The timber rattlesnakes used in the research will be fitted with special designed radio trackers.
(Mirror Daily, United States) – The Mount Zion Island in Massachusetts will be populated with venomous snakes that the researchers want to study more closely. The timber rattlesnakes will be monitored via radio trackers so they will not pose a threat to the population residing near the island.
The venomous reptiles will be fitted with radio transmitters small enough to do them no harm and large enough to send back viable information. So if one of the timber rattlesnakes involved in the experiment would try to make a run to the mainland the researchers would be able to catch it and bring it back to the island.
The Massachusetts Division of Wildlife and Fisheries assistant director Tom French stated that any wayward snake would be handled and the population will not be submitted to any risks or dangers.
Mount Zion is off limits to civilian population so there is no risk of an accidental encounter with a timber rattlesnake and an unsuspecting human.
The researchers involved in the study plan to release one to a maximum number of ten snakes on the Mount Zion island each year.
The radio transmitters only have a 2 years lifespan, so they will have to retrieve the snakes once every two years. The devices will only be fitted by the head veterinarian of the Rhode Island Park Zoo.
Since a snake can withstand three such surgeries during its lifetime, a single specimen will only be fitted with two radio transmitters, the third surgery being only one of removal.
According to French timber rattlesnakes are perfectly capable of swimming, but they need a motivation to do so. Also, besides the fact that the snakes are monitored, they would place themselves in great danger is they decided to swim towards the continent.
A swimming snake is a perfect target for a bald eagle. In the case of an escapist, it is probable that the researchers end up tracking the eagle that ate the snake rather than a free venomous reptile.
French also declared that the scientists will make one to eight visits per month to the Mount Zion Island. They will use special tracking devices to see the snake’s movements and preferred resting places.
The areas where the timber rattlesnakes prefer to spend their time in or hibernate are not yet clear for the researchers. That is why they are conducting this study.
In conclusion, the population that resides near the Mount Zion area will have nothing to fear because the timber rattlesnakes will be monitored via radio trackers and any rogue specimens will be relocated as soon as they try to make their escape.
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