The 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.
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List status: Least Concern; endangered in New York State. The 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 massasauga rattlesnake.
These rattlesnakes live in lowland areas, such as wetlands along rivers, lakes and marshes in Wisconsin through Central New York and Missouri.
Rodents, frogs and snakes make up most of the massasauga rattlesnake’s diet.