Michigan’s massasauga rattlesnake could soon get federal protection

Oct 13, 2015

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently proposed listing Michigan’s only venomous snake as federally threatened. We talk to MSU herpetologist Jim Harding about the future of the eastern massasauga rattlesnake.


When you think of rattlesnakes, you probably picture cacti and dusty, arid landscape. But Michigan’s got its own rattler, the eastern massasauga. It’s the state’s only venomous snake, and it prefers a much swampier lifestyle than its Western relatives.

The snake’s declining population recently prompted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to propose adding it to the list of threatened species under federal protection.

Current State talks about the eastern massasauga with MSU’s resident “Critter Guy” Jim Harding, who is the wildlife information specialist at the Michigan State University Museum.