Follow these guidelines while you transport your pet: Even venomous snakes do not always inject venom into the wound when they bite. Generally rattlesnakes lie still and rattle if you come too close. Eastern massasauga rattlesnakes, the only venomous snake in Michigan, are shy creatures that will avoid humans whenever possible. DO NOT DELAY going to the nearest vet. Anyone who is bitten should seek medical attention immediately. As well, the use of anti-venom is also limited by its prohibitive costs–up to five vials may be required to treat most cases. Use guidebooks and websites, or inquire if your cottage’s association has any workshops on species identification. Dogs are another story. The few bites that occur to humans often result from attempts to handle or kill the snakes. Seek IMMEDIATE veterinary attention. Dog… Learn what to do if you or a pet is bitten: If a pet, notify your veterinarian and immediately take pet to a veterinarian for treatment. The most likely period to encounter snakes in the open is early spring or mornings when they can be found sunning themselves. Dogs are sometimes bitten on the legs, but more often on the snout or head as they investigate the snake, or as it strikes at them. If you think your dog may have been bitten: Watch for symptoms that may include swelling, pain, and discomfort. Their short fangs can easily puncture skin and they do possess a potent venom. Snakes are also a part of a larger food web and can provide food to eagles, herons, and several mammals. Keep your dog calm and do not allow him or her to move around. Remember, not all snakes are venomous. Given space they will leave the area fairly quickly, and a human-rattlesnake conflict is easily avoided. The neck is narrow, contrasting with the wide head and body and the head appears triangular in shape. But, because of the snake’s elusive and shy behavior, people rarely are bitten by them. The massasauga can be characterized as a shy, sluggish snake. The few bites that occur to humans often result from attempts to handle or kill the snakes. Historically, they could be found in a variety of wetlands and nearby upland woods throughout the lower peninsula. Dog’s natural curiosity puts them at risk if they are unsupervised. If your dog is bitten by a rattlesnake, immediate veterinary attention may be his or her best chance of survival. Like any animal though, these snakes will protect themselves from anything they see as a potential predator. The Massasauga bites only as a last resort, and its striking range is under 30 centimetres (about a third to a half of its body length). They are becoming rare in many parts of their former range, throughout the Great Lakes area, due to wetland habitat loss and persecution by humans. In most cases, the snake will move to different areas. Do not wait for “morning”, “the end of the weekend”, or your “regular” vet. Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake species information on herpman.com. All snakes play an important role in the ecosystem. that look similar to the massasauga rattlesnake, US Fish and Wildlife Service massasauga status and biological information, US Fish and Wildlife Service frequently asked questions, Michigan Natural Features Inventory massasauga information, Massasauga abstract (includes life history, habitat, and active period information). In mild cases, the veterinarian may only give the dog painkillers. It is the only venomous snake species in Ontario, and although its venom is potent, this is a small snake with small fangs and a limited amount of venom. When compared to other rattlesnakes found in the United States, the massasauga is the smallest and has the least toxic venom. This snake is a very docile one. Michigan's only venomous snake is a rare sight for most state residents. Generally rattlesnakes lie still and rattle if you come too close. It is the only Michigan snake with segmented rattles on the end of its tail and elliptical, ("cat like") vertical pupils in the eyes. Given space they will leave the area fairly quickly, and a human-rattlesnake conflict is easily avoided. The belly is mostly black. In serious cases, the vet will administer fluids to restore blood pressure, and will inject epinephrine or corticosteroids and antihistamines to treat allergic reaction and swelling. The massasauga is listed as threatened species by the US Fish and Wildlife Service under the Endangered Species Act. The eastern massasauga, a rare sight for most Michigan residents, has been declining due to fragmentation and loss of wetland habitat. The massasauga is the state's only venomous snake and rattlesnake… Learn to identify any local snakes so that you can be knowledgeable about what type of snake has bitten your pet. Antivenom is the first-line treatment for envenomation. Dogs roam through off-path areas and fields away from human activity, which makes them much more likely than you to encounter a rattlesnake. Females give birth to 8 to 20 young in late summer. The young snakes have a single "button" on their tails; a new rattle segment is added at each shedding of the skin, which occurs several times per year. Severe coagulopathy after a massasauga rattlesnake bite Local injury, pain or swelling is concerning for envenomation after a rattlesnake bite. Keep your distance and observe it from a distance. Sistrurus catenatus catenatus. Snake bites are rare; approximately 2-3 per year and … As well, if your dog does encounter a snake of any sort, he or she is very likely to be curious about this new creature, and to engage with it, either out of curiosity or in challenge. Michigan DNR Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake 60-Second Snakes Video. If you live or recreate in areas that are historic habitats of the massasauga, learn more about them. Immediate treatment may be the key to your dog’s survival. The massasauga is listed as threatened species by the US Fish and Wildlife Service under the Endangered Species Act. When you encounter a snake, leave it alone. Any bite from a massasauga should receive prompt professional medical attention. Ontario and Michigan, the province and state with the most massasaugas, report an average of 1 to 2 bites a year. Have a Safe & Enjoyable Victoria Day Weekend! Blue Cross Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinarian. We can easily learn to live with these creatures. These rattlesnakes avoid confrontation with humans; they are not prone to strike - preferring to leave the area when they are threatened. When threatened, it rattles or retreats under nearby cover. Any rattlesnake bite is an extremely serious injury. It is best to treat them with respect and leave them alone. During the late spring, these snakes move from their winter hibernation sites, such as crayfish chimneys and other small mammal burrows in swamps and marshlands, to hunt on the drier upland sites - likely in search of mice and voles, their favorite food. Carl T. Johnson Hunting and Fishing Center, Assistance for Private Forest Land Owners, County and Municipal Law Enforcement Information, Fisheries Division Citizens Advisory Committees, Michigan History Center Commissions & Committees, Pigeon River Country Equestrian Committee, Timber and Forest Products Advisory Council, Upper Peninsula Citizens' Advisory Councils. Remember it deserves a safe living space. Massasaugas are found throughout the Lower Peninsula, but not in the Upper Peninsula (thus there are no venomous snakes on the Upper Peninsula mainland.) You are bitten, contact 911 or contact your medical care provider or emergency room for further direction. For maximum safety, it’s always best to keep your dog on leash at all times, particularly in areas where there are known Massasauga Rattler sightings. The veterinarian will first asses whether the dog has in fact been envenomated, and if so to what extent. Monitoring for coagulopathies is required after massasauga rattlesnake bites. Massasauga Rattlesnake. Brush Your Pet’s Teeth – Home Dental Care eBooklet, Update August 14: We’re Adjusting Our Hours. Adult length is 2 to 3 feet. Also known as "swamp rattlers," they spend the vast majority of their time in year-round wetlands hunting their primary prey, mice. There are several harmless species that look similar to the massasauga rattlesnake. A bite from a massasauga can be very painful and is potentially life threatening. If they have been bitten on a leg, splint the leg if you can, and keep the leg below the dog’s heart level as you carry him or her. Its thick body is colored with a pattern of dark brown slightly rectangular patches set against a light gray-to-brown background. When compared to other rattlesnakes found in the United States, the massasauga is the smallest and has the least toxic venom. Any bite from a massasauga should receive prompt professional medical attention. Occasionally, this coloration can be so dark as to appear almost black. If pets are in the area, it is important to confine them until the snake moves on. Most often snakes do not wander into areas with little vegetation. Encounters with rattlesnakes in Ontario are rare, but due to careful stewardship the endangered Massasauga Rattlesnake is recovering and re-populating areas of Ontario, including Georgian Bay, the Bruce Peninsula, parts of Muskoka, and parts of southern Ontario. Encounters with rattlesnakes in Ontario are rare, but due to careful stewardship the endangered Massasauga Rattlesnake is recovering and re-populating areas of Ontario, including Georgian Bay, the Bruce Peninsula, parts of Muskoka, and parts of southern Ontario. Other names: massasauga, massasauga rattlesnake Rattlesnake bites, while extremely rare in Michigan, can and do occur. This was an Eastern massasauga rattlesnake, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Bites to the head, especially on small dogs are particularly serious because the venom and swelling can quickly impair their breathing by cutting off the nasal and tracheal air passages. There are many similar looking harmless snakes in the same areas as rattlesnakes. Some may eat insects, others like the massasauga consider rodents a delicacy and help control their population. Anti-venom is rarely given to dogs except in very serious cases, mainly because there is a good chance of recovery without the administration of anti-venom, and the anti-venom has a risk of allergic reaction. These symptoms may occur immediately, or may not show for up to two hours.
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