Snakes on a Plain


The timber rattlesnake has been wiped out in several states in the East and Northeast and is not doing well in the Midwest. (Photo by David Larson, Saint Louis Zoo)

It appears that timber rattlesnakes are homebodies, and when subdivisions move in, they don't like to move out. People don't like rattlesnakes playing in their backyards and try to eliminate them; scientists are trying to set up alternatives for yet another species challenged by urban sprawl.

"You can live with the knowledge that timber rattlesnakes and copperheads are in your area, and if you have a problem, you need to go to herpetologists, who can figure out a plan or help remove the snakes," he [Wayne Drda of Washington University] said. "We don't want to see people become nature vigilantes."Science Daily continues:

The researchers take captured snakes and implant a small radio transmitter on them to study movement, migration patterns and habitat use.

"Our goals are to understand the ways of these species and to educate suburbanites and rural people about them, so that we can keep a proper balance in the face of development," Drda said.

::Science Daily

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