Massachusetts plans rattlesnake colony on uninhabited island

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BOSTON, Massachusetts — A plan by the state to establish a colony of venomous timber rattlesnakes on an off-limits island in Massachusetts’ largest body of water has some residents rattled.

The state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife official leading the Quabbin Reservoir project says the opposition is driven by an irrational fear of snakes and an unfounded concern that public access to the reservoir will be shut off.

Tom French says the snakes introduced to Mount Zion Island will have no reason to leave because the island is big enough. They will also have adequate places to hibernate and abundant food sources.

He said even if they did get off the island, they wouldn’t attack people.

The endangered snakes are indigenous to Massachusetts but have been nearly wiped out by human encroachment.

The public meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday at Mahar Regional High School in Orange, Massachusetts.