The heat sensitive pits between the eyes and the nostrils are unique to
the massasauga. Its vertical, cat-like pupils of the eyes open in dim
light to improve the snake’s night vision.
The typical pattern of the massasauga
consists of dark brown blotches
on the back and three rows of alternating blotches on the side over a
belly is black with small white to yellow markings.
Cryptic patterns and
colouration serve to break up the shape of
a snake to better disguise it in vegetation, rocks, leaf litter,
Rattlesnakes are born with a single small
“button” and not a full rattle. Each time rattlesnakes shed their skin,
an additional segment is added to this button. The rattle varies
considerably in size and can be damaged or lost completely due to wear
and tear. The rattle is a remarkable evolutionary adaptation, allowing
the snake to warn others of its presence.