2000). 4. (2000) recommend mechanical treatment in peatlands and some wooded areas, which includes cutting, brush-hogging, mowing, and disking. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. In New York State, consultation with the Department of Environmental Conservation is needed. 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). What is an eastern massasauga rattlesnake? 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. The population estimate is approximately 200 snakes excluding neonates in New York (Krofta 2007). 1985. 26-33. The Audubon Society field guide to North American reptiles and amphibians. Snakes of New York. Metro Toronto Zoo. Species synopsis: Previously recognized as a subspecies, eastern massasauga was recently recognized as a distinct species, Sistrurus catenatus (USFWS 2011). Unlike most rattlesnakes, Eastern Massasauga do not hibernate with other snakes (Johnson 1995). In addition, continued monitoring is advised to determine effectiveness of management actions, including monitoring at control sites (Shoemaker et al. Chicago Academy Science, Special Publication No. 9 states where it is present; in New York, the eastern massasauga is known from only 2 sites. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/237717107_THE_EASTERN_MASSASAUGA_RATTLESNAKE_IN_NEW_YORK_OCCURRENCE_AND_HABITAT_MANAGEMENT. It’s venom is more toxic than many other rattlesnakes, experts say. The timber rattlesnake's head is covered with numerous small scales. New York Natural Heritage Program. The vegetation may be sparse or patchy, with numerous rock outcrops. Females give birth to live young approximately every two years. Johnson, G. 1990. 2008. Sistrurus catenatus catenatus species assessment and listing priority assignment form. 282 pp. 2000. 141 pp. The characteristic trees are black spruce and tamarack; in any one stand, either tree may be dominant, or they may be codominant. (518) 439-7635. A series of spots and saddles are arranged down the back and sides. Although the massasauga rattlesnake is thought to be in decline throughout much of its range, only the eastern subspecies (Sistrurus c. catenatus) is currently under Studies should be conducted to find as many hibernating sites as possible because altering these sites could negatively impact the population. 1998. Zoological Soc. They do not hibernate in communal dens as do the other venomous species in New York. Available from: https://guides.nynhp.org/eastern-massasauga/. Listed as Threatened under the Federal Endangered Species Act. Adult massasaugas are gray or light brown with large, light-edged chocolate brown blotches on the back and smaller blotches on the sides. 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 … Note that some plants may respond to cutting by growing more densely (Johnson and Breisch 1999). George Mason Univ. Tom Bell, NYS DEC. Prior, K. A., and P. J. Weatherhead. Johnson, B. and V. Menzies, Eds. A bar with a light border extends from the eye to the rear of the jaw. Eastern Massasauga Eastern massasauga is a stout, thick-bodied snake that ranges from 45 to 100 cm (18 to 40 in) in length. A new segment is added each time the snake sheds. Two key characteristics to help identify Eastern Massasauga are the nine large scales on the crown and the rattle. Massasaugas depend on wetlands for food and shelter but often use nearby upland areas during part of the year. Captive rearing of young for release back into the wild is another possible means of enhancing populations. Experimental habitat management has also been Carried out. 2000, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy 2019). Herbicides can help increase the intervals between treatments, however little is known about how herbicides affect snakes (Johnson et al. Herbivory can help control vegetation growth and may be suitable in some areas (Johnson and Briesch 1999). The breeding season generally takes place during May or June, but mating can occur almost anytime from late April until September. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C. ix + 236 pp. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 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 2009. 62:84-97. Johnson, G. 2000. 1999. A wetland of mostly grasses usually fed by water from highly calcareous springs or seepage. Shoemaker et al. + appdx. Accessed January 20, 2021. in partnership with the Historic reports and scattered … Natural succession is a significant threat. 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. 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!). The heat sensitive pits between the eyes and the nostrils are unique to pit vipers. Enter Search Term(s): Search DEC Home » Animals, Plants, Aquatic Life » Amphibians & Reptiles » Herp Atlas Project » Species of Lizards and Snakes Found in New York » Eastern Massasauga Distribution Map 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. Preferred prey are small mammals and sometimes other vertebrates. Snakes move upland during the summer months (Johnson et al. Historically, snakes were killed in large numbers throughout its range (Szymanski 1998). Outreach to landowners concerning practices that could benefit them and the snakes is also an option to help maintain or expand suitable habitat. Corridors may be useful in areas where suitable habitat has been fragmented. Seasonally reducing speed limits when snakes are active should also be considered. State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry 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). Appearance: Massasaugas are small snakes with thick bodies, heart-shaped heads and vertical pupils. Young snakes are similar, but colors are more vivid. Albany, NY. Venomous reptiles of North America. International Symposium and Workshop on the Conservation of the Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake Sistrurus catenatus. Status assessment for Eastern Massasauga (Sistrurus c. catenatus). Univ. Conservationist 39(3):35. Response of free-ranging eastern massasauga rattlesnakes to human disturbance. Locations that provide open sunny areas with elevated hummocks for basking as well as shaded areas for retreat are ideal. Thesis. 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