There is only one poisonous snake species in Michigan, and now it faces the danger of extinction. The eastern massasauga rattlesnake has recently been added to the list of endangered animals, which offers it protection from federal authorities. Environmentalists hope that this action will give the snake one more chance to survival.
Specialists have been trying to obtain federal protection for the only poisonous snake species in Michigan for almost thirty years. The reptile is threatened by loss of habitat, as agriculture and urban areas expand. The snake needs a humid environment to survive, but human activities have been draining the lands around Michigan for the last three decades.
The eastern massasauga rattlesnake is famous for being one of the shiest snakes. Biologists explain that, although it is venomous, it rarely attacks humans, rather trying to avoid confrontations. However, people are always scared when running into a rattlesnake, so many individuals are killed, although they did nothing to attack.
The poisonous snake species doesn’t live in Michigan’s wetlands exclusively. It can also be found in other ten states across the United States. According to specialists, these reptiles don’t like human interaction and tend to remain out of sight.
Because this species of rattlesnake is so secluded, researchers find it difficult to monitor the populations. However, they estimate that Michigan in the home for approximately one hundred eighty-seven snake populations. Unfortunately, more than forty of them are believed to be in poor conditions, on the verge of extinction.
Although the eastern massasauga rattlesnake is a poisonous snake, its bite is not deadly to humans, as experts assure us. The experience is quite unpleasant, but can be treated and cured. Statistics show that no lethal cases have been reported for a century now. On the other hand, there are other deadly rattle snakes, such as the western diamondback rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox).
Experts explain that rattlesnakes can be distinguished function of the noises they make. Dan Kennedy, who works at the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, states that the sound of the eastern massasauga rattlesnake is
“more like an insect buzzing.”
Apart from habitat loss, humans killing the snakes they encounter is also a threat for the Michigan populations. There are also people who capture the massasauga, and either keeps the specimens or sell them as pets. However, the new law protects the animal, and such activity is now banned.
Image courtesy of: Wikipedia