Legislators asking to put “Rattlesnake Island” proposal on hold

Lawmakers think there are better places than Quabbin to breed the snakes

Snake-Timber rattlesnake
Credit: JohnPitcher/Thinkstock

BOSTON (WWLP) – A letter from state lawmakers is urging Governor Charlie Baker to suspend a project to breed timber rattlesnakes at Mount Zion in the Quabbin Reservoir. Members of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture believe that there are better places to repopulate the endangered snakes.

Sen. Anne Gobi (D-Spencer) sent a letter to Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Matthew Beaton about the so-called “Rattlesnake Island” proposal. After hearing several hours of expert testimony last week, Gobi wrote that the state should look at existing den sites, rather than creating a new habitat. She also urged Governor Baker to evaluate the work being done to rehabilitate all endangered species, not just the timber rattlesnake.

State tapping the brakes on “Rattlesnake Island” proposal

Gobi told 22News Tuesday that these poisonous snakes will not be introduced to the Quabbin until a working group releases their final recommendations.

“The juvenile snakes that are being head-started at the Roger Williams Zoo will remain there until the working group has an opportunity to meet and to come to some decisions,” Gobi said.

The state is now in the process of forming that working group.

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