Skip to Main

John Ball Zoo works to protect Michigan’s only venomous snake

John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids isn’t just a place to see wild animals. They also work to protect species.

The latest species the zoo is working to preserve is Michigan’s only venomous snake, the eastern massasauga rattlesnake. Why is this species important? The massasauga is a very valuable part of Michigan’s wetland ecosystem, and many other species including butterflies, small mammals and amphibians rely on its habitat. The massasauga is declining in numbers and is considered a federally threatened species in Michigan due to fragmented habitat and habitat loss.

Bill flanagan from John Ball Zoo tells us more about why these snakes are so important.