Photo credit:

Kevin Hutcherson

Common name

Western Pygmy Rattlesnake

Scientific name

Sistrurus miliarius streckeri

Conservation Status

Least Concern

Federal and State Protections

State Protected in Tennessee

Countries of Occurrence

United States of America

States or Providence 

Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee


Adult size

16in (40cm) – 25in (63cm)

Species Description

Western Pygmy Rattlesnakes are often a pale gray with less spots than the Dusky or Carolina Pygmies. Their dorsal stripe is also a bronze or dull orange color compared to the red of their sister subspecies. They prefer a variety of habitats across their range, in Arkansas they are associated with cedar thickets, in Louisiana and east Texas they are found in dry pine uplands, and in Tennessee they are found around the edges of lakes and swamps.

This subspecies has faced severe range declines in East Texas, Missouri and Louisiana due to habitat loss and possible human persecution. Diseases such as the fungus Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola , a.k.a. Snake Fungal Disease (SFD) may also play in role in the decline populations with shorter warm seasons and ability to thermoregulate over-winter.

Like all Pygmy Rattlesnake subspecies, they target a variety of prey including amphibians, lizards and rodents. Young are born with yellow-tipped tails to assisting in luring prey.

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