Saturday, August 29, 2009

Debated whether to Post this or not (Pygmy Rattler)

Never even told Myron. There is a very deep and gorgeous canyon to the south side of the ROLF property. This past April I hike the entire length and continued west to a gravel road which eventually led me back to the Signed entrance of ROLF. Near the top of the canyon of rocks, where the canyon turns into a creek with ledge rocks, I spotted the first rattlesnake I have ever seen at ROLF sunning himself on a warm 75F day. It is a Pygmy rattler, small and looking out of place in southern Missouri, but a real rattlesnake. If I ever saw one at ROLF, I expected it to be a Timber Rattler.

I was amazed at the beauty of this snake and his relative calmness (probably because he has just out of hibernation). His total length was maybe 16-18". I watched him and photographed him about two dozen times. He never moved or rattled. I got as close as 4' and he did not even twitch, he was at peace with the world on this beautiful day; so was I. After 30 or so minutes I left still marveling at what I had seen.

Here is the description:

Sistrurus miliarius streckeri

Local Name: ground rattler

Image of Western Pygmy RattlesnakeThis is one of the smallest species of rattlesnakes in North America. General color is light grayish-brown, with a row of small, dark brown spots on the back and similar spots on each side. Most specimens also have a rust-colored stripe down the back. The belly is usually gray. The pygmy rattlesnake has a thin tail and a tiny rattle. Length averages from 15 to 20 inches (38-51 cm). This species lives under rocks on cedar glades and is so secretive that few people encounter it. The sound of the vibrating rattle is a faint buzz like the sound of a grasshopper. Food includes small lizards, snakes, frogs and mice. Although the bite of this species is not fatal, a bite victim should seek immediate medical attention. The pygmy rattlesnake should be respected and left alone.

Missouri Distribution: Counties bordering Arkansas and the eastern Missouri Ozarks.


Pilgrim said...

WOW! Was that the canyon on the south side of Inspiration/Lookout Point, or the next one down from there?

Google Maps Terrain view HERE.

missouri man said...

Yes, the canyon you describe that the River of Life Spring arises from is the place. Steve