Eco camp sussex
The big Ford bumped its way over Ringwood State Park's dirt roads upward, toward the two snakes' lifelong homes high in mountain country, but not far from the crowds. Carrying one bagged rattler she trudged uphill to return it to exactly where she had captured it a week ago.She untied the bag and it moved easily onto the ground.
The two snake populations had used this rock outcrop to warm up and help shed their skins. Wrapped in a burlap bag and placed inside an open cardboard box, it rose and swayed as it sniffed the air to determine where it was.Another timber rattler lay beside me, snug and secure in a closed box on the truck's seat between me and the driver, Mac Kenzie Hall, timber rattlesnake researcher.The snake, no longer feeling threatened, quit rattling at us.He flicked his tongue to pick up chemical scents to reorient himself to this former hunting spot.We hope that developers will be willing to work with us to minimize human rattler interaction." The DEP will also use results of the study to educate people living in rattler territory about venomous snakes.
So far, data shows that rattlers prefer talus slopes and outcrops for dens, and hardwood forests for foraging where they smell for rodent corridors.
So far this year, Hall's data shows that this mature snake has moved three-quarters of a mile, perhaps looking for a female. Hall, a seasonal intern (in 2005) with the NJDEP, Division of Fish and Wildlife, Endangered and Nongame Species Program (ENSP), conducted field research for the Timber Rattlesnake Highlands Project.
The Highlands are one of the few last strongholds for New Jersey's endangered timber rattlers, but human settlement has made their existence more visible.
All of the snakes in the study are males that were found on private properties, whose owners contacted ENSP.
The venomous snake response team rescued the snakes.
At the ends of long poles, the hooks would hold him gently while lowering him into the bag, but the male and his mate slipped through the protective mass, making capture impossible.