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This is a Carolina pygmy rattlesnake,
Sistrurus miliaris miliaris
, the most distinctly patterned, and variably colored subspecie of the pygmy rattlesnake group, ranging from eastern North Carolina, southwestward through most of South Carolina, across central Georgia and Alabama, and into a small portion of east central Mississippi (Connant, 1975), placing it in hurricane-prone areas, which is of importance to those living in these regions, and first-responders. It inhabits the long needle pine-scrub oak, and pine flatwood areas along the Atlantic Coastal plain, and the pine-oak forests in the western aspect of its range (Connant, 1975). Its ground color is highly variable, and typically matches the dominant soil color in the locality from which they originated. Individuals originating from central North Carolina, certain areas in South Carolina and eastern Georgia often have an overall red or pinkish-orange ground color.
As their name suggests, the pygmy rattlesnakes are small rattlesnake species that are light gray, to brown, to red snakes that display a prominent series of round to ovoid black middorsal blotches flanked by one to two rows of spots on each side of the body. A longitudinally-oriented, rust colored middorsal stripe is often present on the anterior half of the body, but may be lacking in some individuals, or obscured by blending with the ground color in reddish colored individuals (Connant 1975). The rattle in this species is tiny and inconspicuous and is capable of producing a buzzing sound that is at best, audible from only a few feet away (Connant, 1975).
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CDC/ Edward J. Wozniak D.V.M., Ph.D., John Willson at the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, (SREL)
John Willson at the SREL
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