Regional Offices > Green River Region > Critter Spotlight > Midget-faded rattlesnake

Midget-faded rattlesnake Midget-faded rattlesnake

The state of Wyoming has only two species of venomous snakes, both of which are rattlesnakes.

Fun Critter Facts

Once considered a subspecies of the prairie rattlesnake (our most widespread and abundant venomous snake), genetic analysis suggests the midget faded rattlesnake is in fact, a subspecies of the "western" rattlesnake.

As the name implies, midget faded rattlesnakes are both small (a big one in Wyoming is usually less than 25 inches) and light colored with very limited patterning.  This coloration helps this diminutive reptile blend very well with its rocky environment, acting both as a means of defense from predators and camouflage for hunting.

This snake is restricted to the canyon habitats associated with the Colorado River drainage.  In Wyoming, midget faded rattlesnakes are found in appropriately rocky, cliffy habitats along the Green River and it's tributaries, south of Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge.

Midget faded rattlesnakes are a protected species in Wyoming, it is illegal to catch or kill them without a permit for scientific or educational purposes.  Citizens of the town of Green River encounter this snake quite regularly.  If one is located on your property, it is best to contact the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and we will come deal with the docile, but dangerous snake.

Venom of midget faded rattlesnakes is quite toxic (one of the most toxic for North America), containing primarily neurotoxins that act upon the nervous system.  The LD50 of this venom suggests it is more toxic than some of the Old World cobras.  No one should handle this species without good reason.  The general public has NO good reason for handling this species and collection of the species is illegal.  Remember fellas, youth, alcohol, and snake venom are a very bad combination.  Most people bitten by rattlesnakes are either trying to catch the snake, or kill it.

Midget faded rattlesnakes feed primarily on cold blooded prey, especially lizards, in part explaining the cocktail of neurotoxins that make up its venom.  Rattlesnakes that feed primarily on warm blooded prey typically have venom dominated by haemotoxins, which act upon red blood cells and the circulatory system.   

Midget-faded rattlesnake
Email Newsletter

Email Newsletter Sign Up

Stay up to date on all Wyoming Game and Fish news either by email or text message. Click the link below to get started.

Sign Up Today


Conserving Wildlife - Serving People