Mount Tom a possible site for rattlesnake breeding program

There is already a rattlesnake population on the mountain, but should more be brought in?

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Rattlesnakes could be coming to a popular hiking spot near you.

The rocky and rugged mountain terrain at Mount Tom is already the natural habitat of poisonous timber rattlesnakes, and now the working group that originally planned to breed the snakes on an island on the Quabbin Reservoir, is now considering other options, including Mount Tom.

In addition to being a habitat for snakes, Mount Tom is popular with walkers, bikers, hikers, families, and pets.

Residents in the Quabbin region had complained about the original plan to bring the snakes to Mount Zion Island, and some Holyoke residents don’t like the idea of bringing them to Mount Tom, either.

“I feel it’s very dangerous, considering children and young adults go up there a lot to mountain bike and do other recreational things, and if someone were to get bitten by a rattlesnake, that could be pretty hazardous,” Kenneth Fitzherbert of Holyoke said.

The Rattlesnake Review Group is also reviewing areas of southern Berkshire County and the Blue Hills south of Boston as other possible breeding sites. Wildlife experts say that there may be as few as 200 timber rattlesnakes left in Massachusetts.

The review group wants your input. To do so, click here.