EASTERN MASSASAUGA RATTLESNAKES: Live and Let Live

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

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August is the birthing season for the reclusive ‘swamp rattlers’ of Oakland County. Like all rattlesnakes, the eastern massasauga rattlesnakes (Sistrurus catenatus catenatus) bear live young. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service states, “The young actually hatch from eggs while still in the female’s body. Depending on the health of the individual, adult females may bear young every year or every other year.” According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, our state’s only venomous snake gives birth to eight to twenty young. The little rattlers disperse shortly after birth and strike out on their own in our county of swamps and uplands using their heat-sensitive pits on the sides of their head to detect prey. Continue reading