Status assessment for Eastern Massasauga (Sistrurus c. catenatus). Once found throughout the state, the eastern massasauga rattlesnake (EMR) is listed as an endangered species in New York due to rapid habitat loss. 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). Prescribed burns and mechanical treatments are used to maintain open habitats (Johnson and Breisch 1999, Johnson et al. Reinert, H. K., and W. R. Kodrich. + appdx. Szymanski, Jennifer. This species has a series or loose scales at the end of the tail that vibrates (rattles). Subspecies no longer recognized. U.S. Rattlesnakes: Their Habitat, Life Histories, and Influence on Mankind. Eastern Hog-nosed Snake is a medium-sized, thick-bodied snake like Eastern Massasauga. They do not aggregate with other snakes as other venomous snakes do. Captive rearing of young for release back into the wild is another possible means of enhancing populations. Adult massasaugas are gray or light brown with large, light-edged chocolate brown blotches on the back and smaller blotches on the sides. Spatial ecology of the eastern massasauga (Sistrurus c. catenatus) in a New York peatland. Endangered Species Unit. A community that occurs on cool, dry, rocky ridgetops and summits where the bedrock is calcareous (such as limestone or dolomite), and the soils are more or less calcareous. The massasauga reaches sexual maturity in 3-4 years and may live for about 14 years. Chicago Academy Science, Special Publication No. Eastern Massasauga Klauber, L. M. 1972. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Preferred prey are small mammals and sometimes other vertebrates. The suggested goal is to have at least 50% of the habitat open with vegetation less than 0.5 meter tall (Johnson et al. © 2004-2021 2000). A wetland of mostly grasses usually fed by water from highly calcareous springs or seepage. Note that some plants may respond to cutting by growing more densely (Johnson and Breisch 1999). Marl fens may occur as small patches within a rich graminoid fen. These waters have high concentrations of minerals and high pH values, generally from 6.0 to 7.8. New York State Conservationist: 22-23 and 26. 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. Manage. It may be necessary to create site-specific management plans. Historically, this species was once considered abundant at known locations (Johnson et al. What is an eastern massasauga rattlesnake? The hummocks are also used as a place for bearing young and, most importantly, for hibernation during winter months. Subspecies catenatus may intergrade with subspecies tergeminus in north-central Missouri (Beltz, in Johnson and Menzies 1993). Reproduction has been confirmed at both sites. A field guide to reptiles and amphibians: eastern and central North America. Tom Bell, NYS DEC. Conservation efforts for the eastern massasauga at the Cicero Swamp Wildlife Management Area, New York. and D.D. 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 … 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. Reilly, E.M. 1955. 2000). Mark/recapture and radio-telemetry studies were initiated in the early 1980s to determine the status of this species in New York State. There is no rattle. and F.C. Young snakes are similar, but colors are more vivid. Rattlesnake Symposium. If used, the best time to apply herbicides is at the end of the growing season, just before the leaves fall (Johnson et al. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Massachusetts. Fish and Wildlife Service, Fort Snelling, MN 55111-4056 52 pp. This species is a mild-mannered snake that rarely strikes (Western Pennsylvania Conservancy 2019). J. Herpetol. Disking should be used as a last result because it can kill a lot of snakes and damage hibernation sites. Today, most populations occur in Michigan and Ontario, but also in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa. Endangered Species Unit. The two remaining sites in New York are safe from development, though natural succession is making them less suitable as time goes by. The adult massasauga, also known as the "swamp rattler," is a stout-bodied snake with a broad head. Natural history of amphibians and reptiles of Wisconsin. Albany, NY. 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. In New York, massasaugas hibernate from late October through late April in low, wet areas, often under sphagnum hummocks. The eastern massasauga is associated with nonforested wetlands across its range (Wright 1941, Reinert and Kodrich 1982, Seigel 1986, Weatherhead and Prior 1992) and will use fen and transitional peatlands, especially in the east- The U.S. In New York, the Eastern Massasauga is found in wetland habitat in the central and western part of the state and the range of the two species do not overlap. The massasauga rattlesnake is the smallest of the three venomous snakes found in New York State, the other two being the timber rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus) and the copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix). They do not hibernate in communal dens as do the other venomous species in New York. New York Natural Heritage Program. 1986. 378 pp. For plants, removal or damage without the consent of the landowner is prohibited. 1902. Metro Toronto Zoo. International Symposium and Workshop on the Conservation of the Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake Sistrurus catenatus. 1986. Mowers should be positioned 4 to 6 inches above ground. Prior, K. A., and P. J. Weatherhead. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington. 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. Development, agriculture, unregulated hunting, snake collecting are all present threats. Gloyd, H. 1940. In New York State, consultation with the Department of Environmental Conservation is needed. The northern populations in Ontario, Canada, around Georgian Bay are found in rock outcrop areas that are more similar to the habitat where we find timber rattlesnakes. Albany, NY. Gestating areas and hibernacula in New York are on protected land which offers some protection. Young are born from mid-August to September. Proc. The timber rattlesnake's head is covered with numerous small scales. Females are slightly larger than males. United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service Eastern Region, Milwaukee, WI. 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. Available from: https://guides.nynhp.org/eastern-massasauga/. Eastern Massasauga use different habitat seasonally. Herbicides can help increase the intervals between treatments, however little is known about how herbicides affect snakes (Johnson et al. Movements and habitat utilization by the massasauga, Sistrurus catenatus catenatus. The northern limit of Sistrurus catenatus range is described as central New York and southwestern and west-central Ontario and extends south to extreme southeastern Arizona and the Gulf Coast of DeGraaf, R.M. The eastern massasauga is a small venomous rattlesnake found in the northeastern United States. The eastern massasauga can remain undetected with the help of its pattern, even at close range. Chambers, R.E. Accessed on June 24, 2019 from https://waterlandlife.org/wildlife-pnhp/species-at-risk-in-pennsylvania/eastern-massasauga-rattlesnake/. These rattlesnakes can be found in central New York State and southern Ontario, Canada. However, Eastern Hog-nosed Snake has an upturned snout and lacks a rattle. Marl is a whitish substance that is deposited from water that has a lot of calcium dissolved in it. Wildlife Resources Center. 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 heat sensitive pits between the eyes and the nostrils are unique to pit vipers. Wet prairie is the preferred … Johnson, G. 1990. 2000). The rattlesnakes. Eastern massasauga is a stout, thick-bodied snake that ranges from 45 to 100 cm (18 to 40 in) in length. To some people, conservation of a venomous snake may seem a waste of money, stupid and even negligent. 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. (Harvey and Weatherhead 2006, Johnson 1995, Johnson et al. (518) 439-7635. 141 pp. Third edition. 2000). With that said, the other poisonous snake that you'll want to keep an eye out for is the Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake! The snake is listed as threatened because of loss of population throughout its range. 35:333-346. 1994. They are also killed because people fear snakes in general and mistakenly perceive them to be a threat. Massasaugas give birth to live young; they do not lay eggs. The Conservationist (NYSDEC), Spet.-Oct. 1992, pp. A conifer forest that occurs on acidic peatlands in cool, poorly drained depressions. Thesis. Habitat Management for the Eastern Massasauga in a Central New York Peatland. Vulnerable globally - At moderate risk of extinction due to rarity or other factors; typically 80 or fewer populations or locations in the world, few individuals, restricted range, few remaining acres (or miles of stream), and/or recent and widespread declines. 2019. Conant, R. and J. T. Collins. Experimental habitat management has also been Carried out. Eastern Massasauga hibernate in pockets associated with wetlands. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Reproductive success is also being investigated. (, Northern white cedar rocky summit 62:84-97. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation studies indicate a sharp population decline since the 1960s which lead to listing this species as state endangered in 1983 (Johnson and Breisch 1999). Range in Ohio Today, this snake occurs in isolated places in glaciated parts of western and northern Ohio. Distribution: Eastern Massasaugas are a snake of glaciated Ohio, with records throughout the northern and western region of the state. Sistrurus catenatus. Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. 2008). 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). Plant remains do not decompose rapidly and these grasses usually grow on older, undecomposed plant parts. As this species is vulnerable to illegal collection and persecution, no naturally occurring populations are listed. New York State Museum Bull. Accessed January 20, 2021. Until outlawed in 1971, there was a bounty in certain counties in Northern New York for the rattles of these snakes. Transitional peatlands are critical for hibernation and gestation. 1983. Additional studies are needed concerning population size, density estimates, age-specific mortality rates, and neonate and subadult movement patterns. The background coloration is gray or brownish-gray. Eastern Massasauga Natural Areas Journal 10:219-220. Males and non-gravid female use similar upland habitat while gravid females remain close to hibernacula. 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 … Two volumes. Historic reports and scattered … The massasauga is native to the lower peninsula of Michigan and several other Great Lakes states. A new segment is added each time the snake sheds. The population size is approximately 200 snakes, excluding neonates (Krofta 2007). J. Herpetol. Metro Toronto Zoo, West Hill Ontario. New York Natural Heritage Program. Species at risk: Eastern Massasuaga rattlesnake. Some people kill snakes due to fear during accidental encounters. Adults are the best stage for identification, but juvenile appearance is similar. Females give birth to live young approximately every two years. What does an Eastern Massasauga rattlesnake look like? This is one of the smallest venomous snakes in North America. The whitish substance is calcium carbonate, people used to harvest marl to lime agricultural fields. Average Total Length: 24” Description: The Eastern Massasauga is a small rattlesnake with a ground color of gray, tan, or golden tan. 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). Johnson, Glenn. The breeding season generally takes place during May or June, but mating can occur almost anytime from late April until September. In the summer, the massasauga often moves to drier, upland areas. A rattlesnake's "rattle" is at the end of its tail. We started with 9 female Huacaya's purchased at an auction in October 2015 and now currently have 13 This guide was authored by: Shaw, Hollie Y. Preliminary observations of habitat use and movements of the eastern massasauga rattlesnake (Sistrurus c. catenatus). The Massasauga can be found in wet prairies in their western range and bogs and swamps in the eastern part of their range. 1995. U.S. 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. Species synopsis: Previously recognized as a subspecies, eastern massasauga was recently recognized as a distinct species, Sistrurus catenatus (USFWS 2011). 1991. Wildlife Resources Center. 2009. 2000). 16:162-171. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. They are active during the day, but will hunt at night when it's hot outside. No. State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry The body is distinctively marked with a row of large black or dark brown hourglass-shaped markings along the back and three rows of smaller dark spots on each side. There are three rows of smaller blotches on each side. (2007) recommends that a closed canopy should make up 0% to 25% of the wetland habitat and snakes have areas for “cryptic” basking. A unique structure, it is formed from loosely attached, hard, horny segments. (. Natural succession is a significant threat. 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). Journal of Herpetology 34:186-192. 2021. The head is broad and heart-shaped with nine large scales on the crown. 2000. Based on this minimum, both sites in New York are vulnerable. Metropolitan Toronto Zoo, West Hill, Ontario, Canada. 28:255-257. California Press, Berkeley. State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. 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). Please cite this page as: However, the rattlesnake that you find in Alabama is likely to be a different species to the one you would find in California. Snakes of eastern North America. 205 pp. New York Natural Heritage Program Databases. Loss of habitat to development and agriculture, unregulated hunting, and snake collecting have all contributed to the decline of this species. Map adapted from Conant and Collins (1998) and Harding (1997). Delmar, NY. Journal of Herpetology 40:66-73. A minimum population of 200-300 adults and subadults is considered stable (Krofta 2007).Roads may bisect seasonally used habitats. Treatments are used to harvest marl to lime agricultural fields dissertation State University of New York ( Krofta ). 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