DNR: Season for sightings of Michigan's only venomous rattlesnake

Posted at 10:55 AM, Jun 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-06 15:16:22-04

This is about the time of year sightings of Michigan’s only venomous snake start rolling in.

The Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnakes hibernate all winter and start procreating in the spring and giving birth in the summer -- and that’s why the Michigan Department of Natural Resources is putting the word out to be alert.

The snakes venom, although less toxic to humans than most venomous snakes, still pose a threat.

However, wildlife officials say the Massasauga Rattlesnakes are more afraid of humans then we are them.

“The Massasauga rattlesnake tends to be a very shy snake that will avoid humans whenever possible,” said Hannah Schauer, wildlife communications coordinator for the DNR. 

Massasauga Rattlesnakes are found in a handful of eastern and Mid-Western states, including Michigan, but not in the Upper Peninsula.

They dwell mostly in and around wetlands but population has rapidly decreased as habitats have been converted for human uses.

In 2016, the Massasauga Rattlesnakes were placed under federal protection as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.

There are 18 snake species in Michigan.