• Deceased snake

    Date: May 15, 2022 at 5:33 pm

    Location: The Maple Highlands Trail

    Wildlife Seen: 1 Snake, 24-36 inches long, deceased

    Behavior Observed:

    While hiking The Maple Highlands Trail northwest of Middlefield, south of Tare Creek, I found a dead snake. I had never seen a snake with that coloring, size or pattern in Ohio before so I looked more closely and felt it might be an Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake after googling Ohio snakes. Unfortunately I did not get a picture of the tail and the head was smashed so it was not readily identifiable. I was wondering if the snake has been found in that area.

    Naturalist's Response

    The snake in question is a Northern Water Snake – a harmless, albeit defensive, and very common snake in our county. Being stocky and gray with dark blotches makes it the most similar snake in Ohio to an Eastern Massasauga, however, the blotch pattern differs between the two species. Northern Water Snakes have bands circling the body near the head which turn into alternating, but touching, blotches on the body. This pattern can be seen in your pictures. Eastern Massasaugas have blotches along the neck and body that never, or rarely, ever touch other blotches. Eastern Massasaugas are also highly endangered and have never been officially documented in Geauga County.

    Hope this answers your question, and feel free to contact me if you have any other snake inquiries!

    -Naturalist Andy Avram