The eastern massasauga rattlesnake in New York: Occurrence and habitat management. 1993. International symposium and workshop on the conservation of the eastern massasauga rattlesnake Sistrurus catenatus catenatus. Albany, NY 12233-4757. Hunting occurs during the day with the exception of periods of hot weather (Johnson et al. 62:84-97. A series of spots and saddles are arranged down the back and sides. Additional studies are needed concerning population size, density estimates, age-specific mortality rates, and neonate and subadult movement patterns. A litter of 3-19 snakes (typically 7-10), each measuring 6.5-9.5 inches in length, are produced every 2-3 years. 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). International Symposium and Workshop on the Conservation of the Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake Sistrurus catenatus. 1998. (518) 402-8935. Johnson, G. 1992. Snakes move upland during the summer months (Johnson et al. 1992. 2000) in search of prey (Johnson 1995). Massasauga rattlesnakes range from central New York and southern Ontario west to the prairies of Iowa and Missouri. Paulmier. Management plans should include strategies that includes habitats for small mammals and crayfish (Johnson et al. Males and non-gravid female use similar upland habitat while gravid females remain close to hibernacula. There are three general habitat characteristics throughout the Eastern Massasauga range: (1) a mix of open, sunny areas and some shade for thermoregulation, (2) water table near the surface that does not freeze for hibernation, and (3) variable elevation for foraging (Szymanski 1998). 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. Map adapted from Conant and Collins (1998) and Harding (1997). 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. 28:255-257. 1982. Movements and Habitat Utilization by the Massasauga, Sistrurus catenatus catenatus. This is one of the smallest venomous snakes in North America. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. This species is confined to two sites in the state: one in Onondaga County and one in Genesee County. 2019. Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. Available from: https://guides.nynhp.org/eastern-massasauga/. Therefore, neither populations in New York are considered stable. Please cite this page as: Listed as Threatened under the Federal Endangered Species Act. The snake has been identified as an Eastern massasauga rattlesnake. 2000). Some adults, however, are all black. Harvey, D. S., and P. J. Weatherhead. Johnson, G. 1998. 2008). Throughout its range, biologists have confirmed that less than half of the eastern massasauga’s historical population… The eastern massasauga is strongly associated with wetlands across most of its range. Journal of Herpetology 34:186-192. The main source of water is always groundwater. The breeding season generally takes place during May or June, but mating can occur almost anytime from late April until September. Estimating abundance for a declining population of the eastern massasauga rattlesnake, Sistrurus catenatus catenatus, in Cicero, NY: application of multiple methods. Thesis. The plants are often sparse and stunted. 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. Tom Bell, NYS DEC. 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. Average length is 27.5 inches. Massasaugas frequent other wet, lowland habitats, including marshes and floodplains. 1993. A conifer forest that occurs on acidic peatlands in cool, poorly drained depressions. The Audubon Society field guide to North American reptiles and amphibians. A dark bar with a lighter border extends from the eye to the rear of the jaw. Loss of habitat to development and agriculture, unregulated hunting, and snake collecting have all contributed to the decline of this species. During the winter, these snakes hibernate individually in sphagnum hummocks and root systems where the soil is saturated, but not inundated. Wet prairie is the preferred habitat in the west, bogs and swamps in the east. Reinert, H. K. and W. R. Kodrich. Mark/recapture and radio-telemetry studies were initiated in the early 1980s to determine the status of this species in New York State. J. Wildl. 1983. Endangered Species Unit. Checklist of the amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals of New York State, including their protective status. Prior. Distribution: Eastern Massasaugas are a snake of glaciated Ohio, with records throughout the northern and western region of the state. When threatened, this species flattens it head, similar to a cobra or flips over and plays dead. What is an eastern massasauga rattlesnake? These are the timber rattlesnake, the massasauga (erroneously called "pygmy rattler"), and the copperhead. Subspecies catenatus may intergrade with subspecies tergeminus in north-central Missouri (Beltz, in Johnson and Menzies 1993). Krofta (2007) suggests a stable population consists of a minimum of 200-300 adults and subadults. What does an Eastern Massasauga rattlesnake look like? A disjunct population exists at the eastern end of Michigan's Upper Peninsula (Conant and Collins 1991). Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Historically, this species was reported from other sites in western New York, but none have been confirmed. Natural Habitat. Eastern Massasauga Two key characteristics to help identify Eastern Massasauga are the nine large scales on the crown and the rattle. Univ. Once found throughout the state, the eastern massasauga rattlesnake (EMR) is listed as an endangered species in New York due to rapid habitat loss. … Johnson, Glenn and Alvin Breisch. J. Herpetol. Species synopsis: Previously recognized as a subspecies, eastern massasauga was recently recognized as a distinct species, Sistrurus catenatus (USFWS 2011). Rattlesnakes: Their Habitat, Life Histories, and Influence on Mankind. Integrating timber and wildlife management. Milwaukee Public Museum. 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. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Massachusetts. Response of free-ranging eastern massasauga rattlesnakes to human disturbance. The population estimate is approximately 200 snakes excluding neonates in New York (Krofta 2007). Disking should be used as a last result because it can kill a lot of snakes and damage hibernation sites. 1999. Eastern Massasauga hibernate in pockets associated with wetlands. The eastern massasauga can remain undetected with the help of its pattern, even at close range. Fish and Wildlife Service protects the eastern massasauga rattlesnake under the Endangered Species Act. In addition, continued monitoring is advised to determine effectiveness of management actions, including monitoring at control sites (Shoemaker et al. Fish and Wildlife Service. The belly is usually black with light mottling. Seigel, R. A. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. They do not aggregate with other snakes as other venomous snakes do. Preliminary observations of habitat use and movements of the eastern massasauga rattlesnake (Sistrurus c. catenatus). New York Status: EndangeredFederal Status: Not Listed. Spatial ecology, habitat preference, and habitat management of the eastern massasauga, Sistrurus catentatus catenatus in a New York weakly-minerotrophic peatland. The marl substrate is always saturated, may be flooded, and has a very high pH, generally greater than 7.5. 378 pp. (, Northern white cedar rocky summit Population status and management needs of the massasauga rattlesnake (Sistrurus C. catenatus) in New York State. The head is broad and heart-shaped with nine large scales on the crown. 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. Catalogue of New York reptiles and batrachians. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington. Eastern massasauga is a stout, thick-bodied snake that ranges from 45 to 100 cm (18 to 40 in) in length. 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 … 1994. The eastern massasauga is a small venomous rattlesnake found in the northeastern United States. With that said, the other poisonous snake that you'll want to keep an eye out for is the Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake! Endangered Species Unit. Information for this guide was last updated on: Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C. ix + 236 pp. 2021. 1984. Venomous Reptiles of North America. 141 pp. 16:162-171. Third edition. The rattlesnakes. 625 Broadway, 5th floor. The eastern massasauga is strongly associated with wetlands across most of its range. Snakes of New York. The eastern massasauga, in danger of extinction. in partnership with the The average length of an adult is about 2 feet. A wetland of mostly grasses usually fed by water from highly calcareous springs or seepage. State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry Reproductive success is also being investigated. The massasauga reaches sexual maturity in 3-4 years and may live for about 14 years. 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 Synonymy includes prairie rattlesnake, spotted rattler, and swamp rattler (Minton 1972). New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston. Central New York represents the easternmost extent of the Eastern Massasauga range. They do not hibernate in communal dens as do the other venomous species in New York. 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. Females are slightly larger than males. + appdx. 2000). 205 pp. The two remaining sites in New York are safe from development, though natural succession is making them less suitable as time goes by. Vogt, R. C. 1981c. To some people, conservation of a venomous snake may seem a waste of money, stupid and even negligent. Amphibians and Reptiles of the Great Lakes Region. The Conservationist (NYSDEC), Spet.-Oct. 1992, pp. Adult massasaugas are gray or light brown with large, light-edged chocolate brown blotches on the back and smaller blotches on the sides. (, Rich graminoid fen We started with 9 female Huacaya's purchased at an auction in October 2015 and now currently have 13 In New York, peatlands are a crucial portion of Eastern Massasauga habitat as they are needed for hibernation and gestation (Johnson 1995). Marl fens may occur as small patches within a rich graminoid fen. 2000). Johnson et al. Historic reports and scattered … A field guide to reptiles and amphibians: eastern and central North America. 1986. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/237717107_THE_EASTERN_MASSASAUGA_RATTLESNAKE_IN_NEW_YORK_OCCURRENCE_AND_HABITAT_MANAGEMENT, https://waterlandlife.org/wildlife-pnhp/species-at-risk-in-pennsylvania/eastern-massasauga-rattlesnake/, State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Black spruce-tamarack bog J. Herpetol. Massasaugas depend on wetlands for food and shelter but often use nearby upland areas during part of the year. 51. Johnson, B., and V. Menzies, editors. 2008. Historically, this species was once considered abundant at known locations (Johnson et al. U.S. Ecology and Conservation of an Endangered Rattlesnake, Sistrurus catenatus, in Missouri, U. S. A. Biol. 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. 1985. Johnson, G. 1990. 2000). Metropolitan Toronto Zoo, West Hill, Ontario, Canada. New York Natural Heritage Program, a program of the The eastern massasauga (Sistrurus catenatus catenatus) is currently known from two locations in New York State. Wintering habitat is largely protected, however, succession is a threat (Johnson 1995, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation 2019, Szymanski 1998). As this species is vulnerable to illegal collection and persecution, no naturally occurring populations are listed. Chicago Academy Science, Special Publication No. In the spring and fall, snakes are typically found in wet meadow habitats. 1991. California Press, Berkeley. The eastern massasauga, Sistrurus catenatus catenatus, is a small crotaline rattlesnake with a United States range extending north and east from the Missouri River, to central Wisconsin, the northeastern shores of Georgian Bay in Ontario, Canada, and to New York state (Conant and Collins, 1991). Accessed January 20, 2021. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. 221 pp. Habitat Management for the Eastern Massasauga in a Central New York Peatland. Gloyd, H. 1940. 1986. Delmar, NY. Listed as Endangered by New York State: in imminent danger of extirpation in New York. There are only three species of venomous snakes living in the wilds of New York (many other kinds may be found in the homes of private individuals and, occasionally, escapes occur!). Sistrurus catenatus. The vegetation may be sparse or patchy, with numerous rock outcrops. Conservation efforts for the eastern massasauga at the Cicero Swamp Wildlife Management Area, New York. Anthropogenic factors are the most significant threat to Eastern Massasauga populations. Wet prairie is the preferred … Temporary road closures are another option, especially on managed lands (Johnson et al. Eastern Massasauga Guide - New York Natural Heritage Program Klauber, L. M. 1972. Third Edition Expanded. Outreach to landowners concerning practices that could benefit them and the snakes is also an option to help maintain or expand suitable habitat. Endangered Species Unit. Second edition. State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. New York Natural Heritage Program. 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. New York Natural Heritage Program. Breisch, A.R. 239 pp. 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. 1979. © 2004-2021 Manage. Gravid females remain in wetlands until 10 to 12 days after parturition (Johnson 1995). The Massasauga can be found in wet prairies in their western range and bogs and swamps in the eastern part of their range. Former subspecies S. c. catenatus was the only subspecies in New York and the Northeast. Ernst, C. H. 1992. Studies should be conducted to find as many hibernating sites as possible because altering these sites could negatively impact the population. Plant remains do not decompose rapidly and these grasses usually grow on older, undecomposed plant parts. 2000). 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- Unlike most rattlesnakes, Eastern Massasauga do not hibernate with other snakes (Johnson 1995). A bar with a light border extends from the eye to the rear of the jaw. The population trend is unknown. 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. Until outlawed in 1971, there was a bounty in certain counties in Northern New York for the rattles of these snakes. Some individuals are all black. We assessed how endangered eastern massasauga rattlesnakes (Sistrurus catenatus) responded to 2 types of manipulations at a wetland site in New York, USA: 1) cutting shrubs to create ≤100‐m 2 plots within known gestation areas in 2008, 2011, and 2012, and 2) cutting tree and shrub cover in the adjacent forest to create a 4‐ha forest clearing in 2011. This guide was authored by: Shaw, Hollie Y. Alfred A. Knopf, New York. A minimum population of 200-300 adults and subadults is considered stable (Krofta 2007).Roads may bisect seasonally used habitats. Zoological Soc. New York State Conservationist: 22-23 and 26. If used, the best time to apply herbicides is at the end of the growing season, just before the leaves fall (Johnson et al. (518) 439-7635. New York State Museum Bull. Currently, there are only two known populations remaining in New York, both of which occur in boggy, forested wetlands with "open rooms" of low vegetation. In the summer, the massasauga often moves to drier, upland areas. Reinert, H. K., and W. R. Kodrich. The population size is approximately 200 snakes, excluding neonates (Krofta 2007). The species have predominantly boreal distributions. 1982. Conserv. New Yorkers who call areas between Syracuse and Rochester home should keep an eye out for these guys, the smallest of our state's venomous snakes that are only 1 to 3-feet in size. Marl is a whitish substance that is deposited from water that has a lot of calcium dissolved in it. Development, agriculture, unregulated hunting, snake collecting are all present threats. The hummocks are also used as a place for bearing young and, most importantly, for hibernation during winter months. 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. 12054. Albany, NY. Conant, R. and J. T. Collins. 2000, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy 2019) or at least when snakes are less active, from 11am to 3pm (Johnson et al 2000). New York State Department of Environmental Conservation studies indicate a sharp population decline since the 1960s (Johnson and Breisch 1999). The typical broods size ranges from 3 to 19 young (Johnson 1995). These rattlesnakes can be found in central New York State and southern Ontario, Canada. The prairie rattleer in western and central New York. There are three rows of smaller blotches on each side. In New York State, consultation with the Department of Environmental Conservation is needed. The eastern massasauga is a small, thick-bodied rattlesnake that lives in shallow wetlands and adjacent uplands in portions of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Ontario. 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). 1995. Delmar, NY. 26-33. J. Herpetol. Mortality increases when snakes attempt to cross roads. Rudis. 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. Studies have been conducted in a continuing effort to determine the size and habitat requirements of New York's two populations. 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. (2000) recommend mechanical treatment in peatlands and some wooded areas, which includes cutting, brush-hogging, mowing, and disking. Natural Areas Journal 10:219-220. These management techniques can be expensive and time consuming because the work needs to be repeated after substantial regrowth. 2009. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/237717107_THE_EASTERN_MASSASAUGA_RATTLESNAKE_IN_NEW_YORK_OCCURRENCE_AND_HABITAT_MANAGEMENT. 1998. No. 13pp. Adults are the best stage for identification, but juvenile appearance is similar. Newborn snakes have a single button for a rattle. It’s venom is more toxic than many other rattlesnakes, experts say. 2000). The Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake: A Handbook for Land Managers. A rattlesnake's "rattle" is at the end of its tail. Online Conservation Guide for Fish and Wildlife Service, Fort Snelling, MN 55111-4056 52 pp. Species at risk: Eastern Massasuaga rattlesnake. Throughout most of its range, the distribution is decidedly disjunct, with many miles separating populations. 1981. Monthly highlights - 16 July to 15 August 1986. Massasaugas give birth to live young; they do not lay eggs. 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