Photographed by Bette Jackson
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Hi, I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson, out with the wild things. The pygmy rattlesnake is found throughout Florida and it’s the most common venomous snake in the state. Note that I said 'venomous', not 'poisonous'. For those interested in proper use of the language, you can eat rattlesnakes if you're inclined to because they're not poisonous, but they do produce venom and can inject it into you with their fangs, as a result, we say they are venomous. The pygmy rattlesnake is the smallest venomous snake in North America, usually getting no more than about twenty inches long. But the likelihood of finding one when you're out walking in the woods is not at all high. A pygmy rattlesnake doesn't move around much, it's a sit-and-wait hunter. A pygmy rattlesnake is so perfectly camouflaged in dull earth-toned colors that when it remains still amidst the typical debris of dried grasses, twigs, leaves, and pine needles, you can sometimes be standing next to one without knowing it. This snake is not aggressive towards humans, nor does it quickly flee or sound an alarming rattle when a human approaches. If it wastes its venom on something too big to eat, it may miss its next meal. Its silence and camouflage usually protect it.'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.