The eastern massasauga rattlesnake is the only venomous snake found in Michigan. It’s also one of the state’s threatened species.

LANSING – While you’re enjoying the outdoors, don’t be surprised to spot one of Michigan’s resident snakes. 

According to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), snakes can be found in just about every habitat type – forests, grasslands, wetlands, farmlands and cities.

Snakes play an important role in ecosystem health by keeping rodent numbers in check and, in turn, feeding larger predators like hawks and owls, the DNR said in a press release.

According to the DNR, Michigan is home to 18 different species of snakes, 17 of which are harmless to humans. While most snakes here aren’t dangerous, the DNR said there is one venomous species found in the state – the eastern massasauga rattlesnake, a threatened species that is rarely encountered.

As the name implies, the massasauga rattlesnake has a segmented rattle on its tail. Keep in mind that other snakes in Michigan – those without segmented rattles – also will buzz or vibrate their tails if approached.

If you do see a snake, the DNR says it’s best to leave it alone and give it the opportunity to slither away – you likely won’t see that snake again. 

Learn tips and features to look for to identify Michigan snake species with the DNR’s “60-Second Snakes” video series or by visiting

The DNR said residents can help monitor reptile and amphibian populations in Michigan by reporting sightings of snakes, turtles, lizards, salamanders, frogs and toads to its Herp Atlas database. Visit to get started.