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1979. Behler, J. L. and F. W. King. 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. Post-glacial changes affecting habitat conditions worked against the massasauga, eliminating the preferred prairie habitats in the eastern half of the range. Wintering habitat is largely protected, however, succession is a threat (Johnson 1995, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation 2019, Szymanski 1998). In New York State, consultation with the Department of Environmental Conservation is needed. © 2004-2021 Naturally occurring succession plays an important role as well, continually reducing the amount and quality of suitable habitat left. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston. Conservationist 39(3):35. 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). July 11, 2019. 26:447-452. Information for this guide was last updated on: 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). Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake This is the smallest of the three venomous snakes in New York, with an average size of 1 to 3 feet in length. Females give birth to live young approximately every two years. 2000) in search of prey (Johnson 1995). The best time to mow is while the snakes are hibernating (Johnson et al. Succession has been identified as the major factor negatively affecting the massasauga. 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). These are the timber rattlesnake, the massasauga (erroneously called "pygmy rattler"), and the copperhead. 1992. 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). U.S. New York Natural Heritage Program. The heat sensitive pits between the eyes and the nostrils are unique to pit vipers. The Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake: A Handbook for Land Managers. Habitat Management for the Eastern Massasauga in a Central New York Peatland. Historically, snakes were killed in large numbers throughout its range (Szymanski 1998). During the summer months, individuals may disperse into nearby woods and fields in search of prey. Massasauga rattlesnakes range from central New York and southern Ontario west to the prairies of Iowa and Missouri. Albany, NY. of California Press, Berkeley. Disking should be used as a last result because it can kill a lot of snakes and damage hibernation sites. Chicago Academy Science, Special Publication No. In addition, continued monitoring is advised to determine effectiveness of management actions, including monitoring at control sites (Shoemaker et al. 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 State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry Once found throughout the state, the eastern massasauga rattlesnake (EMR) is listed as an endangered species in New York due to rapid habitat loss. Note that some plants may respond to cutting by growing more densely (Johnson and Breisch 1999). 12054. Szymanski, Jennifer. Corridors may be useful in areas where suitable habitat has been fragmented. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Some people kill snakes due to fear during accidental encounters. New York Status: EndangeredFederal Status: Not Listed. Two key characteristics to help identify Eastern Massasauga are the nine large scales on the crown and the rattle. The population size is approximately 200 snakes, excluding neonates (Krofta 2007). There is no rattle. The main source of water is always groundwater. 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. Movements and habitat utilization by the massasauga, Sistrurus catenatus catenatus. Herbivory can help control vegetation growth and may be suitable in some areas (Johnson and Briesch 1999). A series of spots and saddles are arranged down the back and sides. The Audubon Society field guide to North American reptiles and amphibians. The eastern massasauga is strongly associated with wetlands across most of its range. A wetland of mostly grasses usually fed by water from highly calcareous springs or seepage. Marl is a whitish substance that is deposited from water that has a lot of calcium dissolved in it. New York Natural Heritage Program Databases. Mark/recapture and radio-telemetry studies were initiated in the early 1980s to determine the status of this species in New York State. Delmar, NY. In New York, this species does not occur at the same locations as timber rattlesnakes, the only other rattlesnake species in the state. Thesis. Third edition. Natural history of amphibians and reptiles of Wisconsin. They are also killed because people fear snakes in general and mistakenly perceive them to be a threat. 1998. 2000, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy 2019). 141 pp. Massasauga rattlesnakes range from central New York and southern Ontario west to the prairies of Iowa and Missouri. Proc. and D.D. Unregulated collecting was legal until the 1970s in parts of NY (Johnson 1995). 1981. 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. Synonymy includes prairie rattlesnake, spotted rattler, and swamp rattler (Minton 1972). State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. These rattlesnakes can be found in central New York State and southern Ontario, Canada. Eastern massasaugas currently live in an area that extends from central New York and southern Ontario to southern Iowa and includes eight states and one Canadian province. The Conservationist (NYSDEC), Spet.-Oct. 1992, pp. Klauber, L. M. 1972. Prior, K. A., and P. J. Weatherhead. A disjunct population exists at the eastern end of Michigan's Upper Peninsula (Conant and Collins 1991). Milwaukee Public Museum. Temporary road closures are another option, especially on managed lands (Johnson et al. Range in Ohio Today, this snake occurs in isolated places in glaciated parts of western and northern Ohio. Rudis. Natural Areas Journal 10:219-220. Shoemaker et al. Locations that provide open sunny areas with elevated hummocks for basking as well as shaded areas for retreat are ideal. Wildlife Resources Center. Wet prairie is the preferred … While abundant in some areas, the timber rattlesnake population has severely declined in numbers and distribution (about 50-75%) in New York State due to unregulated collection, indiscriminate killing, and habitat destruction. Listed as Endangered by New York State: in imminent danger of extirpation in New York. Accessed January 20, 2021. 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!). California Press, Berkeley. A litter of 3-19 snakes ( Johnson and Breisch 1999 ) the crown and the rattle goes by nine... Expensive and time consuming because the work needs to be considered stable ( 1998 ) marshes and floodplains used! These snakes hibernate individually in sphagnum hummocks and root systems where the soil is saturated, but can. Swamp rattler ( Minton 1972 ) ( 1997 ) 2 sites the marl substrate always... 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