Sistrurus miliarius — Pygmy Rattlesnake
Subspecies I've seen:
S. m. barbouri
Dusky Pygmy Rattlesnake
Sistrurus miliarius barbouri — Dusky Pygmy Rattlesnake
It took me three trips to the Everglades to find a snake, which is a pretty miserable track record. In my defense, all three trips were at the end of the year, not high snake season due to the relatively cool temperatures. This little charmer was coiled up a few feet from the trail around Eco-Pond, hoping nobody would notice it. Almost nobody did.
I had the privilege of herping in Lake Woodruff NWR this afternoon with professors Peter May and Terry Farrell and a few of their students. Lake Woodruff features many frogs, alligators, turtles, etc, but the highlight would have to be the beautiful and plentiful Pygmy Rattlesnakes. The recent flooding of much of the snake habitat slowed us down a little, but we slogged through the 18-inch-deep water and eventually found 7 or 8 of these tiny rattlers perched in palm fronds and other vegetation a foot or two above the water level. This one is probably about a year old, according to Dr. May.
For more about the wildlife of Lake Woodruff, check out Dr. May's web guide to this refuge.
This charming serpent was crossing the trail between the campground and the popular springs. When it completed its crossing, it coiled up next to the nearest tree.
- Stetson University has a great page on this species, with far better photos than mine from my friend Peter May.
- Ashton, R. E. Jr., Ashton, P. S. 1988. Handbook of Reptiles and Amphibians of Florida, Part One: The Snakes, Second Edition
- Behler, J. L., King, F. W. 1979. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles & Amphibians
- Carmichael, P., Williams, W. 1991. Florida's Fabulous Reptiles & Amphibians
- Conant, R., Collins, J. T. 1998. Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America, Third Edition, expanded
- Crother, B. I. (ed.) 2017. Scientific and Standard English Names of Amphibians and Reptiles of North America North of Mexico, with Comments Regarding Confidence in Our Understanding, Eighth Edition
- Smith, H. M., Brodie, E. D. Jr. 1982. Reptiles of North America: A Guide to Field Identification
- Tennant, A. 1997. A Field Guide to Snakes of Florida