This is a dusky pygmy rattlesnake, Sistrurus miliaris barbouri, the southern counterpart of the Carolina pygmy rattler. It ranges from southern South Carolina, westward across southern Alabama and Mississippi, and south throughout the state of Florida (Connant, 1975). Resembling the Carolina subspecie, it often has a dusted appearance due to the diffuse black mottling in the ground color.
The dusky pygmy rattlesnake inhabits the pine flatwoods, moist prairies and virtually any type of other habitats that offer sufficient cover, and are in close proximity to wetlands (Tennant, 1998). Dense populations of this little rattlesnake can be found in many areas of Florida, especially in the moist prairies around the everglades (Tennant, 1998). Dusky pygmy rattlesnakes are one of the species that will readily invade towns and buildings with hurricanes and/or floods, making it an important snake to recognize by first-responders.
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 specie 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).