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CO-EXISTING WITH RATTLESNAKES


PROPERTY OWNERS CAN HELP

If you live in an area where eastern massasauga rattlesnakes occur, you are probably already aware of how your community has responded to rattlesnake issues in the past. Much of the information in this publication relates to the snake in the wild, about the research being done, and about what to do to keep the snake and yourself safe. Yet, one of the biggest questions is still “What do I do if a massasauga is on my property?” This question does not have a simple answer. It all depends on the area and the people. This section will introduce you to the art of “living with wildlife.”

LIVING WITH WILDLIFE

Personal and cultural values have a strong influence on our initial perceptions of rattlesnakes. By acknowledging that everyone has a different image of snakes, we can then start to demonstrate how, by learning the true facts, we can build a shared response.

The eastern massasauga rattlesnake will not seek you out. Nor will it chase you. It is a shy creature and, like most wildlife, feels pain. The massasauga is a unique living creature, worthy of our respect and protection.

What you can do if you encounter a massasauga:

1. Leave the snake alone and it will depart on its own.

2. Move the snake to a nearby safe location (less than 250 m away) on your property.

3. Create habitat on your property and allow the snake to have a safe sanctuary in a designated area on your land.

1. LEAVE THE SNAKE ALONE AND IT WILL DEPART ON ITS OWN.

You may not have ever seen snakes on your property. When you encounter one, keep in mind that it may only be passing through to reach a preferred area for hibernation or summer feeding. It will continue on within a few hours or a couple days if you allow it safe passage. But make sure other people on your property know you’ve seen it so they won’t be so surprised to come across it, and won’t accidentally get too close to it.

 

Cottage owners along Georgian Bay
learning about the rattlesnake
found on their property.

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