"Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnakes are known by many names, Some people call them, Massasauga Rattlers, Black Massasauga Rattlers, Michigan Rattlers, Swamp Rattlers and many other names.
The word Massasauga (mass-a-saw'-ga) is said to mean “great river mouth” in the Chippewa language describing the swampland surrounding a river delta where the snakes can be found. Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnakes are known by their scientific name as Sistrurus Catenatus. Equipped with heat sensing pit-organs, venom and a rattle, they are Michigan 's only poisonous snake.
Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnakes are pit vipers, being equipped with heat-sensing pit organs between the eye and nostril on either side of their heads. These pits lead to a pair of extremely sensitive infrared organs that serve as a set of primitive eyes that can operate even when the snakes eyes and ears cannot. We have much to learn about this evolutionary technology.
Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnakes have a pair of long hollow fangs that they can inject venom into their prey. When the fangs are not in use they fold against the roof of the mouth enclosed in a membranous sheath. During a strike an Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake will eject the fangs at the last possible moment, each fang can be engaged simultaneously or independently. The strike is very fast and can work as more of a stab in a defensive strike. The venom of the Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake uses specialized digestive enzymes that disrupt the cardiovascular system. Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake venom is generally regarded as less dangerous to humans because they inject less venom than larger rattlers. However, all venomous snakebites should be considered dangerous and medical attention sought. "
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