to orange, and all the colors of the rainbow. Most often they are a reddish tan color, and they generally have a black stripe that that runs from the eye to the mouth. They also have a rows of spots that are common to most pygmy variations.
The pygmy rattlesnake is one that is nearly impossible for a person to hold without it biting you. No rattlesnake or venomous species should ever be held, but the pygmy is hard for even the experts to handle because of the small size. There is nothing much to grasp to safely handle the snake. Never attempt to pick up or mess with a pygmy rattlesnake.
While the pygmy rattlesnake bite is not as serious as some other venomous bites, it can still be a very dangerous bite. Depending on the person bit, the location of the bite, and the size of the snake among other things, a pygmy rattlesnake bite can be serious indeed. Any venomous snake bite should be treated as a medical emergency. Get help as fast as possible, and never underestimate the power of this toxic little snake.