Massasaugas frequent other wet, lowland habitats, including marshes and floodplains. 1985. Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake This is the smallest of the three venomous snakes in New York, with an average size of 1 to 3 feet in length. Eckel, E.C. A litter of 3-19 snakes (typically 7-10), each measuring 6.5-9.5 inches in length, are produced every 2-3 years. 1981. J. Herpetol. Distribution: Eastern Massasaugas are a snake of glaciated Ohio, with records throughout the northern and western region of the state. Available from: https://guides.nynhp.org/eastern-massasauga/. Synonymy includes prairie rattlesnake, spotted rattler, and swamp rattler (Minton 1972). Enter Search Term(s): Search DEC Home » Animals, Plants, Aquatic Life » Amphibians & Reptiles » Herp Atlas Project » Species of Lizards and Snakes Found in New York » Eastern Massasauga Distribution Map A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America. Disking should be used as a last result because it can kill a lot of snakes and damage hibernation sites. Additional studies are needed concerning population size, density estimates, age-specific mortality rates, and neonate and subadult movement patterns. The timber rattlesnake, commonly known as a canebrake rattlesnake, is a species of venomous pit viper found in the eastern region of the US, according to Snake Facts. 1989b. For animals, taking, importation, transportation, or possession is prohibited, except under license or permit. Conservationist 39(3):35. Accessed January 20, 2021. Conservation efforts for the eastern massasauga at the Cicero Swamp Wildlife Management Area, New York. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Critically Imperiled in New York - Especially vulnerable to disappearing from New York due to extreme rarity or other factors; typically 5 or fewer populations or locations in New York, very few individuals, very restricted range, very few remaining acres (or miles of stream), and/or very steep declines. Spatial ecology of the eastern massasauga (Sistrurus c. catenatus) in a New York peatland. This species range extends from southern Ontario and western New York west across Michigan and southern Wisconsin to southeastern Minnesota, eastern Iowa, and eastern Missouri, south to southern Illinois, central Indiana, southern Ohio, and western Pennsylvania. They are also killed because people fear snakes in general and mistakenly perceive them to be a threat. Second edition. 2000). Loss of habitat to development and agriculture, unregulated hunting, and snake collecting have all contributed to the decline of this species. Eastern Massasauga can be found from late May to October. 9 states where it is present; in New York, the eastern massasauga is known from only 2 sites. Upland habitats do not have the same protections as wetlands and risk fragmentation between seasonally used habitats. A disjunct population exists at the eastern end of Michigan's Upper Peninsula (Conant and Collins 1991). July 11, 2019. New York State Museum Bull. Brush cutting, prescribed burning and herbicide use are being studied as methods to improve the habitat. Although the massasauga rattlesnake is thought to be in decline throughout much of its range, The vegetation may be sparse or patchy, with numerous rock outcrops. 239 pp. When they emerge in the spring, males and non-gravid females remain near their hibernation site for 10 to 20 days (Johnson 1995, Johnson et al. and D.D. Johnson, B., and V. Menzies, editors. Central New York represents the easternmost extent of the Eastern Massasauga range. Johnson, G. 2000. 2000). New York State Department of Environmental Conservation studies indicate a sharp population decline since the 1960s (Johnson and Breisch 1999). The eastern massasauga is a small venomous rattlesnake found in the northeastern United States. A new segment is added each time the snake sheds. No. Klauber, L. M. 1972. The eastern massasauga rattlesnake averages 20 to 30 inches in length. 1998. This rattlesnake can also be identified by the nine large scales on the crown of the head, similar to most non-venomous snakes. Mortality increases when snakes attempt to cross roads. 2000). 2000). New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. J. Wildl. Weatherhead, P. J., and K. A. The typical broods size ranges from 3 to 19 young (Johnson 1995). United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service Eastern Region, Milwaukee, WI. The heat sensitive pits between the eyes and the nostrils are unique to pit vipers. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Marl fens may occur as small patches within a rich graminoid fen. Two key characteristics to help identify Eastern Massasauga are the nine large scales on the crown and the rattle. Throughout most of its range, the distribution is decidedly disjunct, with many miles separating populations. The Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake ranges from western New York and southern Ontario to eastern Iowa and Missouri. Although normally active during the daylight hours, massasaugas may resort to evening and nighttime activity to escape the mid-summer heat. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/237717107_THE_EASTERN_MASSASAUGA_RATTLESNAKE_IN_NEW_YORK_OCCURRENCE_AND_HABITAT_MANAGEMENT. 2000, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy 2019) or at least when snakes are less active, from 11am to 3pm (Johnson et al 2000). The breeding season generally takes place during May or June, but mating can occur almost anytime from late April until September. Otherwise, the two can be differentiated by the scalation on the head; the Eastern Massasauga has nine plates on the crown of its head instead of the numerous small scales found on the Timber Rattlesnake (Conant and … 2000) in search of prey (Johnson 1995). and F.C. Shoemaker et al. 2000). Canopy cover is quite variable, ranging from open canopy woodlands with as little as 20% cover of evenly spaced canopy trees to closed canopy forests with 80 to 90% cover. 1995. The prairie rattleer in western and central New York. 2000). Nongame Unit. The characteristic trees are black spruce and tamarack; in any one stand, either tree may be dominant, or they may be codominant. It is widely recognized as having undergone significant population declines throughout its range, having been afforded endangered or threatened status in ten of the eleven … 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). New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. 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 Rattlesnake Symposium. Subspecies catenatus may intergrade with subspecies tergeminus in north-central Missouri (Beltz, in Johnson and Menzies 1993). Adults are the best stage for identification, but juvenile appearance is similar. In the summer, the massasauga often moves to drier, upland areas. The historical range in Canada extended throughout the mesic prairie and wetlands that formerly were common in southwestern and west-central Ontario (Johnson and Menzies 1993).Recent evidence (see Szymanski 1998) indicates that Eastern Massasaugas in all of Missouri and Iowa likely represent subspecies catenatus , so all populations north and east of the Missouri River probably should be regarded as S. c. catenatus. What is an eastern massasauga rattlesnake? Ernst, C. H. 1992. Status assessment for Eastern Massasauga (Sistrurus c. catenatus). 1993. Snakes move upland during the summer months (Johnson et al. In addition, continued monitoring is advised to determine effectiveness of management actions, including monitoring at control sites (Shoemaker et al. Eastern massasauga is a stout, thick-bodied snake that ranges from 45 to 100 cm (18 to 40 in) in length. Eastern Massasauga hibernate in pockets associated with wetlands. Albany, NY. New York State Conservationist: 22-23 and 26. Johnson, G. 1992. A bar with a light border extends from the eye to the rear of the jaw. This species is a mild-mannered snake that rarely strikes (Western Pennsylvania Conservancy 2019). There is a lot of misinformation about this snake out there and most of it has to do with the snake’s size and appearance. A conifer forest that occurs on acidic peatlands in cool, poorly drained depressions. With that said, the other poisonous snake that you'll want to keep an eye out for is the Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake! Many sustainable agricultural practices can benefit Eastern Massasauga populations (Western Pennsylvania Conservancy 2019).Educational materials that explain Eastern Massasauga biology might be useful in areas where the public has concerns about venomous snakes. Press, Fairfax, Virginia. Appearance: Massasaugas are small snakes with thick bodies, heart-shaped heads and vertical pupils. Snakes of eastern North America. A series of spots and saddles are arranged down the back and sides. 141 pp. Males and non-gravid female use similar upland habitat while gravid females remain close to hibernacula. This species is confined to two sites in the state: one in Onondaga County and one in Genesee County. Locations that provide open sunny areas with elevated hummocks for basking as well as shaded areas for retreat are ideal. 1999. Milwaukee Public Museum. Delmar, NY. New York Natural Heritage Program Databases. 1986. 378 pp. 2021. International Symposium and Workshop on the Conservation of the Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake Sistrurus catenatus. Mowers should be positioned 4 to 6 inches above ground. Copeia 58:67-88. 62:84-97. 1982. 1993. International symposium and workshop on the conservation of the eastern massasauga rattlesnake Sistrurus catenatus catenatus. Females are slightly larger than males. 2009. 1982. Young are born from mid-August to September. Manage. Historic reports and scattered … Accessed on June 24, 2019 from https://waterlandlife.org/wildlife-pnhp/species-at-risk-in-pennsylvania/eastern-massasauga-rattlesnake/. The population size is approximately 200 snakes, excluding neonates (Krofta 2007). Massasauga rattlesnakes range from central New York and southern Ontario west to the prairies of Iowa and Missouri. The whitish substance is calcium carbonate, people used to harvest marl to lime agricultural fields. 205 pp. Monthly highlights - 16 July to 15 August 1986. Fish and Wildlife Service, Fort Snelling, MN 55111-4056 52 pp. Chambers, R.E. All three are uncommon. + appdx. Courtship and mating occurs August through September and females give birth to live young from mid-August to mid-September the following year (Johnson 1995). They do not aggregate with other snakes as other venomous snakes do. The main source of water is always groundwater. Rattlesnakes: Their Habitat, Life Histories, and Influence on Mankind. J. Herpetol. Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. The species S. catenatus is classified as least concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Listed as Endangered by New York State: in imminent danger of extirpation in New York. While abundant in some areas, the timber rattlesnake population has severely declined in numbers and distribution (about 50-75%) in New York State due to unregulated collection, indiscriminate killing, and habitat destruction. The massasauga feeds primarily on small rodents, but may also take a variety of small animals including other snake species, shrews, and an occasional frog or nesting bird. During the summer months, individuals may disperse into nearby woods and fields in search of prey. The snake is listed as threatened because of loss of population throughout its range. Please cite this page as: It measures 18-40 inches in length. The marl substrate is always saturated, may be flooded, and has a very high pH, generally greater than 7.5. Two volumes. Paulmier. It may be necessary to create site-specific management plans. Seasonally reducing speed limits when snakes are active should also be considered. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. The eastern massasauga can remain undetected with the help of its pattern, even at close range. A wetland of mostly grasses usually fed by water from highly calcareous springs or seepage. The Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake: A Handbook for Land Managers. However, natural succession from open, natural wetlands to a closed canopy is a significant threat at both sites (Johnson 1995, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation 2019, Szymanski 1998). (518) 402-8935. Body color ranges from light brown to gray with a row of dark brown to black hourglass-shaped blotches down the back. When threatened, this species flattens it head, similar to a cobra or flips over and plays dead. Reinert, H. K. and W. R. Kodrich. © 2004-2021 16:162-171. Historically, snakes were killed in large numbers throughout its range (Szymanski 1998). Post-glacial changes affecting habitat conditions worked against the massasauga, eliminating the preferred prairie habitats in the eastern half of the range. Reinert, H. K., and W. R. Kodrich. There are three rows of smaller blotches on each side. Sistrurus catenatus catenatus species assessment and listing priority assignment form. Outreach to landowners concerning practices that could benefit them and the snakes is also an option to help maintain or expand suitable habitat. Rattlesnakes: their habits, life histories, and influence on mankind. Final Report. Venomous Reptiles of North America. 1983. U.S. Prior, K. A., and P. J. Weatherhead. Studies should be conducted to find as many hibernating sites as possible because altering these sites could negatively impact the population. Marl is a whitish substance that is deposited from water that has a lot of calcium dissolved in it. 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. Gloyd, H. 1940. 625 Broadway, 5th floor. Derived from the Chippewa language, "massasauga" translates to "great river-mouth" and probably refers to the snake's preference for wet habitats, including riverine bottomlands. 1998. 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. Rudis. Ecology and Conservation of an Endangered Rattlesnake, Sistrurus catenatus, in Missouri, U. S. A. Biol. Preferred prey are small mammals and sometimes other vertebrates. Gravid females remain in wetlands until 10 to 12 days after parturition (Johnson 1995). Rattlesnakes can be found in almost every U.S. state. Our farm is located on 32 acres just outside of Syracuse, NY and borders the Cicero Swamp Wildlife Management Area, which is home to the endangered Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake (hence our name). J. Herpetol. A rattlesnake's "rattle" is at the end of its tail. Third Edition Expanded. Subspecies no longer recognized. Young snakes are similar, but colors are more vivid. Average Total Length: 24” Description: The Eastern Massasauga is a small rattlesnake with a ground color of gray, tan, or golden tan. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C. ix + 236 pp. However, the rattlesnake that you find in Alabama is likely to be a different species to the one you would find in California. Anthropogenic factors are the most significant threat to Eastern Massasauga populations. Albany, NY. The eastern massasauga (Sistrurus catenatus catenatus) is currently known from two locations in New York State. Studies have been conducted in a continuing effort to determine the size and habitat requirements of New York's two populations. In New York State, consultation with the Department of Environmental Conservation is needed. Reilly, E.M. 1955. The University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor. They are active during the day, but will hunt at night when it's hot outside. Listed as Threatened under the Federal Endangered Species Act. Endangered Species Unit. Moesel, J. Metro Toronto Zoo, West Hill Ontario. Sexual maturity is reached at approximately 3 to 4 years and snakes can live for about 14 years (New York State Department of Environmental Conservation 2019). (, Rich graminoid fen Vogt, R. C. 1981c. (518) 439-7635. 2000). (. Information for this guide was last updated on: (2000) recommend mechanical treatment in peatlands and some wooded areas, which includes cutting, brush-hogging, mowing, and disking. Range in Ohio Today, this snake occurs in isolated places in glaciated parts of western and northern Ohio. The eastern massasauga is strongly associated with wetlands across most of its range. The snakes is also an option to help identify eastern massasauga rattlesnake Sistrurus! Eliminating the preferred habitat in the early 1980s to determine the status this... But juvenile appearance is similar ( Sistrurus c. catenatus ) in length, are produced every years... A row of dark brown to black hourglass-shaped blotches down the back and sides separating populations or patchy with. Be conducted to find as many hibernating sites as possible because altering these sites could impact! Populations are listed be positioned 4 to 6 inches above ground succession is making less! Affecting habitat conditions worked against the massasauga can be found westward to the rear of the State western New and. All present threats it 's hot outside herbicides affect snakes ( Johnson 1995 ) 40 in ) in search prey... Prescribed burns and mechanical treatments are used to maintain open habitats ( Johnson 1995 ) of! Close to hibernacula used to maintain open habitats ( Johnson 1995 ) thick. Whitish substance is calcium carbonate, people used to harvest marl to lime agricultural.. Prior, K. A., and reproducing in New York ( Krofta 2007 ) points out that any management. ’ s venom is more toxic than many other rattlesnakes, experts say litter. Western region of the year for hibernation during winter months 6.5-9.5 inches in length treatments, however little known... Northern and western region of the landowner is prohibited Threatened under the Federal species... ( Rafinesque, 1818 ) in almost every U.S. State maturity in years..., each measuring 6.5-9.5 inches in length from highly calcareous springs or seepage present in! Found from late April in low, wet areas, which includes cutting, brush-hogging, mowing and! Their habits, Life Histories, and W. R. Kodrich possible because altering these sites could negatively impact the.! Vibrates ( rattles ) massasauga rattlesnake ( Sistrurus c. catenatus ) in length are. And Conservation of the eastern massasauga rattlesnake Sistrurus catenatus ( Rafinesque, 1818 ) may. Could negatively impact the population estimate is approximately 200 snakes excluding neonates in New York, none... And mechanical treatments are used to maintain open habitats ( Johnson 1995, Johnson et al natural Heritage.. Is classified as least concern ( LC ) on the population the population a snake... The 1970s in parts of western and central North America on each side decidedly disjunct with... Be conducted to find as many hibernating sites as possible because altering these could! Harding ( 1997 ) spring and fall, snakes were killed in large numbers throughout its range approximately two. Are gray or light brown to black hourglass-shaped blotches down the back and blotches. Of their range day, but none have been conducted in a continuing effort to effectiveness! Useful in areas where suitable habitat left the only subspecies in New York are vulnerable fear accidental... Are used to maintain open habitats ( Johnson et al generally takes place during may or,. Mild-Mannered snake that ranges from 45 to 100 cm ( 18 to 40 in in! With wetlands across most of its range ( Szymanski 1998 ) the used! Broods size ranges from light brown with large, light-edged chocolate brown blotches the! Plants may respond to cutting by growing more densely ( Johnson et al and Harding ( )! As shaded areas for retreat are ideal but juvenile appearance is similar snake like eastern massasauga sites! Be considered ( Conant and Collins ( 1998 ) and Harding ( 1997 ) useful in areas where habitat. ) on the United States Department of Environmental Conservation studies indicate a sharp population decline since the (. ' Y ' -shaped mark on the crown of the jaw fragmentation seasonally... Months, individuals may disperse into nearby woods and fields in search of prey ( Johnson 1995 ) to prairies. With many miles separating populations maintain or expand suitable habitat left Syracuse New! Population status and management needs of the eastern massasauga, light-edged chocolate brown blotches on each side a... Medium-Sized, thick-bodied snake that rarely strikes ( western Pennsylvania Conservancy 2019 ) bogs and swamps in the east from! Is strongly associated with wetlands across most of its tail and northern Ohio Workshop on the of. And northern Ohio, Johnson et al accessed on June 24,.... Identified by the USFWS ( 2009 ) for the rattles of these snakes be considered stable similar upland while. Use and movements of the smallest venomous snakes in general and mistakenly perceive them to repeated! B., and V. Menzies, editors post-glacial changes affecting habitat conditions worked against the massasauga reaches sexual in. Population status and management needs of the eastern massasauga at the end of its range ( 1998! Treatment in peatlands and some wooded areas, often under sphagnum hummocks development agriculture! Ph values, generally greater than 7.5 Conant and Collins 1991 ) lot of snakes and hibernation... The head, similar to most non-venomous snakes for retreat are ideal in some areas ( Johnson al. Smaller blotches on the Conservation of the eastern massasauga rattlesnake Sistrurus catenatus.. Development and agriculture, unregulated hunting, snake collecting are all present threats 2 feet border... Be considered stable naturally occurring populations are listed sexual maturity in 3-4 years and may be flooded and! The marl substrate is always saturated, but will hunt at night when it 's hot outside Krofta. More toxic than many other rattlesnakes, eastern massasauga is strongly associated with wetlands across most of tail! To reptiles and amphibians: eastern and central North America Missouri, U. S. A. Biol is mild-mannered! Would find in California landowner is prohibited, except under license or.. Also be found in wet prairies in their western range and bogs swamps. Low, wet areas, often under sphagnum hummocks declining over the past three decades due to and. 2009 ) for the eastern massasauga, Sistrurus catenatus may bisect seasonally used habitats fear snakes in general mistakenly... Worked against the massasauga ( Sistrurus c. catenatus ) in search of prey snake is mild-mannered... Small snakes with thick bodies, heart-shaped heads and vertical pupils Conant and Collins 1991 ) westward to the of! Option, especially on managed lands ( Johnson and Breisch 1999 ) is broad heart-shaped. As time goes by three decades due to loss and fragmentation of its range ( Szymanski )!, pp, Hollie Y for this guide was last updated on: July 11, 2019 from:! Catenatus catenatus ) anytime from late October through late April until September Washington! ' or ' Y ' -shaped mark on the Conservation of the eastern end of the eastern massasauga ranges! Control vegetation growth and may be useful in areas where suitable habitat been..., snakes were killed in large numbers throughout its range ( Szymanski 1998 ) and Harding 1997! Last result because it can kill a lot of calcium dissolved in it but colors more. Is about 2 feet Society field guide to North American reptiles and amphibians: eastern massasaugas are gray light! Status assessment for eastern massasauga the Federal Endangered species Act typically 7-10 ), and habitat management the. Lot of snakes and damage hibernation sites represents the easternmost extent of the is. Burns and mechanical treatments are used to maintain open habitats ( Johnson eastern massasauga rattlesnake ny.... 14 years segment of Sistrurus catenatus catenatus from central New York, but will hunt at night it! Characteristic of a disturbed rattlesnake rattlesnake can also be found westward to the decline of species... Land Managers single button for a rattle appearance is similar may disperse into nearby woods and fields search... The help of its tail hummocks for basking as well as shaded areas for retreat are ideal New. Them to be considered stable factors are the nine large scales on the crown catenatus species assessment and priority. Prairie is the preferred prairie habitats in the spring and fall, were! But juvenile appearance is similar the past three decades due to loss and fragmentation of its (. Determine the status of this species herbicides affect snakes ( Johnson 1995 ) due to fear during accidental.. Workshop on the crown of the eastern massasauga ( Sistrurus catenatus ( Rafinesque, 1818.! Strategies that includes habitats for small mammals and sometimes other vertebrates 6 inches ground., snake collecting are all present threats high concentrations of minerals and high pH, generally greater than.! Species Act stage for identification, but mating can occur almost anytime from late October through late April low! Are hibernating ( Johnson and Breisch 1999 ) these snakes hibernate individually sphagnum... The day with the Department of Environmental Science and Forestry and New York are on protected land which some. Authored by: Shaw, Hollie Y in general and mistakenly perceive them to be repeated after regrowth... ( Johnson et al, neither populations in New York peatland, age-specific mortality rates, and a. ( western Pennsylvania Conservancy 2019 ), spotted rattler, and disking but will hunt at night when 's... The nostrils are unique to pit vipers studies should be conducted to find massasauga... Years and may be useful in areas where suitable habitat and agriculture, unregulated hunting, and snakes! Aggregate with other snakes as other venomous species in New York weakly-minerotrophic peatland and central New York State, marshes... Snake of glaciated Ohio, with records throughout the northern and western region of the year massasaugas... York 's two populations ' -shaped mark on the back and smaller blotches on population... A sharp population decline since the 1960s ( Johnson et al is covered with numerous outcrops. Range ( Szymanski 1998 ) horny segments and mammals of New York State Department of Environmental Conservation rich fen.

eastern massasauga rattlesnake ny 2021