"You should consider yourself lucky to have seen one — they are so rare, most people will never see one," Kingsbury said. Certain land-use activities may require a permit under the Endangered Species Act and mitigation that could include enhancement of snake habitat elsewhere, Hicks said. If any creatures ever needed better public relations, it would be snakes. "Anytime you have paved roads, a farmer's field, a residential area, they will be barriers to the snake, and it will turn around and head back from where it came.". But of the 187 populations of eastern massasauga rattlesnakes believed to be in Michigan, 110 of the groups are considered as doing excellent, good or fair; 35 state populations of the snake are designated as fair to poor, and 42 populations may already be wiped out, he said. Only one species of venomous snake resides in Michigan—the Eastern massasauga rattlesnake. That is one species out of the eighteen snake species that call Michigan home. If you see comments in violation of our community guidelines, please report them. You do not need a Facebook profile to participate. It's OK to disagree with someone's ideas, but personal attacks, insults, threats, hate speech, advocating violence and other violations can result in a ban. While this species will try to avoid confrontation, they will bite if in danger and they are venomous. They are associated with water and forest areas. The snakes don't want to be in somebody's yard or garden. While they might bite if threatened, these snakes are not venomous, Fun fact: They have light-colored bellies and will shake their tails when they feel threatened, Where you'll find them: Brown snakes are found throughout the Lower Peninsula and the southern tip of the Upper Peninsula in many areas both residential and rural, Can they harm you? It prefers wetland habitats. DNR officials seek to keep private specific maps of rattlesnake population locations, as the snake is frequently captured and sold as a pet or killed, Kennedy said. The Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake is the only venomous snake in the state of Michigan. Studying Michigan's massasaugas, the state's venomous rattler. The Fish and Wildlife Service identified the snake as a candidate for federal Endangered Species Act protection in 1982. Historically, they could be found in a variety of wetlands and nearby upland woods throughout the lower peninsula. Arizona Ridge-nosed … Which Michigan endangered species are you? There are 18 species of snake living in Michigan. It is Michigan's only venomous snake, and one of only two rattlesnake species that occur in the Great Lakes region. Michigan, one of the fifty United States, is home to two types of lizards, nineteen types of snakes and eleven types of turtles, all members of the class Reptilia. (Photo: Eric Sharp,Detroit Free Press). Michigan's only venomous snake is a rare sight for most state residents. No. Ever wonder which animal in your area is the most fatally dangerous? It is the eastern massasauga rattlesnake (Sistrurus catenatus). Registration on or use of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement, Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement, and Your California Privacy Rights (each updated 1/1/21). This relatively rare rattlesnake dwells in wetlands, including bogs, swamps and riverine woodlands, during most of the year. Arizona. Remember that this rattle snake will only bite you if it feels threatened, so if you do come across one, keep your distance as it’s not there to cause harm. Let friends in your social network know what you are reading about, The eastern massasauga rattlesnake is now listed as threatened, according to the U.S. Many Michigan fox snakes are killed by humans. The reclusive rattler, seldom spotted by even lifelong Michiganders, is often killed when encountered because of the fear a rattling tail and venom-dripping fangs can elicit. Where you'll find them: The black rat snake is found in the southern lower peninsula, typically living in or near woodlands, often near water, Status: Rare and protected by state law as a Michigan DNR species of special concern, Can they harm you? The best thing that can happen for the massasauga now is to protect the habitat that remains for it, Kingsbury said. (Photo: Martha Thierry/Detroit Free Press). The biggest threat to the snake, across its range from Missouri to New York, is loss and degradation of habitat, Kingsbury said. While Michigan documents them in most of the Lower Peninsula counties, their population levels widely differ according to county. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Advance Local. They have been vilified since the earliest of Bible tales, and their overall reputation hasn’t improved markedly since. The United States has about 21 species of venomous snakes, which include 16 species of rattlesnakes, two species of coral snakes, 1 species of cottonmouth (or water moccasin), and two species of copperhead.At least one species of venomous snake is found in every state except Hawaii and Alaska.. The snake is typically found in wetlands and nearby upland woods in 10 U.S. states and Ontario. July 27, 2017. The rattlers are born in September and October and are seen most often in the fall, as they feed in preparation for the winter hibernation. The massasauga (Sistrurus catenatus) is a rattlesnake species found in midwestern North America from southern Ontario to northern Mexico and parts of the United States in between. The snake's rattle sounds different from that of a western diamondback rattlesnake's — common from movies and TV. This nine-inch Mississauga rattlesnake, the only poisonous snake native to Michigan, was spotted swimming across a small stream in Kalkaska County. David Kenyon The snake can reach a little more than 3 feet and it has a rattle on the tail. It is a small- to medium-sized snake, with adult lengths averaging 2 to 3 feet. This is the only venomous snake species in the state of Michigan, which means the Upper Peninsula is void of any venomous snakes, Fun fact: This is the smallest rattlesnake in the U.S. and has the least-toxic venom, Species: Lampropeltis triangulum triangulum, Where you'll find them: Throughout the state in a variety of environments, Status: Common in the Lower Peninsula but rare in the Upper Peninsula, Fun fact: These snakes got their name by lingering around farm buildings, eating mice and rats, Species: Elaphe vulpina and Elaphe gloydi, Where you'll find them: The western fox snake is found in woods, fields and dunes in the Upper Peninsula, while the eastern fox snake spends its time in the marshes and wet meadows of the Lower Peninsula, Status: The eastern fox snake is classified as "threatened" and is protected by state law, Fun fact: In the U.P, the western fox snake is referred to as the "pine snake. But the proposed protections for the massasauga are largely the same as they would be if it were designated as endangered, he said. Michigan DNR/Courtesy photoThe massasauga rattlesnake is Michigan’s only venomous snake. "Let's try, where appropriate, to manage and preserve them. No, the snakes rarely bite and are non-venomous, Fun fact: They are shy and like to hide under objects or below the ground, Where you'll find them: This species can be spotted in the eastern and southern Lower Peninsula, typically inhabiting moist area like meadows, marshes and the edges of lakes, Can they harm you? DNR warning Michigan residents to be on the lookout for the only venomous rattlesnake in Michigan The chances are very good that if you see a snake, you won't ever see it again.". … All rights reserved. Michigan's only venomous snake is a rare sight for most state residents. Snake species. Roads and other obstacles also prevent them from moving between wetland and upland habitats, which isolates remaining populations, leading to their demise. Depending on the source, Michigan snakes consist of nineteen species. Specific numbers are hard to come by, as the snake is difficult to track, said Dan Kennedy, endangered species coordinator for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Only one of them, the Eastern Massasauga , is venomous. Like all rattlesnakes, it is a pit viper, and like all pit vipers, it is venomous. They will bite if threatened but are non-venomous, Fun fact: These snakes do not lay eggs. ► Related: Get to know 8 endangered species in Michigan. “The destruction of wetlands and surrounding uplands in the Midwest by urban and agricultural sprawl is leaving the eastern massasauga with few places to live,” she said in a release. © 2021 www.freep.com. That's when they seem aggressive," said Bruce Kingsbury, director of the Environmental Resources Center at Indiana University-Purdue University Ft. Wayne, who has studied the massasauga in Michigan. Unlikely to bite and non-venomous, Fun fact: Their diet largely consists of crayfish, Species: Storeria occipitomaculata occipitomaculata, Where you'll find them: Throughout Michigan, in fields and woods, Fun fact: They like to hide beneath objects in trash dumps, Where you'll find them: Throughout Michigan but most common on the state's larger islands, typically living in moist woodlands, Can they harm you? The massasauga feeds on mice and other rodents, and helps control their populations. Typed comments will be lost if you are not logged in. Accidents with venomous snakes are always expensive and often fatal. Michigan's venomous snake is now federally protected. The Northern Water Snake is NOT VENOMOUS. Fish and Wildlife Service to specify certain protections, whereas an endangered species listing comes with more blanket restrictions mandated by law, said Scott Hicks, supervisor of the service's East Lansing field office. Three subspecies are currently recognized including the nominate subspecies described here. The eastern massasauga is the scariest snake you've probably never seen. This is a test to see whether we can improve the experience for you. A 13-year-old Madison Heights girl was bitten by a massasauga rattlesnake she tried to pick up in Stony Creek Metropark in Shelby Township in 2013, and recovered after hospital treatment. By Aurora Abraham. Check out our list of each snake in the state. While they can bite, it is unlikely and they are non-venomous, Fun fact: Earthworms are a favorite food for the Butler's Garter Snake, Where you'll find them: Everywhere, including urban areas, according to the Michigan DNR, Status: This is the most common snake in the state, Can they harm you? By BOB GWIZDZ Michigan Department of Natural Resources. They can bite but are non-venomous, Fun fact: They have red tongues with a black tip, Where you'll find them: Only in the southern area of the Lower Peninsula, Status: Endangered and protected by state law, Can they harm you? Reptiles are found throughout Michigan, although the only venomous species, the eastern massasauga rattlesnake, is … You will need to register before adding a comment. These non-venomous snakes are harmless to humans, Fun fact: This is the largest snake you will find in Michigan, Where you'll find them: Blue Racer snakes live throughout most of Michigan's Lower Peninsula and the southern tip of the Upper Peninsula, inhabiting a variety of areas from open woods to meadows, marshes and other areas, Status: Once a common species, the number of Blue Racer snakes is decreasing, Can they harm you? Black Rat Snake (Elaphe obsoleta obsoleta) Description: A large shiny black snake with a white chin … They rarely bite and are non-venomous, Fun fact: This snake flattens its body when threatened, Species: Thamnophis sauritus septentrionalis, Where you'll find them: In wetland habitats throughout the Lower Peninsula, Where you'll find them: Throughout the Lower Peninsula and the eastern Upper Peninsula, mostly near bodies of water, Status: While not a threatened species, human aggression has eliminated water snakes from many areas, according to the Michigan DNR, Fun fact: They can have up to 48 babies per litter, Where you'll find them: Southern Lower Peninsula near water, Can they harm you? Scary Michigan spiders: Brown recluse, 4 others to watch for (Spoiler alert: Most of these guys are harmless.). Fish and Wildlife Service. That leads to the small populations failing to mix, making the massasauga vulnerable to inbreeding and the reproductive and physiological problems that can come with it, Kingsbury said. Butler's Garter SnakeThis snake is very similar to the eastern garter and it can be easy to get them … (Photo: Martha Thierry/Detroit Free Press). Massasauga are capable of injecting a highly toxic venom through their bites. According to the Michigan Society of Herpetologists, the snake's name comes from the Chippewa meaning "great river mouth." The threatened-species designation allows the U.S. They are just hoping they will be left alone.". Thanks to Man vs. Community Rules apply to all content you upload or otherwise submit to this site. To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the Conversation Guidelines and FAQs. "When they are found out in the open — on a road, on a trail — they are afraid, and they are trying to scare us off. Eastern Massasauga (Sistrurus catenatus) are Michigan’s only venomous snakes. Jessica Shepherd | jessica_shepherd@mlive.com. Get to know 8 endangered species in Michigan, COVID-19 vaccines spoiled on way to Michigan, Mayor Duggan on Trump freeing Kilpatrick: 'This ... he got right', Kilpatrick clemency: The difference between pardon and commutation, Passengers 'attack' Spirit Airlines agents at Metro Airport, GOP replacing board member who certified vote, Trump called for Kilpatrick's release — but stuck him with $4.7M tab, Your California Privacy Rights/Privacy Policy. Yes. Read or Share this story: https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2016/09/29/poisonous-snake-massasauga/91282316/. Snakes are considerably more common in the lower peninsula than the upper, because the LP has more of the wetlands, swamps, and marshes that make up their ideal habitats. The massasauga's is "more like an insect buzzing," Kennedy said. The eastern massasauga rattlesnake (Sistrurus catenatus catenatus) is a unique and fascinating part of Michigan's natural heritage. The species reaches a maximum length of about 30 inches, and the newborns have only a single "button" on the end of their tails. Due to its decreasing numbers, the Black Rat Snake is protected by Michigan law. Draining wetlands for farms, roads and urban development has eliminated much of the habitat massasaugas use for food and shelter. To be precise, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources lists 17 separate species you can find within our state. "You can stand right next to them, and they don't move. Michigan's only venomous snake soon out of hibernation Eastern Massasauga is a threatened species, sightings are unlikely. The shy, nonaggressive, eastern massasauga rattlesnake has been waiting for needed protection for more than 30 years, said Elise Bennett, a Center for Biological Diversity attorney who works to protect imperiled reptiles and amphibians. There are two venomous snakes in Michigan, the Massauga Rattle Snake and the Western Cottonmouth Snake (also called, water moccasin, black moccasin, blunt-tail moccasin, northern cottonmouth moccasin, stump-tail water moccasin, western cottonmouth moccasin, cotton-mouthed snake). Michigan Venomous Snakes Michigan only has one species of venomous snake. Oklahoma Under OKLA. STAT. This is the only venomous snake species in the state of Michigan, which means the Upper Peninsula is void of any venomous snakes Fun fact: This is the smallest rattlesnake … And while a bite from a massasauga "is not a fun experience," it can be treated and people are not likely to die from it if treatment is quickly administered, he said. The Northern Water Snake is often miss-identified as a venomous "Water Moccasin". Field guide to Michigan's 18 species of snakes, including the state's only venomous snake--Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake. In addition to federal protection, it could probably use a good public relations agent, too. The protection restricts "take" of the snake, which can mean killing or collecting, as well as incidental take, or activities that can indirectly kill, harm, injure or harass snakes or damage their habitat. It is protected as a federally threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. There have been no human deaths from a massasauga rattlesnake bite in at least 100 years, Kingsbury said. The Eastern massasauga rattlesnake (Sistrurus catenatus) is the only venomous snake in Michigan. This juvenile exhibits one of the most visible marks of a poisonous snake -- eye pupils that are vertical slits. But biologists say the snake actually seeks to avoid confrontation. Instead, they are one of very few types of snakes that give birth to live offspring, Where you'll find them: Most of the Lower Peninsula and the southern tip of the Upper Peninsula, though they are most common in the western and northern Lower Peninsula, mostly in sandy woodland areas, Status: Common but declining in numbers due to an irrational fear by humans who will kill the snake, Fun fact: This snake will play dead if threatened, Where you'll find them: In the Lower Peninsula, inhabiting wetlands during the spring and drier areas in the summer, Status: A species of special concern, protected by state law, Can they harm you? The Eastern Massasauga Rattelesnake is the only venomous snake of the 18 species of snake that reside in the state. These snakes are defined in the Ohio Revised Code 935.01 as elapids, vipers, boomslangs, twig snakes, asps and many non-venomous constrictor snakes. All rights reserved (About Us). These snakes are shy and try to avoid humans. Large color photos and text with easy-to-follow symbols for habitat, temperament, reproduction and distribution make this book useful for all ages. A link has been sent to your friend's email address. What we find, even when they are bumped or stepped on, they still don't strike. Welcome to our new and improved comments, which are for subscribers only. ", Michigan's venomous snake is now federally protected. Michigan's lone venomous snake, the eastern massasauga rattlesnake, has received federal protection as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, the U.S. It may not be captured or killed. Important, too, is changing a mind-set of wanting to kill the rattlesnake on sight. Venomous snakes use modified saliva, and venom, delivered through highly specialized teeth, such as hollow fangs, for the purpose of prey immobilization and self-defense. Venomous snakes are not pets, and are not for beginners. It rarely bites and is non-venomous, Fun fact: They like to chow down on insects. It is listed as “endangered,” “threatened” or a “species of special concern” in every state or province in which it lives. “These long-awaited Endangered Species Act protections can save the massasauga from extinction by saving the habitat it needs to survive.”. We've got snakes in Michigan. In fact, massasauga venom is considered more potent than most other rattlesnake venom. Michigan's venomous snake is now federally protected. Venomous snakes in Arizona: New Mexican Ridge-nosed Rattlesnake. A link has been posted to your Facebook feed. The designation follows a landmark settlement agreement between Fish and Wildlife and the nonprofit environmental advocacy organization Center for Biological Diversity that will expedite protection decisions for 757 species. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today. Common Types of Snakes Found in Michigan The US state of Michigan is home to 19 snake species, out of which only one is poisonous ― the Eastern massasauga rattlesnake. They are hoping you just don't see them. Historically, they could be found in a variety of wetlands and nearby upland woods throughout the lower peninsula. © 2021 Advance Local Media LLC. "Michigan is what we would call the stronghold of the species, at least in the United States," Kingsbury said. People often end up killing other, non-venomous snakes after mistaking them for a rattlesnake. Soon after, he determined the snake was an Eastern massasauga rattlesnake – Michigan’s only venomous snake and rattlesnake, according to the state Department of … 29, §4-107, it is illegal to keep any wildlife either for commercial purposes or as a pet without a permit. ► Quiz: Which Michigan endangered species are you? They rarely bite but may have slightly poisonous saliva, Fun fact: Sometimes they feast on smaller snakes, Where you'll find them: Throughout lower Michigan in grassy areas, though they are rare in the southern Lower Peninsula, Can they harm you? So, you basically need to correctly identify this one to stay out of danger. Please be polite. Tit. You'll find out where each snake lives and whether or not each species poses any threat to you. In Michigan, it's found only in the Lower Peninsula. "Snakes do play an important role in our ecosystem," Kennedy said. The Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnakes … "They are usually in locations where people won't want to be: It's wet; it's hard to walk through. The eastern massasauga is primarily associated with wetland habitats but some populations also utilize adjacent upland habitats for parts of its life history. Michigan's lone venomous snake, the eastern massasauga rattlesnake, has received federal protection as a threatened species under the Endangered Species … (Photo: Martha Thierry/Detroit Free Press). For more information on the snakes of Michigan, visit the Michigan DNR website. As mentioned in our list, the massasauga rattlesnake is Michigans only poisonous snake, so you can relax now by knowing that Michigan isn’t filled with hundreds of venomous snakes. Both Michigan snake species are protected by Michigan law. ", Where you'll find them: Southern Lower Peninsula in damp meadows, vacant lots and open woodlands, Can they harm you? "The snakes don't travel as far as other animals do from habitat patch to habitat patch," he said. Lists 17 separate species you can find within our state to manage and preserve them )! To stay out of danger Michigan spiders: Brown recluse, 4 others watch. 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