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jerry jackson
Photographed by Bette Jackson

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Source: Pygmy Rattlesnakes 1

Length of Segment: 00:01:15

Hi, I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson, out with the wild things. Florida is home to several kinds of venomous snakes, including one of the smallest in the world: the pygmy rattlesnake. The pygmy rattlesnake is a pit viper, so called because of a tiny pit (or opening) between the eye and nostril. These pits contain a heat sensing organ that helps the snake home in on its prey. A pygmy rattlesnake has a broad head, a dull blotchy pattern often with a rusty stripe down the back. Within Florida, this snake varies in overall color from gray to rusty-red. Whatever the color, a pygmy rattlesnake is dull in appearance because each scale has a tiny ridge on it, giving the snake a rather rough texture which reduces shine from the scales. The pygmy rattlesnake moves slowly and often gets its food by waiting for it to pass by. Its rough scales help it blend in as it waits for dinner. A pygmy rattler's tail is slender and tipped with tiny rattles; only when provoked does it vibrate its tail, producing a quiet buzz. Its venom is potent enough to kill small animals, but the small amount injected will usually only make a human or a pet ill causing respiratory difficulties, nausea, and swelling. Enjoy any rattlesnake from a distance.

'With the Wild Things' is produced at the Whitaker Center in the College of Arts and Sciences at Florida Gulf Coast University. For 'The Wild Things', I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson.

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