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.”
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
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.
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.