The Prairie Rattler is quite small compared to the Diamondbacks I used to see in Arizona. While the books say they can grow to four feet–in Montana–the few I have seen look to be eighteen to twenty inches long, even when they have seven to eight buttons. And they seldom rattle.
The pupils are slits, like cat’s eyes. All our other snakes have round pupils.
I have seen them short and skinny and short and very thick. This is skinny.
A safe way to take a “trophy” is to travel back roads and cut the rattles off roadkill. The segments are hollow. The rattle comes from the segments snapping against each other.
Beats a “Beware of Dog” sign any day.