Mr. Charles Blount of Tallahassee was bitten by a pigmy
rattlesnake in March of 1995 as he went to grab a potted plant
at the local Walmart. Mr. Blount stomped on the snake and then
another shopper went after it with a shovel. Pigmy
rattlesnakes have bitten four shoppers in stores since 1987.
Three of these bites occurred in Walmarts while one shopper
was bit in a Kmart (all of the above information is from the
Orlando Sentinel; March 22, 1995; Associated Press).
We don't know why pigmies prefer Walmart, it may be the low
prices or it might be an artifact of low sample size. In each
case the snakes were in the garden section. We don't find it
surprising that these snakes get into garden sections of
Florida stores. They feed on lizards, including brown anoles,
which are often very common in plant nurseries. Pigmy
rattlesnakes' typical reaction to a human, when closely
approached, is to remain motionless. A snake in a potted plant
is likely to stay in it even if the plant is grabbed and moved
by a gardener. These cryptic snakes are also fairly agile
climbers so it seems likely they would get into potted plants
in outdoor nurseries.