Logo of nature.ca - Canadian Museum of Nature.
Logo of Natural History Notebooks.
 
Button: Home. Button: Resources. Button: Notebooks A-Z.
Button: Français.
Home > Reptiles > Massasauga Rattlesnake Next
Text: Reptiles.
   
Massasauga Rattlesnake
Photo: Massasauga Rattlesnake, Sistrurus catenatus.
Massasauga rattlesnake, Sistrurus catenatus
More Images »

Where are they found? North America

Map of the world.


The Massasauga rattlesnake is the smallest of the four kinds of rattlesnakes that have been recorded for Canada. It rarely exceeds 75 cm (29 in.) in length, although longer ones have been recorded.

A pair of long fangs at the front of the mouth are hollow and resemble short, curved hypodermic needles. Venom is injected into the snake's victims through these teeth. Because this poison may be toxic-enough to kill an adult human, antivenin is kept on hand at hospitals in its range. However, this shy snake generally retreats from a disturbance, and certainly does not seek confrontations with humans. It will often rattle and strike if threatened, but it will strike without warning only if surprised.

Females birth live young in late summer; usually there are 8 to 15 in a litter.

These snakes will inhabit low, swampy areas particularly in spring or autumn, but they often move to uplands in summer. They can locate prey by heat detection; they feed mainly on frogs and mice.

A subspecies of this snake occurs in Canada: the eastern Massasauga rattlesnake (Sistrurus catenatus catenatus). It occurs in Ontario from Windsor and the Niagara Peninsula north to Georgian Bay and east to the Muskoka Lakes. In the United States, it is found from central New York to Iowa and Missouri.


More Images
Photo: Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake, Sistrurus catenatus catenatus. Photo: Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake, Sistrurus catenatus catenatus. Photo: Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake, Sistrurus catenatus catenatus. Photo: Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake, Sistrurus catenatus catenatus. Photo: Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake, Sistrurus catenatus catenatus. Photo: Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake, Sistrurus catenatus catenatus.


Looking for photos?

The Canadian Museum of Nature has thousands of unique images reflecting the diversity of the natural world—including the photos and illustrations here in our Natural History NotebooksContact us to learn more!


To cite this page for personal use:
“Massasauga Rattlesnake”. [Online]. Natural History Notebooks. Canadian Museum of Nature.
Last updated (Web site consulted

Previous
Button: Mammals. Photo: Lion (Panthera leo). Button: Birds. Photo: Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos).
Button: Fish. Photo: Brown trout (Salmo trutta). Button: Reptiles. Photo: Komodo dragon (Varanus komodensis).
Button: Amphibians. Photo: Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeiana). Button: Invertebrates. Photo: House fly (Musca domestica).
Button: Dinosaurs. Illustration: Tyrannosaurus rex. Archive slide: S71-116. Button: Prehistoric. Illustration: Muskox (Ovibos moschatus).
Button: Navigate the World. Illustration: Map of the world.
 
Text: This way to more photos of reptiles. Photo: Common garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis).

Reproduction Rights    Credits    Explore Nature!    Comments or Questions?

Next Previous Next Previous