Article Posted: May 09, 2002

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LANSING--The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) asks
residents to report all eastern massasauga rattlesnake
observations in Michigan. The information is being collected
as part of a multi-state effort in cooperation with the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).
The adult massasauga rattlesnake is thick-bodied and can be
18" to 30" in length. They are brown to grayish color with
large brown blotches on their back and smaller lighter brown
patches on their sides. This snake population has been
declining due to habitat loss and human harassment.
"Michigan appears to be the remaining stronghold for this
snake's population," said Raymond Rustem, DNR Natural
Heritage Unit Supervisor. "When you look at any other state,
there are only one-to-six localized populations. Michigan
has massasauga populations ranging from Oakland County
through southwest Michigan and populations scattered
throughout northern Michigan."
The DNR is interested in any massasauga sightings and have
provided a report form at the DNR web site,
www.michigandnr.com, under "wildlife observations." To
assist with verification, the observer should include a
color photograph or slide of the observed snake. Do not pick
it up or kill it. The report site does provide a color
photograph of an adult massasauga along with photographs of
a milk snake and a hog-nosed snake, which are often mistaken
for a massasauga.
The massasauga rattlesnake was listed as a candidate species
under the Federal Endangered Species Act. As part of the
candidate status, the USFWS has initiated a survey to locate
existing populations and establish the current range and
status of massasauga.
The massasauga survey is being supported through Nongame
Fish and Wildlife Funds. You can support the nongame
efforts by looking for the loon and buying a wildlife
habitat license plate for your vehicle.

Source: MDNR

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