ANIMAL: Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake Sistrurus catenatus Type of Animal: Viper Habitat: Wetlands, open upland areas, open fields, prairies, marshes, low areas along rivers/lakes, crayfish burrows, small mammal burrows, swamps, upland open shrub forest, farmland, meadows, bogs Location(s): C & W New York south of Lake Ontario, W Pennsylvania, N & C Ohio, N Indiana, lower Michigan, Illinois, S Wisconsin, extreme SE Minnesota, E Iowa, NE Missouri, & S Ontario along shores of Georgian Bay, Lake Huron, & Lake Erie. Appearance: Thick bodies w/ gray, gray-brown, or brownish color, dark brown blotches w/ smaller lighter brown patches on sides, wide triangular head, slit shaped pupils, young have small yellow buttonlike rattles at tip of tail, adult rattles grayish-yellow. Food/Diet: Rodents, weasels (in fights to death), shrews, amphibians, other snakes, lizards, centipedes, birds, bird eggs, insects Status in Wild: Threatened Conservation: Breeding from zoos & reptile breeders. Reintroduction programs in areas where scarce. Lifestyle: Solitary Additional Info: Called: Male Female Young-Snakelet Group-Solitary Weight: Male-11 oz Female-15 oz Young-1 oz Gestation: 2-4 months Life Span: 10-15 years Body Length: Male-3 ft Female-2 ft Young-1 ft Main predators are hawks, owls, falcons, bobcats, foxes, coyotes, wolves, eagles, herons, larger snakes, snapping turtles, cranes, dogs, cats, raccoons, weasels (sometimes weasel gets eaten), bullfrogs, shrikes, corvids, otters, pigs, & skunks Like many snakes, they’re ambush predators. Threatened due to persecution, pet trade, habitat loss, wetland drainage, inbreeding, & disease. Gives birth to 2-20 live young. Uses cryptic coloration to ambush prey & avoid predators. Often return to same hibernation area each year. Sexually mature at 3 years. Fun Fact(s): They’re known by many names, such as swamp rattler & eastern massasauga great adder. The name “Massasauga” comes from Chippewa word meaning “Great River Mouth.” 25-50% of bites are dry bites in which no venom delivered. These snakes very docile & won’t bite if not harassed/stepped on. Venom is cytotoxic, destroying tissue. Since they eat rodents, they prevent spread of rodent-transmitted diseases.