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Snake Fungal Disease Found in Michigan Rattlesnakes

February 24, 2015



Some sad news coming out of Michigan as the snake fungal disease has been confirmed in eastern massasauga rattlesnakes (Sistrurus catenatus catenatus). The disease, which attacks the mouth and face area of snakes is almost always deadly as it prevents the snakes infected with it from eating and drinking water. 


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Massasauga rattlesnake

Tim Vickers

Snake fungal disease has been confirmed in eastern massasauga rattlesnakes in Michigan.

Scientists confirmed the disease in three locations in Michigan, using genetic analysis to determine that the snakes (5 in a sampling of 100) had SFD.  The areas in Michigan that the disease was found on the rattlesnakes include Barry County, Grayling, and Cassopolis. 

The eastern massasauga rattlesnake is the only venomous snake in Michigcan and is listed as a state species of special concern and is a candidate for federal protections. The population of this species has declined due to eradication by human activity and habitat loss. 

The  United States Geological Survey National Wildlife Health Center collected evidence of the fungus on several types of non-venomous and venomous snakes, including the northern water snake (Nerodia sipedon), eastern racer (Coluber constrictor), rat snake (Pantherophis obsoletus species complex), timber rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus), massasauga (Sistrurus catenatus), pygmy rattlesnake (Sistrurus milliards), and milk snake (Lampropeltis triangulum).


John B. Virata keeps a western hognose snake, a ball python, two corn snakes, a king snake, and two leopard geckos. His first snake, a California kingsnake, was purchased at the Pet Place in Westminster, CA for $5. His first pet reptile was a green anole that arrived in a small box via mail order. Follow him on Twitter @johnvirata 

 

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