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20 Jan 2021

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. The U.S. Few other animal groups are as persecuted as rattlesnakes. The eastern massasauga has been declining over the past three decades due to loss and fragmentation of its wetland habitat. Venom is injected into the snake's victims through these teeth. Geographic range. This snake is very shy and … Although often confused with other banded or blotched snakes (such as the eastern foxsnake), the massasauga’s distinctive rattle sets it apart. If disturbed it may shake its rattle. 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. Its stubby tail has a brown, segmented rattle. 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. The snake is listed as threatened because of loss of population throughout its range. The scales are keeled (ridged down the centre), which gives the snake a rough appearance. What would be the consequences of its extinction? ... Massasauga Rattlesnake. 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? Although the massasauga rattlesnake is thought to be in decline throughout much of its range, If threatened, the species is most likely to rattle or retreat under cover. Despite its fearsome reputation, the massasauga rattlesnake is shy and docile, and avoids human contact whenever possible. 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 dark bar extends from eye to rear of the jaw. The Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake, the only venomous snake in the province of Ontario. Explore other vipers and compare them with the Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake. In reality most rattlesnakes present very little threat to humans. Journal of Herpetology 40:66-73. The timber rattlesnake’s range still extends into Pennsylvania, even if it is shrinking. Michigan, the only state in which it is not considered endangered, lists it as "special concern". Fish and Wildlife Service says that most populations are isolated pockets scattered throughout the Midwest. 2006. Fish and Wildlife Service protects the eastern massasauga rattlesnake under the Endangered Species Act. When shaken, the rattle produces a high-pitched buzzing noise that warns animals and people to move away. 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. It may be seen basking on grass, near crayfish burrows or in other open locations. The eastern massasauga may take shelter in crayfish burrows or other underground cavities. The Eastern Massasauga rattlesnake (Sistrurus catenatus catenatus) is the only venomous snake in Ontario. Below the saddles there is another large spot of the same color and outline. All subspecies have a triangular head, pits near their nostrils and a rattle on the tip of their tail. This is Ontario’s only venomous snake. 2000. These snakes love the forested Allegheny and the Appalachian Mountains which stretch into the state. The Eastern Massasauga (Sistrurus catenatus catenatus) and Western Massasauga (S. c. tergeminus) are found in the eastern and midwestern portions of the species range. 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. Why is it important to save the Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake? A series of spots and saddles are arranged down the back and sides. 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. 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. A button at the tip of the tail is present at birth. The dorsal saddles are the largest and are dark brown or black with a black outline. 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 If you do see one, count yourself lucky. The massasauga is native to the lower peninsula of Michigan and several other Great Lakes states. The Eastern Massasauga is a pygmy rattlesnake; most adults are only 60–75 cm long. The Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake, Sistrurus catenatus, is the only venomous snake still found in Ontario. Small to medium rattlesnake that unlike most rattlesnakes, has 9 enlarged scales on top of the head. 2011). Wikimedia Commons:USFWSmidwest. If you do see a rattler near Pittsburgh, it may be an eastern massasauga. The eastern diamondback rattlesnake (Crotalus adamanteus) is a species of venomous pit viper in the family Viperidae. Range. 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). Young rattlesnakes measure approximately nine inches long and have a yellow-tipped tail with a “button” rather than a fully-developed functioning rattle. Massasaugas are found across eastern North America from New York and Ontario southwest to Texas and New Mexico. The Massasauga rattlesnake is the smallest of the four kinds of rattlesnakes that have been recorded for Canada. Eastern Massasauga (Sistrurus catenatus) is a State Endangered Species and a Federally Threatened Species. In 1975 the bounty was lifted and the massasauga was placed on the Wisconsin Endangered and Threatened Species List. It rarely exceeds 75 cm (29 in.) The eastern Massasauga rattlesnake is the largest subspecies, measuring up to 30 inches (76 cm) in length. The rattle is developed as the skin is shed. The Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake: A Handbook for Land Managers. 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). The eastern massasauga can remain undetected with the help of its pattern, even at close range. Massasauga rattlesnake. An important component of our ecosystems, the massasauga is a relatively small, thick-bodied rattlesnake. Johnson et al. You can also find them around Harrisburg, but not Pittsburgh. The subspecies is a candidate for federal listing. 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 western subspecies has an average length of 26 inches (66 cm), while the desert subspecies typically reaches a length of 21 inches (53 cm). in length, although longer ones have been recorded. It is grey to brownish with saddle- or butterfly-shaped darker brown blotches on the back that alternate with smaller blotches on the sides. tail has approximately 3 to 6 dark brown or black rings and tipped with a small rattle. U.S. Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake species information on herpman.com. Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake. Massasaugas once had a wider range and were far more common in southern Ontario near the shores of Lake Erie and Lake Huron. 2011. www.dnr.state.wi.us. 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. Although the venom is potent, this snake's small size and retiring habits make it a minor risk to humans. Description: The Eastern Massasauga is a small rattlesnake with a ground color of gray, tan, or golden tan. Are … Rattlesnake bites are uncommon, but potentially devastating. The eastern massasauga is listed as an endangered species in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri (also considered extirpated), New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. 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. 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). 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. Because it is such a shy creature, it can be hard for biologists to find. 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 eastern massasauga (Sistrurus catenatus catenatus ... Because populations are declining throughout its range, many states have given the massasauga protective status. Harvey, D. S., and P. J. Weatherhead. 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. 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. What is the range of the Eastern Massasauga rattlesnake? Each time the skin is shed a new segment is added to the rattle. 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 body colour is grey to brown with dark brown or black blotches along its sides. There seems to be a lot of confusion on just where this snake lives and where it does not. Some people … The massasauga is one of the two venomous snakes in Wisconsin, the timber rattlesnake is the other. 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. These populations … 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). Michigan's only venomous snake is a rare sight for most state residents. The eastern massasauga rattlesnake averages 20 to 30 inches in length. Stocky with a well-developed rattle, the Eastern Massasauga is brownish gray with rounded dark blotches on its body. The belly is black with scattered light markings. Its seems unlikely that any snakes can survive our winters, but apparently they do. A pair of long fangs at the front of the mouth are hollow and resemble short, curved hypodermic needles. Hibernation site selection by eastern massasauga rattlesnakes (Sistrurus catenatus catenatus) near their northern range limit. 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. Occurrence maps on miherpatlas.org; Michigan DNR Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake 60-Second Snakes Video ; Life History & Michigan History. 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