Western Pygmy Rattlesnake

Viperidae (vipers and pit vipers) in the order Squamata (lizards and snakes)

This is one of the smallest species of rattlesnakes in North America. General color is light grayish-brown, with a row of small, dark brown spots on the back and similar spots on each side. Most specimens also have a rust-colored stripe down the back. The belly is usually gray. The pygmy rattlesnake has a thin tail and a tiny rattle. The sound of the vibrating rattle is a faint buzz like the sound of a grasshopper.

Length averages from 15 to 20 inches (38-51 cm).
Habitat and conservation: 
This species lives under rocks on cedar glades and is so secretive that few people encounter it. Some people know it as the "ground rattler."
Food includes small lizards, snakes, frogs and mice.
Distribution in Missouri: 
Counties bordering Arkansas and the eastern Missouri Ozarks.
Human connections: 
Although the bite of this species is not fatal, a bite victim should seek immediate medical attention. The pygmy rattlesnake should be respected and left alone.