Cedar, Ojibway Nature Centre
Paul Pratt, Ojibway Nature Centre
Deb Jacobs, Ontario Ministry
of Natural Resources
Massasaugas are thought to
have been moderately common around Windsor, Ontario as
recently as the 1940's. Until that time, suitable
habitat (tallgrass communities) may have extended for as
much as 50 km2 to the southwest of the city (Lumsden
1966; Pratt et al. 1993). Today, the Ojibway population
is confined to a few relatively small
habitat patches of tallgrass prairie in the Windsor/ LaSalle region.
Because habitat patches
composing the Ojibway complex are relatively isolated
from one another Massasaugas occupying these sites are
probably demographically isolated and should be
considered as such from a management perspective. The
next closest known population of Massasaugas occurs ca.
60 km to the west (across the Detroit River) at the
University of Michigan's Matthaei Botanical Gardens in
Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Radio telemetry research on this population began in 1999. The snake shown on the right, nicknamed Jay, was implanted in 2000 and continues to be tracked in 2003. He has led us to the discovery of several other massasaugas within his home range and provided valuable information on movements, hibernation sites, spring emergence, mating periods and habitat usage.
In June 2003 Tom Preney and Russ Jones discovered a gravid female that had been photographed as a neonate in August 1999. Not only was this the first neonate to be rediscovered as an adult but it answered an important question on minimum age for reproductive maturity.
Visit Ojibway's web site