In Search of Massasaugas (continued)


More habitat.

Another inhabitant of the crayfish burrow - a Northern Crayfish Frog (Rana areolata circulosa)

The third and littlest Massasauga proved to be the last one of the day, but who could complain?  It was a privilege to see them, for Massasaugas are in trouble.  Much of their habitat has been turned over to agriculture, and the remaining snakes surrounding farm areas are at risk in the summer, when they move into the dry fields in search of rodent prey.  Roads and ignorant humans remove their share. Urban sprawl takes its toll, as wet places are drained and development removes snakes and habitat forever (this is unbelievably called 'incidental take').  All of the states where Massasaugas are found protect them by law, but where an individual would be in serious trouble for killing one, there are no consequences when Wal-Mart paves them over.  The small pockets of snakes hanging on are isolated from each other, restricting the flow of genetic exchange needed to sustain healthy populations.

Since my first encounter I've become fascinated with these snakes and very concerned about their welfare, and I hope you will too.  Below is a small number of related links for Massasaugas across their range.  I can't wait for my next encounter with this snake and I hope you have the same opportunity!

Iowa Massasaugas

USFWS Massasauga Page

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