Historically, this has been due to human activity and more recently primarily from natural forest succession. Three subspecies are currently recognized including the nominate subspecies described here. It also contains specialized digestive enzymes that disrupt blood flow and prevent blood clotting. [22], The diet of S. catenatus consists of a variety of small vertebrates, including mammals, lizards, and other snakes, as well as invertebrates such as centipedes. It is the only venomous snake species in Ontario, and although its venom is potent, this is a small snake with small fangs and a limited amount of venom. It is vital you stay calm, apply a light constricting band (you should be able to fit 1 finger between the band and your skin) above the bite area to slow … The Massasauga has a vertical pupil (unlike all other snakes in Ontario, which have round pupils) and a triangular head with three dark stripes running down each side. Mammals and reptiles make up the bulk of their diet. The Massasauga bites only as a last resort, and its striking range is under 30 centimetres (about a third to a half of its body length). During sunny days, massasaugas can often be found sunning themselves. A series of spots and saddles are arranged down the back and sides. It is brownish with saddle- or butterfly-shaped darker brown blotches on the back that alternate with smaller blotches on the sides. Find the perfect massasauga (sistrurus catenatus) stock photo. Rattlesnake bites, while extremely rare in Michigan, can and do occur. This snake is a very docile one. It is Michigan's only venomous snake, and one of only two rattlesnake species that occur in the Great Lakes region. [3] Like all rattlesnakes, it is a pit viper, and like all pit vipers, it is venomous. Its occurrence in Minnesota is based on a few reliable sightings in the southeast part of the state, and one specimen whose collection location is questionable. Like all rattlesnakes, it is a pit viper, and like all pit vipers, it is venomous [7], S. catenatus is found in North America from Ontario, Canada and western New York southwest to southeastern Arizona in the United States and northern Tamaulipas, Mexico. Obviously, the odds of being endangered by one of these snakes are negligible. They have a moderately developed rattle at the end of a stocky tail. The eastern foxsnake and eastern milksnake vibrate their tails when threatened, mimicking the Massasauga. Western massasauga rattlesnake Sistrurus tergeminus. The eastern massasauga rattlesnake (Sistrurus catenatus catenatus) is a unique and fascinating part of Michigan's natural heritage. The snakes need a wet field with a diversity of native grasses. Unfortunately, people frequently kill rattlesnakes on sight, out of fear. It is a small- to medium-sized snake, with adult lengths averaging 2 to 3 feet. The species has also been designated as a Specially Protected Reptile under the Ontario Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act. Other names: massasauga, massasauga rattlesnake. The Massasauga rattlesnake is now a candidate for federal listing under the United States Endangered Species Act. Prepared for the Committee of the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC), November 2001. v+18pp. 214 King Street West, Suite 612 Toronto, ON M5H 3S6, © 2010 — 2020 Ontario Nature. S. c. catenatus is rather shy and avoids humans when it can. In Mexico, isolated populations exist in southern Nuevo León, north-central Coahuila, and Samalayuca, Chihuahua. The rattle can break off, however, so the absence of a rattle does not indicate that a snake is not a Massasauga. Description: The Eastern Massasauga is a small rattlesnake with a ground color of gray, tan, or golden tan. A Resource and Field Guide for Living with Rattlesnakes in Ontario. The milksnake has smooth scales, and those of the foxsnake are only weakly keeled. In the meantime, other efforts are … In Pennsylvania, the species has experienced a rapid decline largely because of habitat loss. Only two people, however, have ever died in Ontario from a massasauga bite, both more than 40 years ago. For official map representation of provincial parks, visit Ontario's Crown Land Use Policy Atlas. The Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake is dark colored and stocky with a thick, triangular shaped head. Remember rattlesnake bites very rarely kill a person. If the species is eventually listed as threatened or endangered, it will qualify for legal protection, including habitat protection. In Pennsylvania, only four of 19 historic populations still exist, making it a critically imperiled endangered species. The eastern massasauga, a rare sight for most Michigan residents, has been declining due to fragmentation and loss of wetland habitat. The Desert Massasauga, Sistrurus catenatus edwardsii, inhabits xeric grasslands from western Texas to southeastern Arizona and occurs in The Massasauga rattlesnake Great Lakes-St.Lawrence population is currently listed as Threatened and the Massasauga rattlesnake’s Carolinan population is listed as Endangered under the Ontario Endangered Species Act, 2007 and Threatened under the federal Species at Risk Act. The eastern massasauga is primarily associated with wetland habitats but some populations also utilize adjacent upland habitats for parts of its life history. You are using an outdated browser that is no longer supported by Ontario.ca. Adults feed mainly on rodents, while juveniles usually prey on reptiles, more often lizards in western populations and snakes in eastern ones. [citation needed] Both of these scenarios can be prevented by avoiding hiking through areas of low visibility (in rattlesnake country) when not wearing shoes and long pants and by leaving the snakes alone if encountered. Rattlesnakes can be found in almost every U.S. state. For the Massasauga Rattlesnake, we considered critical habitat for the northern part of the species range as polygons with a 1.2 kilometre radius, based on the centroid of confirmed records of the species (2085 for Bruce Peninsula and 6726 for Eastern Georgian Bay. To some people, conservation of a venomous snake may seem a waste of money, stupid and even negligent. Even experienced observers who search for the Massasauga as part of a test find a very small percentage of those in a search area; most hikers would walk right by a Massasauga, unaware of its presence. Stocky with a well-developed rattle, the Eastern Massasauga is brownish gray with rounded dark blotches on its body. [13] The subspecies is a candidate for federal listing. It rarely exceeds 75 cm (29 in.) Related Species. Unlike these species, the Massasauga has a rattle, vertical pupils and saddle- or butterfly-shaped blotches down its back. The habitat of this species is further protected in Ontario by the Provincial Policy Statement under the Planning Act. Eastern Massasauga (Sistrurus catenatus) is a State Endangered Species and a Federally Threatened Species. The belly is black with scattered light markings. Lawrence population) in Canada Action Required: Conservation breeding, reintroduction, population augmentation and translocations As Ontario’s only remaining venomous reptile, the massasauga rattlesnake has faced widespread persecution, despite the fact that it poses little threat to public safety. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has identified the three as the Northern Copperhead, the Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake, and the Eastern Timber Rattlesnake. Massasauga Rattlesnake. Additional detail about legal protection for species at risk in Ontario is available on our Legal Protection page. Three subspecies are currently recognized including the nominate subspecies described here. and Wilson, R.J. (2001). It is gray and brown with dark, round brown blotches on the back and other smaller and less-distinct blotches on the sides. Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake habitat doesn’t look like much from the road. Species are listed as such due to their wide distribution, presumed large population, or because they are unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a more threatened category. [24], Canada: southern Ontario along the shores of Georgian Bay, Lake Huron, and Lake Erie, Considered to be its own separate species as of 2011. | The eastern massasauga (Sistrurus catenatus catenatus), one of three subspecies of massasauga, occurs in the upper Midwest and southern Ontario. VENOMOUS Description: This rattlesnake has a row of dark brown blotches that run down the length of its back. Like all rattlesnakes, the Massasuaga is a pit viper and can see thermal images of its environment using two heat-sensitive pits between its eyes and nostrils. Guidelines for Identifying Significant Habitat, and Significant Wildlife Habitat, for the Massasauga in Eastern Georgian Bay and Bruce Peninsula Populations, Ontario. In comparison, six to 12 people die from lightning strikes each year in Canada. According to Klauber (1956), S. catenatus feeds on frogs more frequently than any other rattlesnake. Severe internal bleeding causes the death of the small animals that this snake eats. It has heat-sensing pits on each side of its smallish head, the scales are keeled, and the anal scale is single. The Massasauga is a pygmy rattlesnake; most adults are only 60 to 75 centimetres long. Howard K. Reinert and Lauretta M. Bushar, "The Massasauga Rattlesnake in Pennsylvania: Continuing Habitat Loss and Population Isolation", International Symposium and Workshop on the Conservation of the Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake, 10.2305/IUCN.UK.2007.RLTS.T64346A12772707.en, Reporte de Fauna de la Region de Samalayuca UACJ, 10.1643/0045-8511(2006)6[742:seamhs]2.0.co;2, "Illinois Natural History Survey Collections", "312 IAC 9-5-4: Endangered species of reptiles and amphibians", "The massasauga is listed as a special concern in the U.S. state of Michigan", Royal Ontario Museum: Massasauga Rattlesnake, "Rattler makes rare appearance - on golf course", "Western Pennsylvania Conservancy - Eastern Massasauga Research", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Massasauga&oldid=992437145, Articles with unsourced statements from November 2009, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. [4][16] It is found only near the eastern shore of Georgian Bay, the Bruce Peninsula, the North Shore of Lake Huron,[17] Wainfleet Bog, and Ojibway Prairie. [10][11][12] Michigan, the only state in which it is not considered endangered, lists it as "special concern". There are dark stripes on both sides and top of the head. The venom of S. c. catenatus is a cytotoxic venom that destroys tissue. Pp. The species requires very specific microhabitat features within these habitats for mating, hunting and especially thermoregulation. Conservation ScienceProtecting Pennsylvania's Plants and Animals Species at Risk:Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake This small, stout rattlesnake is listed by the U.S. -Dawson 17:20, 24 April 2006 (UTC) Excellent idea. If with another person have them seek help immediately. [23] Recent studies indicate that Ontario hospitals in rattlesnake country often do not have antivenom, as massasauga-specific antivenom is not easy to acquire. The massasauga (Sistrurus catenatus) is a rattlesnake species found in midwestern North America from southern Ontario to northern Mexico and parts of the United States in between. The massasauga is the smallest rattlesnake in Nebraska. The Massasauga rattlesnake is the smallest of the four kinds of rattlesnakes that have been recorded for Canada. Most massasauga snakebites in Ontario have occurred after people deliberately handled or accidentally stepped on one of these animals. In Ojibwa, the word “Massasauga” means “great river mouth.” The Massasauga is a habitat generalist and can be found in forests, meadows, shoreline habitats, wetlands, rock barrens, grasslands and old fields. This snake is most easily identified by its rattle, which is made up of interlocking segments that are added one by one when the snake sheds its skin, one to three times a year. [2], According to Campbell and Lamar (2004), a population also exists in southeastern Colorado that is morphologically somewhat intermediate between S. c. tergeminus and S. c. Ontario Snakes, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Toronto, 1981. The species’ status was last confirmed in 2007. Massasauga rattlesnake range map (in orange) Goals and Objectives for Massasauga Rattlesnakes. [8] It occurs in various habitats ranging from swamps and marshes to grasslands, usually below 1500 m elevation. The eastern massasauga can remain undetected with the help of its pattern, even at close range. The sooner the better. The eastern foxsnake, eastern hog-nosed snake, eastern milksnake and northern watersnake superficially resemble the Massasauga. After envenomation, the rattlesnake is able to withdraw from the dangers of sharp-toothed prey animals until they are subdued and even partially digested by the action of the venom. Article was last reviewed on 13th June 2019. The eastern massasauga is a small venomous rattlesnake found in the northeastern United States. Update COSEWIC Status Report on the Eastern Massasauga, Sistrurus catenatus catenatus. NRCS activities to benefit massasauga rattlesnakes focus on the protection of existing wetlands, restoration of drained or manipulated wetlands, … [20] A 2003–2005 survey showed only four locations in two counties with confirmed populations. Populations of this snake have declined so much that it is now necessary to work to conserve it or it could go extinct in the future. When threatened, it rattles or retreats under nearby cover. Sistrurus catenatus catenatus. WWF. Road mortality is also a serious threat to this slow-moving snake and is probably the most severe threat to this species in protected areas. Small to medium rattlesnake that unlike most rattlesnakes, has 9 enlarged scales on top of the head. In general, however, frogs are not an important part of the diet, although this does seem to be more typical in certain northern and eastern populations.[5]. The Massasauga Rattlesnake, Sistrurus catenatus, is a diminutive species with a distribution in the United States which largely tracks the retreat of Pleistocene glaciation and the spread of grasslands. [5][6], The Native American word, "massasauga", means "great river-mouth" in the Ojibwe language and was probably given to describe grasslands surrounding the river deltas in Ojibwe country. The massasauga is listed as threatened species by the US Fish and Wildlife Service under the Endangered Species Act. [1] The eastern massasauga has been listed as a candidate species on the United States Endangered Species Act since 1999. [4] The color pattern consists of a grey or tan ground color with a row of large rounded brown/black blotches or spots down the center of the back and three smaller rows of alternating spots down each side. [9], 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 Massasauga has been extirpated from much of its previous range in southwestern Ontario and is now restricted to the eastern shore of Georgian Bay, the northern Bruce Peninsula, a tiny population on the Niagara Peninsula and a tiny (no longer viable) population near the city of Windsor. Opening and Closing; The Massasauga : April 24, 2020 to October 25, 2020 Snake bites are rare; approximately 2-3 … The massasauga is one of the two venomous snakes in Wisconsin, the timber rattlesnake is the other. 2005. The scales are keeled (ridged down the centre), which gives the snake a rough appearance). It also has three small rows of lighter colored blotches along each side. 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