file phot: timber rattler

Mar 13, 2016 3:32 PM

Rattlesnake island proposal gets another public hearing

The Associated Press

BELCHERTOWN, Mass. — Residents in Massachusetts still have time to voice their opinions about a state plan to establish a timber rattlesnake colony on a nearby off-limits island.

The Quabbin Watershed Advisory Committee is scheduled to discuss the proposal at its Monday night meeting in Belchertown, north of Springfield.

The Department of Fisheries and Wildlife says Mount Zion island in the Quabbin Reservoir is the perfect spot for the serpents because of an abundant food supply and hibernation spots.

The snakes are indigenous to Massachusetts but have been nearly wiped out in the wild.

Opponents of the proposal are worried that the snakes will either swim or slither across a causeway to the mainland and bite people.

State officials say rattlesnakes are unlikely to get off the island and bites are extremely rare.

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