Posts Tagged ‘Venomous Snakes’

Fall Arrival of Pygmy Rattlesnakes

Monday, September 14th, 2009
Pygmy Rattlesnakes are difficult to see when they are in leaf litter and their tiny rattles are difficult to hear.
Pygmy Rattlesnakes are difficult to see when they are in leaf litter, and their tiny rattles are difficult to hear.

As fall arrives, Pygmy Rattlesnakes (Sistrurus miliarius) seem to crawl out of the woodwork, showing up on porches, in garages, under cars, and in flower beds throughout much of eastern Oklahoma, as far west as Norman and Oklahoma City. These beautifully patterned, small rattlesnakes have tiny rattles that are difficult to hear, and they often do not rattle when disturbed. Like other venomous pit-vipers (snakes in the family Viperidae that have heat-sensing pits below and between the nostril and eye), these small snakes can inflict a dangerous bite. The reason that we see these snakes during the fall is that they mate at this time of year, and, as a result, males are frequently seen as they search for females. They spend much of the rest of the year hidden, often under leaf litter. Our advice is to leave these snakes alone, and if they are close to your house, move them to a different location by carefully scooping them up on a rake or shovel. Remember, they have always lived here and hopefully always will, as they are part of our natural heritage. Teach your children what they look like so that they do not handle them.