Found primarily in the states surrounding the Great Lakes, as well as southeastern Ontario, and slightly across the Mississippi River in eastern Minnesota, Iowa, and Missouri.
This snake prefers wet habitats, such as marshes, swamps, wet prairies, or grasslands surrounding rivers and lakes. It will often hibernate in crayfish burrows, or hide under ground debris.
A venomous pit viper, the massasauga is a species of rattlesnake that averages 24-30 inches in length. Its head is smaller and more narrow than other rattlesnakes, and it has 2 obvious heat-sensing pits on the front of its snout. Its pattern consists of dark spots or rounded, smooth-edged blotches on a light background. The row of spots down the center of the back are darker and larger, while the three rows of alternating spots on each side are duller and less defined. These spots merge into bands on the snake's tail. It has a thin white diagonal line between each eye and corner of the mouth, with a thick dark band on each side of the line.
Learn more with Schechter Natural History's Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians