Zoo Animals

Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake

Massasauga rattlesnake

Sistrurus catenatus

At the Detroit Zoo
The massasauga rattlesnake can be found inside the Holden Reptile Conservation Center, located near the middle of the Detroit Zoo. There, visitors can learn about the 70 different species (and approximately 150 individuals) of reptiles at the Zoo, approximately 45 percent of which are considered threatened or endangered in the wild. Because many individuals fear snakes, it is important to educate the public and correct misconceptions that massasaugas are a dangerous or aggressive species. To that end, the Detroit Zoological Society has provided information about the species for inclusion in brochures and posters available at nature centers and other locations throughout Michigan, Wisconsin and Ontario.

Description
Michigan’s only true venomous snake, the thick, brown-and-black snake has light gray and brown patches on its back. It has also been characterized as a slow, shy snake.

Fun Facts

  • Although this snake is venomous, its venom is far less potent than other species. But if bitten, medical treatment must be sought immediately.