Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake
Estimated Wild Population
Eastern massasauga rattlesnakes can reach up to 30 inches in length. Their cryptic coloration—irregularly dark saddles alternating against a lighter background—helps them blend into the leaves and branches of their wetland habitat, and their tail ends in a namesake “rattle,” a collection of modified scales. They spend the winter hibernating in underwater burrows, where the cold temperature induces a state of suspended animation until spring.
Interesting Fact 1
Eastern massasaugas rarely use their tail rattle to warn off predators, opting instead to stay motionless in the presence of intruders.
Interesting Fact 2
These snakes detect their prey via vibrations in the ground, a strong sense of smell, and heat-sensing pits on the sides of their face.
Interesting Fact 3
Although their venom is potentially life threatening, they aren’t generally considered a threat to humans, as they are reluctant to bite and typically only do so when cornered.
Commitment to Care
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Wildlife face many daunting challenges—some global, like planet-wide climate change, and some that affect individuals, like an animal ingesting plastic—but now is not the time to despair. None of these problems are too big for us to come together and solve.