Thursday, May 16, 2013

Massasauga Rattlesnake

A close-up of a Massasauga rattler at Hall Lake Fen, Yankee Springs, Michigan.

I finally got to see a snake this week that I had been wanting to see in the wild for a long time. They are the one northern rattlesnake in our area, but they are very rare. Massasauga rattlesnakes had been found at this site before, so I was very hopeful we would spot one. Right when we were leaving, a co-worker kicked one up. The snake made a beeline for a hole in a sphagnum moss mound, rattling insistently the whole time. I got a brief look before he/she went inside. I would estimate 5 rattles. After some careful re-arrangement of the moss, I got a view down into the den. You cannot see his head in the top photo, but it was just out of sight, carefully watching the proceedings. Here you can see Mike and Steve admiring the snake.

The fen itself was a fun place to go, even without the snake. We were too early for most of the nice flowering fen plants, but the pitcher plants were budding up. We saw sundews, poison sumac, tamaracks, tussock sedges, bastard toadflax, shrubby cinquefoil, and many other plants.

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