Missouri’s largest venomous snake is dangerously venomous, but there are few cases of rattlesnake bites in our state. It frequents rough country, is mostly nocturnal in summer and few Missourians ever encounter it.
This shy, reclusive, nonaggressive rattlesnake used to live in floodplain wetlands of the Mississippi, Missouri and Grand rivers, but as those wetlands have been drained and destroyed, the massasauga has disappeared with them. Now it is an endangered species.
The western pygmy rattlesnake is small and colorful, with a slender tail and tiny rattle. The sound of the vibrating rattle is a faint buzz that is like the sound of a grasshopper. It’s found in some Missouri counties bordering with Arkansas and in the eastern Missouri Ozarks.
MDC protects and manages Missouri's fish, forest, and wildlife resources. We also facilitate your participation in resource-management activities, and we provide opportunities for you to use, enjoy and learn about nature. Read more about our mission.