Massasauga Rattlesnake

Sistrurus c. catenatus (eastern massasauga rattlesnake) is an endangered snake with many disjunct populations, due to natural habitat specificity, persecution, and habitat destruction. One population, located in central New York, is at risk of further habitat loss as its basking habitat in an old field is undergoing secondary succession. In an attempt to improve habitat quality at this site, a prescribed burn was performed by the NY Department of Environmental Conservation.

Project Title: Habitat management for the eastern massasauga rattlesnake (Sistrurus c. catenatus) through prescribed burning of an old field

Summary: We are examining the impacts of the prescribed burn on snake habitat availability in this old field and the response of the rare eastern massasauga rattlesnake to this management activity. Overall, the eastern massasauga rattlesnake responded favorably to the prescribed burn, but continued restoration is necessary to maintain this small and isolated population of rare snakes.

Location: Cicero Swamp Wildlife Management Area, Cicero, NY

Timeline: 2009-2011

Field participant: Portia Osborne, M.S. Candidate, SUNY-ESF

Principal Investigators:
James P. Gibbs, SUNY-ESF, Syracuse, NY
Martin DovĨiak, SUNY-ESF, Syracuse, NY

Edna Bailey Sussman Foundation

Portia Osborne, SUNY-ESF, Syracuse, NY,, 315-470-4866