Endangered Species
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Eastern Massasauga (Sistrurus catenatus)

Status: Candidate

eastern massasauga

Photo by Dick Dickinson

 

Eastern Massasauga

Status: Candidate; 1999

 

Habitat: Open to forested wetlands and adjacent upland areas

 

Lead Region: 3

 

Region 3 Lead Office: Chicago, Illinois Field Office

 

Range: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Ontario

 

Video

from the Michigan DNR

 

The eastern massasauga is a small, thick-bodied rattlesnake that lives in shallow wetlands and adjacent uplands in portions of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Ontario.

 

The eastern massasauga has been a candidate for listing under the Endangered Species Act since 1999. Since then, we have worked with state natural resources agencies to develop Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances. The eastern massasauga was included in a court-approved settlement agreement. As a result, the Service is actively reviewing its status to determine whether is should be proposed for listing under the Endangered Species Act with a determination due by Sept. 30, 2015.

 

Life History, Ecology and Regulatory Information

Species Status Assessment (115-page PDF; 2MB)

This report summarizes the results of an assessment of the eastern massasauga's overall viability. The assessment begins with a description of the snake’s ecological requirements for survival and reproduction as they relate to its overall viability. We generally defined viability as the ability of the species to maintain self-sustaining populations over the long-term. Using the principles of resiliency, representation, and redundancy, we considered the species’ needs at the individual, population, and species scales. We also identified the beneficial and risk factors influencing the species’ viability. We considered the degree to which the species’ ecological needs are met both currently and as can be forecasted into the future, and assessed the consequences of any unmet needs as they relate to species viability.

 

Candidate Form

 

Fact Sheet

 

Species Spotlight: Eastern Massasauga - USFWS Chicago Field Office

 

Why Conserve  a Venomous Snake?

 

1998 Status Assessment (71-page PDF; 1.5 MB)

 

Questions and Answers About Conservation of the Eastern Massasauga

 

Eastern Massasauga - Michigan Society of Herpetologists

 

Eastern Massasauga Information from the Michigan DNR and Natural Features Inventory

Background

Identification and Look-Alikes

Life History and Ecology

Safety Tips and Snakebite Treatment

Report an Observation in Michigan

 

Eastern Massasauga Conservation

AZA Species Survival Plan - A Species Survival Plan® is a collaborative science-based management program of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

 

Michigan is Main Focus of Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake Survival Plan

Lincoln Park Zoo Recovery Efforts

 

Managing for Massasaugas - Edward Lowe Foundation | Land Stewardship. 4-page PDF. 2012

 

Long-term Research on Rattlesnake Life History Will Help Managers Plan Habitat Restoration August 7, 2012

 

Species Action Plan - Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PDF). June 2011

 

Learning to Live with the Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake: Expanding Outreach and Education in Southern Michigan Dec. 31, 2009. 171-page PDF

 

Spotlight Species Action Plan October 2009. 9-Page PDF

 

Restoring Southeast Michigan’s High Diversity Landscapes Through Collaborative Stewardship – Hillsdale, Jackson, Lenawee, Oakland, and Washtenaw Counties, Michigan. Private Stewardship Grant (May 2007):

 

Reforestation and Wetland Restoration for Permanent Native Habitat in the St. Joseph River Watershed – Hillsdale County, Michigan; Defiance and Williams Counties, Ohio; Allen, Dekalb, and Noble Counties, Indiana Private Stewardship Grant. May 2007

 

Response to Habitat Management by the Eastern Massasauga (Sistrurus catenatus) at Carlyle Lake, lllinois S6 Grant Project. 2006

 

Molecular Diversity among Massasauga Rattlesnakes: Nuclear Intron Analyses S6 Grant Project 2006

 

Rome State Nature Preserve Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances Ashtabula County, Ohio. August 2006

 

Final Environmental Assessment for Eastern Massasauga Candidate Conservation Agreements in the Midwest. July 26, 2005

 

Eastern Massasauga Survey and Management Guidances

A Handbook for Land Managers (PDF 1.2 MB)

 

Recommended Standard Survey Protocol

 


 

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Last updated: August 26, 2015