Photographed by Bette Jackson
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Hi, I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson, out with the wild things. A pygmy rattlesnake usually spends its day sitting quietly beside a log, a clump of grass, or sometimes on top of a log, or even a few feet off the ground in a boot: one of those rough leaf bases on the trunk of a palm. Yes, they can and do climb. But what is a pygmy rattlesnake waiting for? Typical fare for a pygmy rattlesnake includes lizards, other small snakes, grasshoppers, other large insects, even centipedes. While they do occasionally eat a small mouse, most of the prey of pygmy rattlesnakes is of the cold-blooded variety. A pygmy rattlesnake hunts his other pit vipers, too. It strikes once, injects its venom, and waits. By waiting until its prey is dead, it avoids the possibility of getting hurt itself. A pygmy rattlesnake's venom works quicker on warm-blooded animals because they’re more active and the poison gets circulated quicker. A lizard, however, with a less efficient circulatory system, may move several feet and take some time before succumbing to the venom. Within a few minutes, the pygmy rattlesnake follows the scent trail left by its victim and is usually, but not always, able to retrieve its dinner.'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.