Snake identification

Asked May 16, 2020, 4:42 PM EDT

This was seen in a county park what kind of snake is it and of course dangerous or not Pinellas county Florida

Email was wrong. Should be

BrianKstickney@yahoo.com

Pinellas County Florida

1 Response

Thank you for your question. Nice photo! The snake in your photograph is a dusky pygmy rattlesnake, scientific name Sistrurus miliarius barbouri. It is a venomous species. There are three subspecies of pygmy rattlesnake. The dusky pygmy is found in extreme southern Alabama and Georgia and all of Florida. Their general habitats include sandhills, mixed pine and hardwood forests, low-lying, sometimes flooded, palmetto stands, floodplains, mangroves and marshes, depending on the region.

Typical length is 12 - 18 inches, and maximum length can reach a little over 2 feet. They feed on a variety of prey including mice, lizards, frogs, snakes and centipedes.

Pygmy rattlesnakes usually depend on their coloration for camouflage to avoid detection. If discovered, they will usually try to escape, but if they feel threatened they may coil up and face their aggressor. Their rattle is so small, it sounds like an insect buzzing, if you hear it at all. They usually will not strike unless you really pester them, and they usually don't bite unless you pick them up, which obviously is not recommended. Bites in Florida are common and most occur when people step on them, because they don't notice them. The remainder of the bites are usually the result of people picking them up. Because of their small size, they are generally not considered extremely dangerous to humans, and most bite victims who receive prompt medical treatment generally make a full recovery. However, there have been some fatalities as a result of their bite.

Here's a link to the University of Florida's Natural History Museum's web page for this species:

https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/herpetology/fl-snakes/list/sistrurus-miliarius-barbouri/

If you are interested in learning more about snake species in your area, here is an excellent reference:

Gibbons, Whit. (2017). Snakes Of The Eastern United States. Athens: The University of Georgia Press.

I hope this answers your question, and thank you for contacting Ask an Expert.

Jim