10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Grounds close at 4 p.m.

EASTERN MASSASAUGA RATTLESNAKE

(Sistrurus catenatus catenatus)

The Eastern Massasauga rattlesnake is 2 to 3 feet in length, with brown body patches edged in black and a grayish-yellow rattle. “Massasauga” means “great river mouth” in Native American Chippewa. The Zoo is home to one female who was born in 2006 and came to the Zoo in 2011.

ABOUT THE EASTERN MASSASAUGA RATTLESNAKE

STATUS IN THE WILD

International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List status: Least Concern; endangered in New York State. The Eastern Massasauga rattlesnake is at risk in its range due to bounty hunting, the illegal pet trade and draining and dredging of wetlands. Without management and added protection, this species could be lost in a great portion of its range. The Seneca Park Zoo takes part in the Species Survival Plan for the Eastern Massasauga rattlesnake.

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HABITAT

These rattlesnakes live in lowland areas, such as wetlands along rivers, lakes and marshes in Wisconsin through Central New York and Missouri.

DIET

Rodents, frogs and snakes make up most of the Eastern Massasauga rattlesnake’s diet.

DID YOU KNOW?

  • An Eastern Massasauga rattlesnake is venomous, but a bite from such a snake would most likely not be fatal.
  • Massasaugas are ovoviviparous, meaning that they give birth to live young.
  • The favorite hibernation spot for a, Eastern Massasauga rattlesnake is a burrow built in river bottom dugouts.
  • Massasaugas rely on their coloration to avoid being detected.
  • The size of the rattle on an Eastern Massasauga rattlesnake represents the number of times it has molted, which can occur 3 to 5 times a year.