Timber Rattlesnakes could be moved to Quabbin Reservoir - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Timber Rattlesnakes could be moved to Quabbin Reservoir

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(Western Mass News Photo) (Western Mass News Photo)

Staff members along with biologists and conservationists are combining a regional effort to save the Timber Rattlesnake population.

“It's our only native rattle snake to the New England area,” said Lou Perrotti.  

Perrotti is the Director of Conservation Programs at the Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence, Rhode Island.

He's said there's only about 200 Timber Rattle Snakes in the entire state of Massachusetts.

It's become an endangered species.

An effort is underway between the state of Massachusetts and the zoo to preserve the Timber Rattler on an Island in the Quabbin Reservoir.

“It's just a win-win for the conservation of many species these type of partnerships,” said Perrotti. 

Not only can the snakes control the mice population, other animals rely on them for food.

“They’re very vital to the Eco system as far as rodent control, these guys eat a lot of mice which are typically lime disease carrying species,” Perrotti continued. 

At the zoo, the snakes have been bred and right now four of those snakes will be large enough for release at the Quabbin this spring.

The state is trying to strike a balance between preserving the endangered species and protecting public safety.

"Snakes have been feared going back to biblical times and I get people's fears but it is a snake you've really got to seek out , no snakes attack humans,  yes they have venom but it's for securing their prey not for biting humans,” Perrotti noted. 

Perrotti said the snake's rattle is their protection.

He said if you happen to hear that rattle, you can just walk on by and the snake won’t even move, they’re not out to get you. 

"Most people bitten by venomous snakes are either trying to kill it, collect it, just messing with it period,” said Perrotti. 

Lou said those that might be worried about the snakes at Quabbin have nothing to worry about. 

"We certainly respect people's concerns especially with something that could potentially be harmful. We have to remember there are hundreds of people who hike the Berkshires every year where there are plenty of rattlesnakes, you rarely ever see them, they are a secretive snake,” Perrotti noted. 

The debate continues over the question of preserving the species and public safety, the director of conservation programs at the zoo stresses the importance of maintaining the Eco balance.

“Every species deserves the right to be in the Eco system and on our watch I don't think we should see too many of them get extricated. I think it's important for us to make sure this endangered animal stays on this planet for generations to enjoy," Perrotti continued. 

State wildlife officials said the plan calls  for the release of one to 10 young snakes a year over a ten-year period to establish a self sustaining colony.

Copyright 2017 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. 

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