Eastern Massasauga Research

Sasha detects a radio signal from a snake’s transmitter, using an antenna and receiver as part of the telemetry study. He’s standing in one of the aspen cuts in the South.


Bruce Kingsbury and his students have been investigating the ecology and conservation of the Eastern Massasauga for nearly twenty years.

Currently, two graduate students are investigating responses of the massasauga to habitat manipulations at the Camp Grayling National Guard training base in northern Michigan. Sasha Tetzlaff is focusing on the thermal quality of habitat available to snakes, and Mike Ravesi is looking at the long term responses of massasauga to timber harvest and a large-scale fire. The grad students are collaborating on the Grayling study, using radio telemetry to monitor snake movements.

For more information on the Eastern Massasauga, click here to get into the species information available through our outreach program.

More Project Snapshots

(Click any photo to zoom)

One of the pine cuts in the North
A large-scale fire burned through the study area in May 2010. Extensive as this view is, the fire burned far beyond what the camera captured. However, it hasn’t deterred snakes from overwintering in the burned habitat!
Another view of the burn. Note the increased plant growth as summer approaches.
2013-05-24 14.32.45
Not only did snakes overwinter in the burn, but two females gestated and gave birth in this habitat. Can you see the snake basking on top of this dirt mound?
One of the study snakes, our largest male so far.
Smiling for the camera.

conservation through research and education