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!

Now we need to thank these #SnakeHeroes for standing with science-based conservation in Massachusetts.

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

The Division of Fisheries and Wildlife should be given the opportunity to implement their plan.

Thank the Massachusetts Legislature Conference Committee for removing the amendment and letting science drive conservation in Massachusetts.



"Thanks @VinnydeMacedo for taking a #StandWithScience, letting @MassDFG do their job! #SnakeHero"

"Thanks @SalDiDomenico for taking a #StandWithScience, letting @MassDFG do their job! #SnakeHero"

"Thanks @RepSteveKulik for taking a #StandWithScience, letting @MassDFG do their job! #SnakeHero"

"Thanks @KarenSpilka for taking a #StandWithScience, letting @MassDFG do their job! #SnakeHero"

Let Senator Vinny deMacedo know we appreciate his support for timber rattlesnake conservation in Massachusetts!

Leave Karen a comment thanking her for removing the amendment that would have put timber rattlesnake conservation on hold.

Tell Representative Steve Kulik thanks for supporting science-based conservation in Massachusetts!

“This is an important step in the long-term preservation of a beautiful and valuable component of our rich natural heritage”
Matthew R. Burne, Vernal Pool Association
“We all bear the stewardship responsibility to care for our wildlife, even those less popular species”
Jennifer Carlino, Massachusetts Society of Municipal Conservation Professionals
“Thousands of people visit when snakes are active. We have never heard any complaints of rattlesnakes harming or threatening visitors”
Judy Lehrer Jacobs, Friends of the Blue Hills
“The proposed project is a vital step that must be taken to conserve this iconic animal, an animal that suffers from a bad image due to a huge amount of misinformation circulating among many members of the public”
Wendy Howes, Ware River Nature Club

Photographs by Richard Bonnett


You can make a difference for snakes by joining Advocates for Snake Preservation today.