With his friend Wes Crowe, in July 2021 Adam Shoalts set off to search for an eastern massasauga rattlesnake in the Wainfleet Bog, one of the only places in southern Ontario where these snakes can still be found. Massasauga rattlesnakes are one of the only venomous species native to Canada. Once common across southern Ontario, persecution and loss of habitat has drastically reduced their range. Today, these snakes are only found in Canada near Georgian Bay, and two isolated, endangered populations: one outside Windsor and the other in the Wainfleet Bog. It took only a few hours of careful searching in the bog's thick, deciduous woods for Adam and Wes to locate the snake above. Massasaugas aren't aggressive, and will generally only bite if stepped on or handled. Adam photographed the snake and they left it undisturbed.
Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake
Scientific Name: Sistrurus catenatus
Habitat: Rock outcrops, lakeshores, forests, bogs, wetlands.
Threats: Habitat Loss, Human Persecution,
Photographed: July 2021, Wainfleet Bog, Ontario.
Massasauga rattlesnakes were once widespread across southern Ontario, but today are found only near Georgian Bay's shores as well as two isolated populations (indicated by arrows on the map) at the Ojibway Prairie outside Windsor and the Wainfleet Bog in the Niagara Peninsula.
Did you know?
The Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake is Ontario's only venomous snake (formerly Ontario was also home to Timber Rattlesnakes, but once hasn't been found in the province since the 1950s)
Typically grow 47.2-76 cm, record size is 100.3 cm
Does not always rattle a warning; relies on pattern and remaining motionless to go undetected
Gives birth to live young
Are not aggressive and will generally only bite if stepped on or handled