Did you know that there are five isolated populations of rattlesnakes in Massachusetts, and one of them is in the Berkshires? Well, apparently that is the case. One of our morning programs today brought up that fact, so I decided to do a little research.
Five populations in three areas of Massachusetts…
There are apparently five Timber Rattlesnake populations spread out into three areas of Massachusetts. They are in the Berkshires, the Blue Hills, and the Connecticut River Valley. The Division of Fisheries and Wildlife section of the Mass.gov website says that the timber rattlesnake is one of only two venomous snakes in Massachusetts. The other is the copperhead.
In Massachusetts, the Timber Rattlesnake was formerly widespread and locally abundant in Essex, Middlesex, Worcester, Suffolk, Norfolk, Franklin, Hampshire, Hampden, and Berkshire Counties until the late-19th century. Today the Timber Rattlesnake is one of the most endangered species in Massachusetts, having sustained the largest decline of any native reptile species in the past 150 years.
There are only five remaining populations in Massachusetts. At least two of those are at very high risk of imminent extirpation because of a combination of a diverse array of factors and threats.
You can find a summer of rattlesnake conservation in Massachusetts, HERE.
You can also download a very cool, fact-filled information PDF from Mass.gov, HERE.
Timber Rattlesnakes can have an array of colors. Here are two of them:
(Above: The bands are clear on the lighter-colored snake.)
(Above: The triangular head is obvious in this snake in sub-feeding posture.)
According to the PDC document that you can download above… timber rattlesnakes avoid people, and although they are venomous, they pose no serious threat when left alone.
Signs like the one above are posted in areas where people encounter timber rattlesnakes with regularity.
LOOK: Here are the pets banned in each state
Because the regulation of exotic animals is left to states, some organizations, including The Humane Society of the United States, advocate for federal, standardized legislation that would ban owning large cats, bears, primates, and large poisonous snakes as pets.
Read on to see which pets are banned in your home state, as well as across the nation.