The prairie rattlesnake is common in the dry plains country.
Of reptiles, the rattlesnake and copperhead are the only poisonous species, but numerous harmless varieties are common.
Poisonous or noxious animals usually have some special advertising attribute, sometimes the display of conspicuous coloration, as in the skunk; sometimes the emission of sound as in the rattlesnake; sometimes a combination of the two, as in the common porcupine and the large black scorpions of Africa and India.
To Edward Jenner we owe the discovery that vaccination protects against smallpox, and it is now generally acknowledged that smallpox and vaccine are ' Quoted by Weir Mitchell, "Researches on the Venom of the Rattlesnake," Smithsonian Contributions (1860), p. 97.
Among venomous snakes the harlequin, or coral snake (Elaps fulvius) is common along the coast; the copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix) along the wooded banks of creeks and rivers; the cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorus), in all parts of the state except the more arid districts; the "sidewiper," or massasauga (Sistrurus catenatus consors, sometimes called Crotalophorus tergeminus) and the ground rattlesnake (Sistrurus miliarius), in all sections.