How big can pygmy rattlesnakes get?

Answered by Edward Huber

Pygmy rattlesnakes, also known as ground rattlers, are small snakes that belong to the genus Sistrurus. These rattlesnakes typically measure between 14 to 22 inches (38-56 cm) in length. While they may not be as large as some of their rattlesnake relatives in the genus Crotalus, they still possess unique characteristics that make them fascinating creatures.

One distinguishing feature of pygmy rattlesnakes is the presence of nine large scales on top of their heads. This sets them apart from other rattlesnake species, which usually have more scales in this area. Additionally, pygmy rattlesnakes have a tiny rattle that is often difficult to hear. This small rattle serves as a warning to potential predators or threats.

When it comes to their size, pygmy rattlesnakes stay true to their name. They are relatively small snakes compared to their larger relatives. It is uncommon to find individuals exceeding 22 inches in length. However, it is important to note that there can be variation within the species. Some pygmy rattlesnakes may be smaller, while others may reach the upper end of the size range.

In my personal experience with pygmy rattlesnakes, I have encountered specimens that were around 18 inches in length. These snakes were beautifully patterned and had a slender body. Despite their small size, they still possessed the characteristic triangular head shape often associated with venomous snakes.

It is worth mentioning that although pygmy rattlesnakes are small in size, they still possess venom and should be treated with caution. Their venom is potent enough to cause harm to humans, and it is important to exercise caution when encountering these snakes in the wild.

To summarize, pygmy rattlesnakes, or ground rattlers, are small snakes that typically measure between 14 to 22 inches in length. They have nine large scales on top of their heads and a small, often faint, rattle. While they may not reach the size of larger rattlesnake species, their small stature does not diminish their intriguing characteristics and potential danger.