There is a venomous viper found in Ohio

CBS News

An annual snake survey in Ohio revealed an unexpected find – an eastern Massasauga rattlesnake, an “increasingly rare” snake in the state that is considered threatened.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources said one of its officers in Huron County found the rattler in May.
Eastern Massasaugas are “small snakes with thick bodies, heart-shaped heads and vertical pupils,” according to the U.S.
They’ve also been found in more than 30 counties in Ohio, but according to Ohio State University, Massasaugas have “become increasingly rare” – both through the state and its range as a whole.
According to the Division of Wildlife, they are typically “very sluggish and make little or no attempt to bite unless thoroughly provoked.”
And that is a good thing, as their venom “is highly toxic,” the division said.
The species is considered threatened under the Endangered Species Act, according to U.S.
Fish and Wildlife, and is one of only three venomous snake species in Ohio.


An unexpected discovery during Ohio’s yearly snake survey was an eastern Massasauga rattlesnake, a threatened species that is “increasingly rare” in the state.

The rattler was discovered in May, according to an Ohio Department of Natural Resources officer who was stationed in Huron County. After apprehending the snake and measuring it, officials let it return to its natural habitat.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, eastern massasaugas are “small snakes with thick bodies, heart-shaped heads, and vertical pupils.”. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Their skin is gray or light brown, with “chocolate brown blotches on the back,” and they only reach a maximum length of two feet. Melancholics seem to be exclusively black. Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin are among the states where they have been discovered.

Although they have been discovered in over 30 counties in Ohio, Massasaugas have, in the words of Ohio State University, “become increasingly rare” throughout the state and its entire range. Since 1976, they have only been observed in nine counties. The Ohio Division of Wildlife’s reptile field guide states that although many of their colonies still exist in bogs, swamps, and wet prairies, extensive farming dramatically reduced their numbers in the state.

Massasaugas, also called “black snappers” or “swamp rattlers,” are not the most active snakes. The Division of Wildlife states that they are usually “extremely sluggish and make little or no attempt to bite unless thoroughly provoked.”. They will consume frogs and other snakes, but their primary food source is small rodents.

And that’s fortunate because, according to the division, their venom “is extremely toxic.”. Although the average bite from a Massasauga does not contain enough venom to kill healthy adults, officials cautioned that “this is still a venomous snake.”. . and need to be handled with extreme caution and deference. “.

According to U.S. law, the species is protected as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. S. Fish and Wildlife, and is among Ohio’s three species of venomous snakes.

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