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Note: Newly hatched or young black rat snakes and blue racers
have a bold pattern of blotches. Consult the Toronto Zoo’s
snake identifier, or a field guide, for more information.

SIMILAR, BUT NOT THE SAME

  • northern water, eastern hognose, eastern milk, and eastern fox
    snakes all resemble a massasauga rattlesnake because of a
    blotchy pattern along their bodies;

  • eastern fox, black rat and eastern milk snakes will often vibrate the end of their tail against leaves, simulating the sound made by
    a rattlesnake;

  • northern water, eastern hognose, eastern milk, and eastern fox
    snakes will put on shows of strength or aggression, but are
    non-venomous. The massasauga is the only venomous rattlesnake
    in Ontario.

EASTERN MASSASAUGA RATTLESNAKE
Sistrurus catenatus catenatus

From sistrum = a rattle and oura = tail, in reference to the rattle at the
tip of the tail.

From catenatus = chained, which describes the pattern on the back.

MASSASAUGA IS THE CHIPPEWA WORD FOR GREAT RIVER-MOUTH AND DESCRIBES THE LOCATION WHERE THE SNAKE WAS FOUND IN MARSHES ALONG RIVERS.

 

 

 

The heads, bodies and tails of three Ontario
snakes: The Eastern Milk Snake (Left),
The Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake (Middle),
and The Eastern Fox snake (Right).

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