Eastern Massasauga Sistrurus catenatus - Endangered


Description: 18½ - 30 inches. Massasauga Rattlesnakes are gray or grayish-brown with dark bands or blotches down the back. Blotches on the back become bands near the tail, which is tipped by a small rattle. The eyes have vertical, cat-like pupils and the head is shaped like a spade.

Similar Species: Timber Rattlesnakes usually have a rusty brown stripe running down the back, and have a black tail. Western Fox Snakes may be mistaken for massasugas due to pattern smiliarities, however foxsnakes lack a rattle. Many non-venomous species of snakes (including the fox snake) will vibrate their tail against grass and other ground debris to produce a rattle-like sound, but rattlesnakes will hold their tails off the ground while rattling them. All non-venomous snakes in Minnesota have round pupils.

Comments: There are no known populations of Eastern Massasaugas remaining in Minnesota. Please report suspected observations.

Distribution Map
Distribution of the Eastern Massasauga (Sistrurus catenatus)

This map is generated from data provided by the Bell Museum of Natural History and HerpMapper.org. Please help us keep it up-to-date by submitting your amphibian and reptile observations.

Phenology of Eastern Massasauga (Sistrurus catenatus)