Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake: Sistrurus Catenatus Catenatus
Distribution and Habitat
These rattlesnakes can be found in central New York State and southern Ontario, Canada. They can also be found westward to the prairies of Iowa and Missouri.
The Massasauga can be found in wet prairies in their western range and bogs and swamps in the eastern part of their range. The northern snakes are found in rock areas and other wet, lowland habitats. They prefer moist places with mounds of grass or moss for sunning themselves, hibernating and having their young.
They can measure 18-40 inches in length. The average Massasauga length is 27.5 inches. Their background is gray or brownish gray with nine large scales on the crown of the head.
Their name is derived from the Chippewa language, “massasauga” meaning “great river-mouth”.
Massasaugas are also referred to as “swamp rattlers”.
These rattlers are the smallest of three venomous snakes found in New York State.
Eastern Massasauga rattlesnakes are shy and avoid humans when they can.