Possible breeding grounds for endangered timber rattle snakes

Mount Tom is already home to roughly two dozen timber rattlers

BOSTON, Mass (WWLP) – A working group is exploring places to breed the endangered timber rattlesnake, including spots right here in Western Massachusetts.

The Rattlesnake Review Group is eyeing Mount Tom in Holyoke as a possible location to breed timber rattlesnakes. The problem is, the mountain is a popular spot for hikers, dog walkers and families.

Mount Tom is already home to roughly two dozen timber rattlers. Both residents and lawmakers have concerns about placing more of these venomous reptiles in a place that sees so much foot traffic.

The original plan was to breed the snakes on a secluded island in the Quabbin Reservoir, but the working group decided to look elsewhere after strong pushback from residents in the Quabbin region.

One state lawmaker is urging the Baker administration to include area residents and legislators in the conversation.

State Rep. Paul Mark, (D) Peru said, “I think if the department wants to proceed, the best option would be to start over, to make sure there are public sessions explaining to people what exactly is happening, why it is happening.”

The Rattlesnake Review group is also looking at locations in southern Berkshire County and the Blue Hills south of Boston.