Event: Coexisting With Our Massasauga Rattlesnake– A Workshop on Identification and Safety —

Ontario's Massasauga Rattlesnake

Ontario’s Massasauga Rattlesnake


Saturday, April 25, 2015

10:00 am to 2:30 pm

Training Room, 361A Old Finch. Ave Toronto ON M1B 5K7

Each year, the Toronto Zoo hosts rattlesnake workshops for the people who share habitat with rattlesnakes such as near their homes or cottages, and where they work and play. Join Andrew Lentini, Curator of Amphibians and Reptiles, our Curatorial Keeper Rick Vos and Crystal Robertson, Adopt-A-Pond’s Stewardship Coordinator, to learn how to identify the Massasauga Rattlesnakes and how to safely share the areas these special animals call home. You will also have a one of kind opportunity to meet and great a real live rattlesnake!

The workshop will include an informative presentation about the natural history of rattlesnakes, the threats these unique creatures face, safety around venomous snakes, and how you can coexist with them.  There will also be ample opportunity to ask questions.  Resister today as space is limited!

Please note the program length may be too long for children under eight years of age. A suggested donation of $5 provides participants with snacks, take home resources and time to visit our interactive Massasauga area on the Toronto Zoo site. Lunch is not provided but you can bring your own or eat at one of the Zoo’s many restaurants and cafes.


To register or for more information please call 416-392-5968 or email alentini@torontozoo.ca


Massasaugas rattlesnakes (Sistrurus catenatus) arouse strong feelings in the public by being Ontario’s only venomous snake!  But don’t be afraid! There has not been a fatality from a massasauga bite in Ontario in almost 60 years. The eastern massasauga is currently listed as Threatened under the Ontario Endangered Species Act, 2007 and Threatened under the federal Species at Risk Act, which protects these snakes and their habitat by law. Unfortunately the fear and misunderstanding surrounding these snakes has caused this species’ downfall as many massasaugas are needlessly persecuted each year. As a result of persecution and road development across their habitat, this species has been extirpated (100% removed) from much of its original range in southwestern Ontario, and now can only be found on the eastern shore of Georgian Bay, the northern Bruce Peninsula, and tiny highly vulnerable populations on the Niagara Peninsula and near Windsor. Massasaugas love to forage for food in wetland and river habitats, and are named “massasauga” rightfully so, as in Ojibwa, this word means “great river mouth.”

Range map Rattlesnake

The Toronto Zoo is a member of the Massasauga Recovery Team and the Massasauga Species Survival Plan. We help develop and implement workshops, resources and public programs so that Canadians and our neighbors in the USA can learn how beneficial these amazing snakes are and why they need to be protected.

For more information about Toronto Zoo conservation programs visit http://www.torontozoo.com/conservation/