Massasauga Rattlesnake safety

Bruce Peninsula National Park

The Massasauga is a shy species, and will only strike if threatened or provoked. In almost all cases, Massasaugas will choose to escape or hide rather than strike. The Massasauga’s venom is meant to immobilize its prey (usually small mammals), and is not meant for humans. If a Massasauga does bite a human, it will sometimes choose not to inject any venom at all. 

If you are bitten by a Massasauga, you should always call 911, wash and cleanse the wound, and reduce movement until help arrives. Complications from Massasauga bites are rare.

Tips for hiking in rattlesnake country:

  • Wear shoes instead of sandals
  • Wear long pants
  • Stay on trails; do not step or reach into any crevices that you cannot see into.
  • If you spot a Massasauga, stay calm and do not approach it. Wait for the snake to move away from you, or adjust your route to avoid the snake.
  • Never chase, pick up, or harass any wildlife.
  • Keep pets on a leash.

For more safety tips make sure to check out our Safety page

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