Snakes, whether of the rattling type or not, have always been viewed with mistrust, to say the least. Portrayed as the original apparition of Satan in the Garden of Eden, as well as multiple evil or at least untrustworthy characters in pop culture, snakes are definitely getting a bad rap. For this reason, multiple Massachusetts residents are freaking out, as the Fish and Wildlife Service is trying to relocate a timber rattlesnake colony on a nearby island.
Massachusetts timber rattlesnakes
Native to Massachusetts, the timber rattlesnakes were a very proud product of the state, especially since they’re most famous for appearing on the Gadsden Flag. For those of you unfamiliar with the flag, you might know it as a small, un-noteworthy flag that appeared during the Revolutionary War, and which had the words “Don’t Tread on Me” written underneath one of the menacing snakes.
Despite the historical relevance of the animals, only about 200 are left today in their natural habitat – Massachusetts. Considered endangered in most of the Northeastern United States, and with the state receiving no help to protect the animals, the Fish and Wildlife Service decided to move to a more or less secluded island.
Relocation to the island
The Mount Zion Island is situated in the Quabbin Reservoir and is pretty much off limits to most residents. The 1,400 acre island is connected to the land via a thin road, and is supposed to be the home to the 200 timber rattlesnakes left in Massachusetts.
By doing this, the Fish and Wildlife Service would have a controlled environment where to keep an eye on the snakes, especially since the current specimens will all be tagged and tracked. This would help the animals live in a familiar environment, and also keep them away from human interference.
Pros and cons
First of all, Massachusetts residents are rattled over the snake relocation proposal. They are concerned that the snakes will escape the island and inevitably bite someone. With the timber rattlesnakes’ venom being so powerful, and people living relatively close to the island, it’s a legitimate concern for citizens to worry about the well-being of their families.
Since the island is connected to the mainland, and since the snakes can swim anyway, the idea that the animals might wonder off and accidentally hurt someone or get themselves killed isn’t that easy to dismiss. But the people on the case are going to be careful about it.
By tracking the animals and providing them with a suitable environment, the animals wouldn’t really have any reason to leave the island. Additionally, the island is off limits, so you were to go there and get bitten, you’d be breaking the law. The current plan is to simply help the iconic animals alive, and quite a large number of residents seem to agree with the importance of that.
Image source: Flickr