Western pygmy rattlesnake (Sistrurus miliarius streckeri)

Venomous snakes of Missouri

The western pygmy rattlesnake often is called the ground rattler (Figure 2). It is one of the smallest species of rattlesnakes in North America (15 to 20 inches long). It lives under rocks in cedar glades or partially wooded hillsides. You could encounter this snake when it crosses gravel roads in the evening. Its range is restricted to the southern counties bordering Arkansas and the eastern Missouri Ozarks. Normally, this snake is active from mid-April to mid-October. The sound of its rattle is a faint buzz and sounds like a grasshopper. Although no human deaths are known to have been caused by this species, a bite victim should seek immediate attention.

Western pygmy rattlesnakeFigure 2
Western pygmy rattlesnake photo by Tom R. Johnson, herpetologist, Missouri Department of Conservation.