Dusky Pygmy Rattlesnake

STATUSLeast Concern

COMMON NAME (SCIENTIFIC NAME)Sistrurus miliarius barbouri

DIETNestling birds, snakes, insects, frogs, small lizards, and rodents

RANGESouth Carolina to Florida and Southeastern Mississippi

HABITATSwamps, creeks, ponds, marshes, and dry forests

Dusky Pygmy Rattlesnake

Physical Description

The dusky pygmy rattlesnake is a venomous snake and grows to be 15-22 inches long with a thick body. Their color will range from light gray to dark gray with black, reddish brown, and/ or orange blotches.


Some predators they may encounter include raptors, mammals, and other snakes.


They live an average of 20 years.


They are ovoviviparous, which means that the female produces eggs she carries and hatches internally and gives live birth. Eggs will internally incubate for 4-6 months. In late summer or early fall, the female will give birth to 5-8 offspring.

Fun Facts

  • Because the dusky pygmy rattlesnake is so small and never has more than a few rattles on its tail, the shaking of their “rattle” sounds more like a buzzing sound.
  • This species will use heat sensing pits on their faces to locate warm-blooded prey.

Conservation Messaging

In our Reptile and Amphibian (RAD) center you will find many different reptiles and amphibians including venomous and poisonous species of snakes and frogs. Many of these animals fall victim to habitat loss in the wild. Many of the species here are found in South American habitats which are subjected to deforestation, damming of rivers, water pollution, and poor agricultural and management practices.

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