Hi again. I am 100% sure that is a Dusky pygmy rattlesnake, possibly a juvenile by comparing it to the pine needles and pine cone scales. Is that white spot in the middle of the photo the tail? Juvenile Cottonmouths, Copperheads and Pygmies all have yellowish tails; sometimes an almost neon yellow. Look at the tail of the juvenile Pygmy on the left. That is not the rattle; there is only the button, or first bead, and the rest is skin. The largest pygmy I have found with a yellow tail was about 10 inches long.
Look at the eye; blackish on the bottom and whitish on the top. You can see this with cottonmouths as well. Hognose snakes (often confused as Pygmies) also sometimes have similar eyes, but not as obvious.
In my opinion, this is the best online site for Florida snake identification.
Some tips and more links. YA only allows you to post 10 links.
There are several species of snakes in Florida that are blotched, spotted, or "saddled" as neonates and juveniles but grow into striped patterns or uni-color as adults.
The most common "Pygmy rattlesnake" that I was called in to remove were baby black racers, but the saddled patterns fade to uni-color towards and down the tails.
Yellow rat snakes are saddled when young but become striped as they mature.
Water snakes are the most common look-a-like to cottonmouths.
I've only come across less than 100 venomouss snakes in my 3 decades of growing up and living in Florida, but have encountered thousands of nonvenomous snakes, and I go looking for them.However of course, when I give lectures I always tell people to stay away from any snake they see if in doubt.
Out of the 6 venomous snakes we have, only 4 are found throughout Florida. Timber rattlesnakes are only found as far south as Volusia County and as far west as Hamilton and Suwannee Counties and Copperheads are only found in the panhandle. Get to know the venomous species in your area first and foremost.See link above*. It really does become second nature if you spend some time researching and viewing various photos.
If one of your dogs does get bitten, contact a livestock vet. They generally have more experience with venomous snake bites than city vets. Two of my sister's Chihuahua were bitten by a single Pygmy a few years back. The first received a "wet" bite; full or substantial envenomation and he was at the vet hospital for only three days. The other one recieved a "dry" bite; little to no envenomation and was back home the next day. Most of the venom was delivered to her first dog. They both completely recovered.
I recommend calling all the vets in your area and asking them about their experiences with snake bites. Keep these numbers conveniently available. My sister has lived on the same 5 acres in Myakka City for 10 years and they have only seen 3 Pygmies, one Cottonmouth, and one Diamondback rattlesnake and hundreds of nonvenomous snakes. On the 5 acres they lived in previously, also in Myakka City, they never saw a venomous snake, though my sister insisted that many water snakes were Cottonmouths. That is, until me, my brother-in-law, or nephew caught them.
Anyway, that is Dusky pygmy rattlesnake. The biggest problem some people have with identifying them is the tiny rattles; hardly visible and barely audible at a distance.
I could write a book here, but I'm about out of characters; there's a limit on YA. Get to know
My alternative e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org if you need any info, advice, contacts for removal, etc. If I were in Florida now, I'd come and get the snake and scout around your property. I never charged anyone for removing snakes.
Add; Please people, don't post if you don't know. Not only is ilooovethegodfather reading this, but many other members as well. We don't want anyone to get bitten do we? Glad to see two others posted correctly. Thumbs up to This Kidd and Madsnake.
39 years working with captive and wild snakes; removal, lectures, hobbyist, rehab, etc. 3 decades in Florida; based in Pinellas Park, Bradenton, Sarasota, Myakka City, and Tallahassee, but I have spent time field herping all over the state.