Massachusetts Stands With Science

Timber rattlesnake, photo courtesy of Brian Gratwicke
Timber rattlesnake, photo courtesy of Brian Gratwicke

YOU SPOKE. THEY LISTENED. SNAKES WON!

Preserving biodiversity means protecting all native species, even those that might be considered unpopular.

The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MDFW) has a long history of using the best available science to inform conservation and preserve wildlife. Recently, controversy over proposed efforts to protect timber rattlesnakes resulted in a proposed amendment to the Massachusetts state budget that would have hampered the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife’s ability to make independent conservation decisions. We asked the Conference Committee (who decided which amendments to keep) to remove this amendment.

The Conference Committee decided to let science drive conservation and removed this dangerous amendment!

There are many good reasons why this species should be preserved for future generations

Timber rattlesnakes are an important part of our natural and cultural history
Photo by Richard Bonnett
They have suffered the greatest decline of any native reptile in modern history
Photo by Richard Bonnett
There are currently less than 200 individuals in Massachusetts in five small, isolated populations
Photo by Harry Greene
Mount Zion Island is off-limits to the public, ensuring public safety while protecting the snakes from what is arguably the greatest threat to their survival
Photo by Harry Greene
The vegetation community and rock structure on this island is ideal timber rattlesnake habitat
Photo by Eric Nordberg
Timber rattlesnakes are among the most social reptiles
Photo by Richard Bonnett
Timber rattlesnakes care for their young
Photo by Harry Greene
Females retain close ties with relatives throughout their lives
Photo by Richard Bonnett
Rattlesnakes can have a greater impact on fluctuating prey populations than their mammalian or avian counterparts
Photo by Eric Nordberg