HELP The Timber Rattlesnake Project at Quabbin Island
This petition had 2,424 supporters
Help me spread awareness to the critically endangered native timber rattlesnake population and how massively important the Quabbin Island project is to try and save this snake from extinction.
People are very quick to hate these animals based only on their own limited knowledge. Many have already stood up against this project fueled only by their ignorance and fear of something they do not understand.
As quoted in an article written on this matter, "There are only about 200 of the endangered snakes indigenous to Massachusetts left in five scattered pockets from greater Boston to the Berkshires, French said. Loss of habitat and human-caused deaths means they could disappear altogether, which is why the Quabbin project is so critical."
The petition started on this site against this project is so riddled with lies and misinformation its hard to even know where to begin but I will highlight some of the most incorrect statements used to try and persuade people into following their cause. I will quote statements as written in their petitions and then follow each with a corrected statement.
1.) " Timbers are capable of destroying habitats and ecosystems"
This is extremely incorrect. Not only are these animals incapable of destroying habitats and ecosystems they are an integral part them. Rattlesnakes are extremely efficient hunters and help stabilize and maintain healthy populations of the small mammals they mostly feed on. Animals like mice, rats, moles, and rabbits, species well known to carry disease and breed in extremely fast and high rates. Without snakes to help keep these populations at bay the areas where they lives would quickly becomes overrun by exploding populations of vermin type small mammals.
2.) "They are extremely venomous. Simple searches for "rattlesnake deaths" in America will demonstrate deaths caused by these snakes, even from a camper simply sitting around a campfire. No provoking."
While partly true in saying these animals are venomous, considering there are many many species of rattlesnake in America, simple searching "rattlesnake deaths" has actually little to do with the critically endangered species of timber rattlesnake this entire project focuses on. On the contrary bites from timber rattlesnakes are not only very rare, death from any rattlesnake bite is equally as rare. They also simply DO NOT attack completely unprovoked, that is the most false statement of the above quote. Timbers are generally considered to be one of the more docile species of rattlesnake in the country, almost always choosing to flee when disturbed instead of attack. When a timber rattlesnake DOES decide to choose aggression it is done in stages, a venomous bite is rarely the first thing that happens. First they will coil up and use their trademark rattle to attempt a warning. Second, if that doesn't work they will often strike with a closed mouth. A "bluff strike". Next if both rattle and bluff fail they will typically try a "dry bite". An open mouth bite when no venom is used. Venom is a precious commodity to these animals and prefer to only use it when absolutely necessary. If all else fails then they will use their venom in a bite.
And 3.) "There are hikers, fishermen, walkers, explorers, children, elderly, and various tourists who enjoy the Quabbin area"
While partly true, the proposed island is OFF LIMITS to all visitors. So if you decide to break the law and hike there and then are bitten by one of these animals (which is HIGHLY unlikely unless said person actually attempts to pick it up) it is not the snakes fault, but the person who decided to not follow already set in place rules regarding this island.
Human beings are the reason these amazing, beautiful, and incredibly important animals are so critically endangered. It is our responsibility to help these animals survive and thrive. They have every right to be here as we do and have been here for thousands of years. This project has a very real possibility of helping to save these animals from extinction. To say this project shouldn't be carried out because of fear of these animals is foolish since you have more reason to fear the raccoons and foxes who tear your garbage apart then you do a shy rattlesnake who rather run they fight. And to say this project shouldn't happen because you want to hike this one relatively small area is flat out selfish.
They WILL NOT swim off the island and kill your dogs.
They WILL NOT swim off the island and attack people unprovoked just to do it.
They WILL NOT hurt the ecosystem and habitat they were designed to live in.
So please, let us help educate those who do not understand just how dire the plight of these animals is. Let us at least try and help these animals survive as they have here for thousands of years. Let us try to save these incredible and beautiful animals from being gone from this planet forever.
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