Arkansas is home to three varieties of rattlesnakes including the Western Diamondback Rattlesnake, Western Pigmy Rattlesnake and Timber Rattlesnake.
You better watch where you step because there are six venomous snakes in Arkansas and three of those are rattlesnakes. You’ll find most of them in wooded areas so most people living in cities and suburbs probably won’t ever see one. However, it’s not out of the question. With Arkansas being The Natural State, wilderness areas are never too far away from any of us.
Rattlesnakes in Arkansas
Don’t let Arkansas’s rattlesnakes catch you off guard. Here’s what to look for.
1. Western Diamondback Rattlesnake
In the western part of Arkansas, you’ll find the Western Diamondback Rattlesnake (or Texas Diamondback). Specifically, it can usually be found in the uplands of the Ouachita Mountains and southwestern Ozark highlands.
You’ll know you’ve found one if it’s light brown, gray to grayish-brown with diamond-shaped blotches. The blotches will be light-bordered and brownish in color.
The tail is what most people notice first. It is very distinctive with white and black bands.
“It is likely responsible for the majority of snakebite fatalities in northern Mexico and the greatest number of snakebites in the U.S.” -source
The Western Diamondback Rattlesnake likes many types of terrain from flat coastal plains to steep rocky canyons. It feels right at home in the Ozark and Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas.
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2. Western Pygmy Rattlesnake
The Western Pygmy Rattlesnake can be found all over Arkansas.
“The Western Pygmy Rattlesnake is a small, colorful rattlesnake with a slender tail and tiny rattle. General color is light brownish gray, 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.” -source
You never know what this snake might do. Their temperament varies from individual to individual. Some of them will coil, sound their rattles, and strike at almost anything. Others avoid confrontation by playing dead or trying to escape.
It’s best to stay on the safe side and leave the Western Pygmy Rattlesnake alone if you see it.
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3. Timber Rattlesnake
The Timber Rattlesnake is also found statewide in Arkansas. With a solid black tail and v-shaped black bands running down the body with a reddish stripe down the back, this snake can be easily recognized by a trained eye.
“The Timber Rattlesnake, Canebrake Rattlesnake or Banded Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus) is a species of venomous pit viper endemic to eastern North America. This is the only rattlesnake species in most of the populous northeastern United States and is second only to its cousins to the west, the Prairie Rattlesnake, as the most northerly distributed venomous snake in North America.” -source
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Arkansas Rattlesnakes Tips
I know that rattlesnakes in Arkansas can be alarming but keep in mind that you must leave them alone unless they are threatening you.
“It is illegal to kill snakes in Arkansas unless they pose an immediate threat to people, pets or property, and most cases of snakebites are the result of people accidentally stepping on an unseen snake or purposefully agitating or trying to kill it.” -source