Dusky Pygmy Rattlesnake
Sistrurus miliarius barbouri
Federal and State Protections
Countries of Occurrence
United States of America
Usually 18in (46cm), record length 31in (79cm)
States or Providence
Florida, Georgia, Alabama, southeastern Mississippi, extreme southeastern South Carolina
One of the smallest subspecies of rattlesnake on average, the Dusky Pygmy is common in the southeastern US. In some localities of Florida and southern Georgia they are common, often drifting into urban areas (especially new development). It is noticeable due to its darker coloration and additional row of spots on the side. Dusky Pygmies prefer low-lying areas such as wetland edges and pine flatwoods, but may be found in sandhill habitats and even into salt marsh and cypress swamps.
They are a generalist predator, taking prey such as lizards, amphibians, rodents and even invertebrates (centipedes).
Eptifibatide, a medicine used to help prevent blood clots & heart attacks is produced using unique venom components from the Dusky Pygmy Rattlesnake.
To date, there have been no recorded deaths from Dusky Pygmy rattlesnake envenomations.
Dusky pygmies are common across much of their range, though become rare in states outside of Florida & southeastern Georgia. They are threatened by habitat loss (forest succession resulting in soil changes & reduced hibernacula) and invasive pentastome (crustacean) worms that came from invasive Burmese pythons in south Florida, which infect the lungs of these small snakes.
Carolina Pygmy rattlesnakes and Dusky Pygmy rattlesnakes are known to interbreed in regions of central Georgia and southern South Carolina.