Did You Know?
All adults in the group help raise baby Cotton-tops, even brothers and sisters.
Adult massasauga are not especially large. Their color pattern consists of a grey or tan ground color with a row of large rounded brown/black blotches or spots down the centre of the back and three smaller rows of alternating spots down each side. Solid black melanistic examples are also known, as well as cases where the back blotches join with those on the sides. Young massasauga are well-patterned but paler than the adults.
They are unlike other rattlesnakes, which normally feed on warm-blooded prey. They are reclusive and dangerous only because they frequent woodpiles and barns in search of food. In winter, unlike other rattlesnake species, they hibernate individually. They take cover using crayfish tunnels and rodent burrows as deep as 6 ft and sometimes partially filled with water. In spring, when days are around 70 degrees, they stick their heads above ground to absorb heat and help circulate the warming blood through their bodies.
We have one male massasauga here at PPZ. He was a donation from the Michigan DNR in 2003. Best estimates on his age are around 8 years old.
There are no photos available for this animal.