13 Eastern Massasauga rattlesnakes have slithered into life at the Lincoln Park Zoo. This species of snake is endangered in Illinois. They are the first of their kind ever hatched at the Lincoln Park Zoo. On June 20 the little snakes hatched out of their eggs.
Curator of Lincoln Park Zoo, Diane Mulkerin said, ‘The zoo is extremely enthusiastic about the significant positive impact these rattlesnakes will have on this endangered population.’
The parents of these hatchlings were brought together under the rattlesnake species survival plan. This program manages the rattlesnakes in captivity to ensure their long term health and survival.
Currently the zoo is home to another 13 rattlesnakes. They are at the zoo to be protected from predators and habitat loss. The snakes were brought to the zoo in collaboration with the Illinois department of natural resources, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the Cook County Forest Preserve Service. They were the last of their species in the Chicagoland area.
These rattlesnakes can be found from Midwest to New York and Ontario. They can reach 30 inches and have a powerful ‘rattle’ at the end of their tail.
At this time the rattlesnakes are only the size of a US quarter when coiled up. Mum and dad have no part to play in caring for the babies.
Photo Credit: Lincoln Park Zoo