Back on July 21 of this year, I was fortunate to have a friend take me to one of the last remaining locations for Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnakes in Essex County, Ontario. It is quite possible that less than 30 of these gorgeous animals exist in the wild. Fortunately, a small team of researchers is keeping close tabs on some of the animals with a mark recapture study, but it still seems likely that this population is doomed. It really is quite a shame.
|Eastern Massasauga - July 21, 2013|
Unlike the Massasaugas further north in Ontario, these prairie ones look quite different. The Georgian Bay and Bruce Peninsula animals have noticeably larger heads, while these prairie 'saugas (of which I have seen 3) have tiny heads compared to their fat bodies. I'm curious what the selection pressure would be to influence this kind of natural selection...diet related, perhaps? Are these prairie 'saugas taking down snakes?
Here are a few photos of Georgian Bay and Bruce Peninsula 'saugas for comparison.