Saturday, August 9, 2008
The Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake at Jennings Prairie
As we continued to explore the prairie plants and move along the trails, our group ran into one of the volunteers at Jennings. Joe visits the prairie on weekends to catch and tag Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnakes, Sistrurus catenatus catenatus.
Yep. You know what Joe is holding in the bag, but you don't know it is pregnant! A very pregnant and VERY angry Massasauga Rattlesnake!
I sure wish I could have taken a photograph of her outside of the bag!
She let it be known that she was not happy! She is a healthy snake and her rattles are loud! Joe told us that she was tagged with a chip three years ago, but that she had not been captured since. He was taking her to the center where her weight and measurments would be recorded. He would later release her where she was found.
I can not emphazsize how wonderful it is that this snake is pregnant. The massasauga is very endangered and only breeds once every two or three years. They breed in August and September and the young are born live the next summer. It is nice to think that her babies might already be living on the protected prairie at Jennings.