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CT Press: Saving The Timber Rattlesnake

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Posted by: W von Papinešu at Wed Oct 27 11:52:46 2010  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by W von Papinešu ]  
   

HARTFORD COURANT (Connecticut) 19 October 10 Saving The Timber Rattlesnake (Peter Marteka)
Glastonbury: For thousands of years, timber rattlesnakes have hunted in Connecticut, searching for rodents and other small mammals to eat.
But as human development has encroached on their habitat, their numbers have dwindled to the point where the snake is considered an endangered species. Glastonbury is in the process of preserving part of that habitat, purchasing a 55-acre parcel in the town's eastern highlands.
Last week, the town secured a $180,000 grant from the state Department of Environmental Protection to buy what is known as the Tiboni property, to the south of Goodale Hill Road. The eastern and southern sections of town, as well as Meshomasic State Forest in Portland, are known for their timber rattlesnake populations. There is also a pocket of such snakes in the northwest hills. State law prevents people from trapping or killing snakes, and most snake mortality is from being run over by cars.
"This whole area is prime rattlesnake country," town planner John Rook said. "One of the town's goals has been to piece together properties and protect a large, unfragmented area, especially in this part of town."
The local, state and the federal governments, as well as groups like the Nature Conservancy, have targeted the 17,500-acre Meshomasic highlands in central Connecticut as an area to be preserved. The highlands run through Bolton, East Hampton, Glastonbury, Hebron, Marlborough and Portland.
When development is proposed near a snake habitat, Glastonbury has strict guidelines that protect the snake's denning and foraging areas. Developers are required to hire herpetologists, educate homeowners about the snake and limit work to winter, when snakes are hibernating.
"It's not only the snakes, but there are neotropical songbirds that thrive in the unfragmented forest areas," Rook said. "These properties have been on the radar screen for a long time and have been a priority for years."
The rattlesnakes are venomous, but they are shy unless threatened. They forage for mice from May to September, traveling the same paths they have used for years. The town and state, as well as the Nature Conservancy, have preserved hundreds of acres in the snake's foraging and denning areas.
Saving The Timber Rattlesnake


   

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