Breeding a Rattlesnake Colony on a Deserted Island

Mar 11, 2016

The first relocation of snakes will take place in spring next year.
Credit Bill Byrne / The Mass Division of Fisheries and Wildlife/AP photo

Folks on the High Plains rarely complain about the lack of venomous rattlesnakes. But that seems to be exactly what’s happening in Massachusetts. According to The Guardian, the New England state is concerned about a species of rattlesnake that’s been wiped out in the wild. So Massachusetts has decided to establish a colony of rattlesnakes on a deserted island.

The plan is to take eight young snakes from a captive breeding program and release them onto Mount Zion, an island in a reservoir in central Massachusetts. The hope is that, without human interference, these timber rattlesnakes will reproduce and build up a viable population.

But some New Englanders aren’t thrilled with the idea. That’s because the rattlesnakes are capable of swimming. These residents fear the snakes will escape the island and run wild. Perhaps if Massachusetts really needs more snakes, West Texas can send them some. We have plenty.