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Feb 21, 2016 12:18 PM

Massachusetts plans rattlesnake colony on uninhabited island

The Associated Press

BOSTON — A plan by the state to establish a colony of venomous timber rattlesnakes on an off-limits island in Massachusetts' largest body of water has some residents rattled.

But the state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife official leading the Quabbin Reservoir project says the opposition is driven by an irrational fear of snakes and an unfounded concern that public access to the reservoir will be shut off.

Tom French says the snakes introduced to Mount Zion Island will have no reason to leave because the island is big enough. They will also have adequate places to hibernate and abundant food sources.

He says even if they did get off the island, they wouldn't attack people.

The endangered snakes are indigenous to Massachusetts but have been nearly wiped out by human encroachment.

Online: Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife rattlesnake project,

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