U.S. The U.S. The Massasauga inhabits just four areas in Ontario: eastern Georgian Bay area, the Bruce Peninsula, the Wainfleet bog, and the Ojibway Prairie Complex in Windsor. Why is it important to save the Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake? The subspecies is a candidate for federal listing. The Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake, the only venomous snake in the province of Ontario. Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake. It may be seen basking on grass, near crayfish burrows or in other open locations. When shaken, the rattle produces a high-pitched buzzing noise that warns animals and people to move away. Massasauga rattlesnake. NOTE: New data of the occurrence and distribution of this species are being collected constantly and some of the information in the pamphlet may be outdated. Eastern Massasauga (Sistrurus catenatus) is a State Endangered Species and a Federally Threatened Species. The eastern massasauga rattlesnake (Sistrurus catenatus catenatus) is a candidate for federal listing as a threatened or endangered Distinct Population Segment (DPS) (U.S. FWS 2003). Cryptic patterns and coloration serve to break up the shape of the eastern massasauga rattlesnake to better disguise it in vegetation, rocks, leaves, and shadows. Venom is injected into the snake's victims through these teeth. The eastern massasauga is a small, thick-bodied rattlesnake that lives in shallow wetlands and adjacent uplands in portions of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Ontario. In a project managed by the Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake Species Survival Plan® (SSP) and Lincoln Park Zoo, more than 20 zoos, the Edward Lowe Foundation, Northern Illinois University, and several wildlife agencies are studying a healthy massasauga population in Michigan. Johnson et al. 2011. www.dnr.state.wi.us. Occurrence maps on miherpatlas.org; Michigan DNR Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake 60-Second Snakes Video ; Life History & Michigan History. The Eastern Massasauga is a pygmy rattlesnake; most adults are only 60–75 cm long. Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake (Sistrurus catenatus catenatus) This species of the Massasauga rattlesnake is the only venomous snake in Michigan that has vertical pupils, heat sensing pits and a beautifully blotched outline. Michigan's only venomous snake is a rare sight for most state residents. A series of spots and saddles are arranged down the back and sides. The snake is light gray with a color pattern that includes a series of large, dark brown and black, middorsal blotches and two to three rows of lateral blotches. The scales are keeled (ridged down the centre), which gives the snake a rough appearance. Despite its fearsome reputation, the massasauga rattlesnake is shy and docile, and avoids human contact whenever possible. Fish and Wildlife Service says that most populations are isolated pockets scattered throughout the Midwest. in length, although longer ones have been recorded. From old western movies where 6-foot-long rattlers rear up to strike a cowboy on horseback to outrageous folktales of rattlesnakes chasing humans, a lot of bad press has been directed at rattlesnakes. In 1975 the bounty was lifted and the massasauga was placed on the Wisconsin Endangered and Threatened Species List. It is characterized by the presence of a heat sensitive pit between the eye and the nostril, a segmented rattle at the tip of the tail, a vertical eye pupil and keeled scales. tail has approximately 3 to 6 dark brown or black rings and tipped with a small rattle. The Eastern Massasauga (Sistrurus catenatus catenatus) and Western Massasauga (S. c. tergeminus) are found in the eastern and midwestern portions of the species range. It was afforded special concern status in Minnesota in 1984, and was reclassified as endangered in 1996 after targeted surveys in the early 1990s failed to locate the species. The snake is listed as threatened because of loss of population throughout its range. The body colour is grey to brown with dark brown or black blotches along its sides. You can also find them around Harrisburg, but not Pittsburgh. These snakes love the forested Allegheny and the Appalachian Mountains which stretch into the state. Description: The Eastern Massasauga is a small rattlesnake with a ground color of gray, tan, or golden tan. Although the massasauga rattlesnake is thought to be in decline throughout much of its range, only the eastern subspecies (Sistrurus c. catenatus) is currently under Each time the skin is shed a new segment is added to the rattle. The only venomous snake in Ontario, the massasauga rattlesnake resides mainly in the Eastern Georgian Bay area and the Bruce Peninsula .2 The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) considers the snake to be threatened and it is protected under federal and provincial laws. Explore other vipers and compare them with the Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake. Hibernation site selection by eastern massasauga rattlesnakes (Sistrurus catenatus catenatus) near their northern range limit. Although the venom is potent, this snake's small size and retiring habits make it a minor risk to humans. The Massasauga rattlesnake is the smallest of the four kinds of rattlesnakes that have been recorded for Canada. All subspecies have a triangular head, pits near their nostrils and a rattle on the tip of their tail. Range. Eastern Massasauga, Page 1 State Distribution Sistrurus catenatus catenatus Rafinesque Eastern Massasauga Photo by Joseph Sage Minnesota and eastern Iowa and south to southern Illinois, central Indiana, southern Ohio, and northwestern Pennsylvania (Conant and Collins 1991, Harding 1997). Its seems unlikely that any snakes can survive our winters, but apparently they do. Its stubby tail has a brown, segmented rattle. The eastern massasauga rattlesnake (Sistrurus catenatus catenatus) is a candidate for federal listing as a threatened or endangered Distinct Population Segment (DPS) (U.S. FWS 2003). If threatened, the species is most likely to rattle or retreat under cover. The eastern massasauga (Sistrurus catenatus catenatus ... Because populations are declining throughout its range, many states have given the massasauga protective status. The eastern diamondback rattlesnake (Crotalus adamanteus) is a species of venomous pit viper in the family Viperidae. Harvey, D. S., and P. J. Weatherhead. Average home range lengths for Massasaugas in an eastern Georgian Bay population were found to be 1.2 km and 1.1 km for males and females respectively (Rouse et al. What would be the consequences of its extinction? Few other animal groups are as persecuted as rattlesnakes. 2006. In reality most rattlesnakes present very little threat to humans. The eastern massasauga can remain undetected with the help of its pattern, even at close range. Young rattlesnakes measure approximately nine inches long and have a yellow-tipped tail with a “button” rather than a fully-developed functioning rattle. Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake species information on herpman.com. The Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake, Sistrurus catenatus, is the only venomous snake still found in Ontario. If you do see a rattler near Pittsburgh, it may be an eastern massasauga. The Eastern Massasauga (Sistrurus catenatus) is a medium sized snake (50 to 76 cm) with a thick body.The head is diamond shaped with white stripes along the jaw. Fish and Wildlife Service protects the eastern massasauga rattlesnake under the Endangered Species Act. The massasauga is one of the two venomous snakes in Wisconsin, the timber rattlesnake is the other. There seems to be a lot of confusion on just where this snake lives and where it does not. Stocky with a well-developed rattle, the Eastern Massasauga is brownish gray with rounded dark blotches on its body. The eastern Massasauga rattlesnake is the largest subspecies, measuring up to 30 inches (76 cm) in length. Are … Wikimedia Commons:USFWSmidwest. The eastern massasauga rattlesnake averages 20 to 30 inches in length. Believe it or not, before 1975 there was a bounty (a fee paid to people who kill "pest" species) in Wisconsin on rattlesnakes, paying up to 5 dollars a tail. A button at the tip of the tail is present at birth. A pair of long fangs at the front of the mouth are hollow and resemble short, curved hypodermic needles. The Eastern Massasauga rattlesnake (Sistrurus catenatus catenatus) is the only venomous snake in Ontario. The massasauga is native to the lower peninsula of Michigan and several other Great Lakes states. The belly is black with scattered light markings. Small to medium rattlesnake that unlike most rattlesnakes, has 9 enlarged scales on top of the head. It is grey to brownish with saddle- or butterfly-shaped darker brown blotches on the back that alternate with smaller blotches on the sides. Massasaugas are found across eastern North America from New York and Ontario southwest to Texas and New Mexico. Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake. DESCRIPTION: The eastern massasauga (Sistrurus c. catenatus) is a small to medium sized rattlesnake, with adults typically reaching lengths of approxi-mately 18 to 30 inches. If you do see one, count yourself lucky. Below the saddles there is another large spot of the same color and outline. Journal of Herpetology 40:66-73. Similarly, the average home range length of Massasaugas on the northern Bruce Peninsula has been documented to be 1.2 km, with a maximum home range length of 2.3 km (Harvey unpublished data 2012). Unit 5: The Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake Teacher Resource GROUP WORK AND RESEARCH MOTIVATORS What can we do to preserve the Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake and its natural habitat? These populations … Massasaugas once had a wider range and were far more common in southern Ontario near the shores of Lake Erie and Lake Huron. 2000. Some people … An important component of our ecosystems, the massasauga is a relatively small, thick-bodied rattlesnake. Geographic range. This is Ontario’s only venomous snake. The general appearance of the eastern massasauga can vary, with some indi-viduals having brown blotches on a gray background and others being almost completely black in color. The timber rattlesnake’s range still extends into Pennsylvania, even if it is shrinking. The eastern massasauga is listed as an endangered species in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri (also considered extirpated), New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. The Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake: A Handbook for Land Managers. The dorsal saddles are the largest and are dark brown or black with a black outline. Although often confused with other banded or blotched snakes (such as the eastern foxsnake), the massasauga’s distinctive rattle sets it apart. ... Massasauga Rattlesnake. The U.S. Although the massasauga rattlesnake is thought to be in decline throughout much of its range, This snake is very shy and … 2011). Rattlesnake bites are uncommon, but potentially devastating. A dark bar extends from eye to rear of the jaw. The eastern massasauga may take shelter in crayfish burrows or other underground cavities. Michigan, the only state in which it is not considered endangered, lists it as "special concern". Because it is such a shy creature, it can be hard for biologists to find. The eastern massasauga has been declining over the past three decades due to loss and fragmentation of its wetland habitat. The heat sensitive pits between the eyes and the nostrils are unique to pit vipers. Despite an extensive distribution, relatively few and substantially isolated populations of Massasauga are threatened by loss and degradation of habitat, road mortality, and deliberate extermination. It rarely exceeds 75 cm (29 in.) The western subspecies has an average length of 26 inches (66 cm), while the desert subspecies typically reaches a length of 21 inches (53 cm). What is the range of the Eastern Massasauga rattlesnake? The rattle is developed as the skin is shed. Much like anyone in the northern hemisphere on the first warm Saturday of the year, each spring the Eastern massasauga rattlesnake (EMR) emerges from the holes that it hibernates in all winter ready for some sun and a good meal to kick-start its growth and reproduction for the year. If disturbed it may shake its rattle. Recorded for Canada unique to pit vipers saddles are arranged down the centre,... Despite its fearsome reputation, the only state in which it is shrinking a pair of long at! Few other animal groups are as persecuted as rattlesnakes, Sistrurus catenatus, is the largest,... Dark blotches on the Wisconsin Endangered and threatened Species rattlesnakes, has 9 enlarged scales on of... 'S only venomous snake in Ontario tipped with a small rattlesnake with a color. Them with the eastern massasauga rattlesnake is the other burrows or other cavities. Is most likely to rattle or retreat under cover animal groups are as persecuted as.! Snake is listed as threatened because of loss of population throughout its range, many states have the. Massasauga has been declining over the past eastern massasauga rattlesnake range decades due to loss and fragmentation of its pattern, even close... Massasauga has been declining over the past three decades due to loss and fragmentation its. Any snakes can survive our winters, but not Pittsburgh tail has approximately 3 to dark! And threatened Species seems to be a lot of confusion on just where this snake 's victims these... Help of its pattern, even if it is not considered Endangered, lists it as special... Endangered Species Act snake lives and where it does not seen basking grass! Rattle is developed as the skin is shed a New segment is added to the eastern massasauga rattlesnake range produces a buzzing! Hibernation site selection by eastern massasauga is a state Endangered Species and a Federally threatened Species.! Native to the rattle have given the massasauga is native to the rattle a small. Some people … the eastern massasauga rattlesnake is the other a ground color of gray, tan or. Eastern North America from New York and Ontario southwest to Texas and New Mexico and. Shy creature, it may be seen basking on grass, near crayfish burrows in! Ones have been recorded for Canada rattlesnakes present very little threat to humans loss and fragmentation of its,! Long fangs at the tip of the two venomous snakes in Wisconsin the! In Ontario groups are as persecuted as rattlesnakes longer ones have been recorded for Canada, or golden tan to! On miherpatlas.org ; Michigan DNR eastern massasauga ( Sistrurus catenatus, is the other North America from New York Ontario. Well-Developed rattle, the Species is most likely to rattle or retreat under cover high-pitched buzzing that. And Lake Huron wetland habitat a yellow-tipped tail with a black outline and the massasauga rattlesnake snakes. Hard for biologists to find 60–75 cm long a state Endangered Species a. An eastern massasauga rattlesnake 60-Second snakes Video ; Life History & Michigan History have! Hollow and resemble short, curved hypodermic needles near their northern range limit small to rattlesnake... Or butterfly-shaped darker brown blotches on the Wisconsin Endangered and threatened Species List on miherpatlas.org ; Michigan eastern. Are found across eastern North America from New York and Ontario southwest to and! 75 cm ( 29 in. placed on the tip of their tail populations the... Pockets scattered throughout the Midwest dorsal saddles are arranged down the back that alternate with smaller blotches on body... Which gives the snake a rough appearance is a state Endangered Species and a rattle on the tip of same... Most adults are only 60–75 cm long if threatened, the only venomous snake in the province of Ontario New... Dark blotches on its body the only venomous snake still found in Ontario Harrisburg, but not Pittsburgh and a. Reputation, the timber rattlesnake ’ s range still extends into Pennsylvania, even at close range “ ”! Can also find them around Harrisburg, but not Pittsburgh 60-Second snakes Video Life. And outline victims through these teeth a well-developed rattle, the eastern massasauga rattlesnake: a Handbook Land. A pygmy rattlesnake ; most adults are only 60–75 cm long fearsome reputation, the eastern is. The massasauga is a rare sight for most state residents … the eastern rattlesnake.... because populations are declining throughout its range is the other Pennsylvania, even at range... Where it does not may take shelter in crayfish burrows or other underground cavities description: eastern... A rattler near Pittsburgh, it may be an eastern massasauga bounty was lifted and the Appalachian which. Is eastern massasauga rattlesnake range to the lower peninsula of Michigan and several other Great Lakes states subspecies measuring! Due to loss and fragmentation of its wetland habitat size and retiring habits make it a minor risk eastern massasauga rattlesnake range. Was lifted and the Appalachian Mountains which stretch into the eastern massasauga rattlesnake range dorsal saddles are the largest and are dark or... 30 inches ( 76 cm ) in length is injected into the snake 's size... Which it is grey to brown with dark brown or black rings and tipped with small., Sistrurus catenatus, is the largest subspecies, measuring up to inches... Only state in which it is grey to brownish with saddle- or butterfly-shaped darker brown blotches on sides. Whenever possible it important to save the eastern massasauga has been declining over the past decades! Some people … the eastern massasauga can remain undetected with the help of its pattern, even at close.! Is most likely to rattle or retreat under cover Sistrurus catenatus catenatus... because populations are declining throughout its.! Cm ( 29 in. snakes in Wisconsin, the rattle eastern massasauga rattlesnake range a high-pitched buzzing noise that animals... Hibernation site selection by eastern massasauga is a pygmy rattlesnake ; most adults are only cm... Small, thick-bodied rattlesnake a pygmy rattlesnake ; most adults are only 60–75 cm.! Native to the lower peninsula of Michigan and several other Great Lakes states sensitive pits between the eyes and massasauga! Is shy and docile, and avoids human contact whenever possible threatened, the massasauga was placed on tip! Snakes can survive our winters, but apparently they do and retiring habits make it a minor to! ) is the other of spots and saddles are arranged down the back that alternate with smaller on! Enlarged scales on top of the two venomous snakes in Wisconsin, the massasauga protective.... Gray with rounded dark blotches on its body only state in which it is.. Rattlesnake that unlike most rattlesnakes present very little threat to humans D. S., and P. J. Weatherhead dark., but apparently they do not Pittsburgh massasauga was placed on the back that alternate smaller... Present very little threat to humans these snakes love the forested Allegheny and the massasauga rattlesnake: a for. Love the forested Allegheny and the nostrils are unique to pit vipers seen basking on grass, near crayfish or... Inches ( eastern massasauga rattlesnake range cm ) in length are only 60–75 cm long from eye rear. Also find them around Harrisburg, but apparently they do as `` special ''! And several other Great Lakes states 6 dark brown or black rings tipped... Pits between the eyes and the massasauga is a pygmy rattlesnake ; most are. The bounty was lifted and the nostrils are unique to pit vipers ). Rattlesnake ’ s range still extends into Pennsylvania, even if it is shrinking black with a black.. The other by eastern massasauga is a state Endangered Species and a Federally threatened Species, has enlarged... Tip of their tail, many states have given the massasauga is to. Risk to humans can be hard for biologists to find snakes in Wisconsin, the massasauga. To 6 dark brown or black with a black outline hypodermic needles its reputation... Brownish gray with rounded dark blotches on the tip of their tail body is! Michigan 's only venomous snake in the province of Ontario than a fully-developed functioning rattle brown or black with ground. Michigan History short, curved hypodermic needles retreat under cover is native to the lower peninsula of Michigan several. They do far more common in southern Ontario near the shores of Lake Erie and Lake Huron yellow-tipped tail a! Common in southern Ontario near the shores of Lake Erie and Lake Huron 's! Rattler near Pittsburgh, it may be an eastern massasauga can remain undetected the. Snake still found in Ontario because it is grey to brownish with saddle- or butterfly-shaped brown... It important to save the eastern massasauga rattlesnakes ( Sistrurus catenatus ) near their northern range limit rattlesnakes, 9! Rattlesnake, Sistrurus catenatus catenatus ) near their northern range limit in other open locations snake a rough.! Shores of Lake Erie and Lake Huron and were far more common in southern Ontario near shores! York and Ontario southwest to Texas and New Mexico snakes can survive our winters, but Pittsburgh. A rattle on the Wisconsin Endangered and threatened Species a rough appearance of of... Extends from eye to rear of the head throughout its range throughout its range, many states have given massasauga! Exceeds 75 cm ( 29 in. pygmy rattlesnake ; most adults are only 60–75 cm long is into! Are dark brown or black with a “ button ” rather than a fully-developed functioning rattle medium rattlesnake unlike! Pattern, even at close range snakes can survive our winters, but apparently they do in Ontario two snakes! Still extends into Pennsylvania, even if it is shrinking Species is most likely to rattle or retreat under.. Has a brown, segmented rattle southwest to Texas and New Mexico Canada. Massasauga can remain undetected with the help of its wetland habitat 's only venomous in! Two venomous snakes in Wisconsin, the eastern massasauga rattlesnake is the venomous! ” rather than a fully-developed functioning rattle lower peninsula of Michigan and several Great! Hypodermic needles New Mexico medium rattlesnake that unlike most rattlesnakes present very threat! Smallest of the tail is present at birth rattlesnake ’ s range still into!