The Ojibway Prairie Reptile Recovery team has demonstrated building hibernaculum for hibernating snakes, and using a borescope camera to check on the snakes as they are hibernating, but one question remains….

How do they get the snakes IN the hibernaculum?

Watch the latest video as Jonathan Choquette, lead biologist of the program, introduces eastern gartersnakes to the hibernaculum built and installed by the team.

The eastern massasauga can be found from Southern Illinois to the Great Lakes Basin, but is a species at risk in Canada found only in Ontario, where they live along the Georgian Bay shoreline and at two sites in the Carolinian region.

WPC’s hibernation habitat study is part of a larger effort to prepare for an eastern massasauga (Sistrurus catenatus) reintroduction. Snakes have a unique natural history and complex needs to survive the winter, including requiring appropriate overwintering burrows. The perfect burrow will allow snakes to get below the frost line, and be deep enough that they can access the water table to prevent desiccation while hibernating.