Eastern massasauga rattlesnake
At the Detroit Zoo
The Eastern massasauga rattlesnake can be found inside the Holden Reptile Conservation Center, located near the middle of the park. There, visitors can learn about the 70 different species (and approximately 180 specimens) of reptiles, one-fifth of which are considered threatened or endangered in the wild. Because many individuals fear snakes, it is important to educate the public and correct misconceptions that massasaugas are a dangerous or aggressive species. To that end, the Detroit Zoo has provided information to correct misconceptions about the species for brochures and posters available at nature centers and other locations throughout Michigan, Wisconsin and Ontario.
Michigan's only true venomous snake, the thick, brown-and-black snake has light grey and brown patches on its back. It has also been characterized as a slow, shy snake. Although this snake is venomous, its venom is far less potent than other species. But if bitten, medical treatment must be sought immediately.
Scientific name: Sistrurus catenatus catenatus
Continent: North America
Habitat: Shallow wetlands and swamps
Size: 2 to 3 feet long
Weight: Males weigh 1 to 7.5 ounces and females 2.5 to 8.5 ounces.
Diet: Small mammals, amphibians and insects
Reproduction: These snakes bear live young like all other rattlesnakes. Females may bear young every year or every three years depending on their food supply. The Eastern massasauga rattlesnake has its litter in the late summer or early fall.
Lifespan: 18 years
Conservation Status: Least Concern. These snakes are a species of Special Concern in Michigan.