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     Ojibway Population
Recovery Team Members:

Karen 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.

Jay coated with a thin layer of  mud after emerging from hibernation. Click for full image.

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.

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Tallgrass Prairie sticker

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