The Smallest Rattlesnake

Pigmy rattlesnakes tend to be smaller than most other rattlesnakes, as the name pigmy would suggest. Learn more about the Pigmy rattlesnake:

Species / Names

The pigmy rattlesnake is sistrurus miliarius. Other names for a Pigmy rattlesnake are spotted rattler, spotted rattlesnake, pigmy ground rattlesnake, ground rattler, grey rattlesnake, bastard rattlesnake, southern rattlesnake, dwarf rattlesnake and small rattlesnake.


The pigmy rattlesnake is a venomous snake that is native to the southeastern continental United States. The pigmy rattlesnake is considered a subspecies of pitviper. Pigmy rattlesnakes produce a weak venom similar to all pitvipers. The “pit” in the name pitviper refers to a specialized organ in the snake’s head that can detect the heat generated from other living animals.


This snake lives in the southeastern United States. Pigmy rattlesnakes are known to live in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana. The pigmy rattlesnake prefers to live in wood areas and frequently lives around marshes or other water bodies like rivers or lakes. They live among hardwood hammocks and other woodland ecosystems.


The pigmy rattlesnake is a nocturnal animal. It is usually the most active during the hours after the sun has set at night.


An adult is a bit over half a meter in length and males and females are usually about the same size. Pigmy rattlesnakes tend to be smaller than most other rattlesnakes.


They are a greyish-blue coloration with red and black markings along the top and side of the body. The end of their tail tends to have a yellowish coloration and their head is mostly black and silver. There are three subspecies of pigmy rattlesnake with many local varieties so a general description is impossible to give.


They are carnivores. Adults eat mostly mice, small rats, small squirrels, birds, and other reptiles including lizards, frogs, toads and other snakes.


They are social animals and like to hibernate in a communal den with other


A pigmy rattlesnake might spend its days sunning itself on a rock and its nights hunting for its prey in the warmer months. To keep warm during the colder months, they may hibernate in a burrow with other pigmy rattlesnakes.


The pigmy rattlesnake will shake its tail when threatened to ward off potential predators or other dangers. Because of its very small size, the tail rattle does not make a very loud noise. This means that pigmy rattlesnakes can be especially dangerous because a person can be nearly on top of one before they realize they are about to step on the snake. They are known to be exceptionally aggressive towards humans. When one feels threatened, it can bite a human multiple times, delivering a small amount of venom. Get to a hospital immediately. The venom produced by pigmy rattlesnakes causes intense bleeding at the site of the wound, and the pigmy rattlesnake bite is the most common cause of snake envenomation in many areas.

If you see any signs of snakes, call a professional pest control company sooner than later to handle it for you especially if it is a venomous one!  To learn more, read our blog 6 Venomous Snakes in Georgia.

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