The GIS analysis of habitat use by the Massasauga Rattlesnakes in Bruce Peninsula National Park study was done to determine the habitat requirements of eastern massasauga rattlesnakes. A Geographic Information System (SPANS) was used to spatially locate the habitats as well as to estimate the habitat composition of the whole Park, to calculate the composition of the habitats used by the snakes, and to generate habitat use probability maps for the Park.
The results from the study indicated that massasauga rattlesnakes prefer wetland habitat, particularly marsh areas. The snakes are also found in low density coniferous forests, with high shrub density surroundings. They tend to avoid open water.
The use of GIS analysis for the massasauga rattlesnake’s habitat-use study was essential because knowing areas that are significant for the survival of the snakes will enhance the development of a snake management plan that will that adequately protect the rattlesnake habitat.
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Melissa Lawrence, Rutgers Student Intern, VERTICES, LLC