Rattlesnakes bred in Toronto get new home at Ojibway Nature Centre

Before Massassauga snakes were endangered, naturalists could simply grab one from the wild and adopt it at the Ojibway Nature Centre.

Endangered Eastern Massasauga rattlesnakes are the only venomous snakes still found in Ontario

Two new Massassauga rattlesnakes now call Ojibway Nature Centre home 0:27

Two rattlesnakes have a new home at Ojibway Nature Centre, thanks to an adoption from the Toronto Zoo.

Eastern Massasauga rattlesnakes have been on display at the Obijway Nature Centre for about 40 years. When the last pair died, naturalists went on the hunt to find replacements.

Naturalists used to simply go out into the wild to find an Eastern Massasauga — the only venomous rattlesnake still found in Ontario.

The snakes are hard to come by, though, since becoming endangered. 

"We don't want to go out and take any animals out of the wild," said Karen Cedar, naturalist at Ojibway Nature Centre. "Even the loss of one snake could be end of a population."

The two snakes, which are bred to be display snakes, were picked up this week in Toronto. Having the snakes on site is a much better way for visitors to learn about the animals, Cedar explained.  

"It really is so much more effective when you have a rattle snake to show them," she said. "Pictures in a book don't really do the trick. You really need to have a live animal."