Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake
What is the massasauga?
Where can I find more information about the massasauga?
Where is the massasauga found?
Is it true there are massasaugas living at Matthaei Botanical Gardens?
What should I do if I see a massasauga?
The massasauga is a shy, timid snake that will usually flee if disturbed. They prefer to avoid contact with humans. If you do see one, please report the sighting to the front desk at Matthaei or fill out an observation report on the DNR’s website.
As with all wild animals, give the massasauga distance and respect. Do not handle the snake or pose with the massasauga for photo opp. Keep children at a safe distance and pets on a leash.
When hiking and exploring the grounds at Matthaei, use caution. Stay on the lawns and trails. Natural areas may contain unstable surfaces, rattlesnakes, poisonous plants, and stinging insects.
If you are bitten, stay calm and seek medical attention as quickly as possible. Up to half of all bites are “dry,” with no venom occurring.
Will the Botanical Gardens attempt to relocate or move the massasauga population?
No. The massasauga is listed as a “species of special concern” by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, and is protected by state law. The eastern massasauga rattlesnake is a keystone species and fits into nature like a puzzle piece. Many animals depend on it for food, such as hawks, eagles, herons and foxes). It also helps keep rodent and insect populations in check.
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