Toronto Zoo has announced the hatching of twelve massasauga rattlesnakes as their next conservation success story.
This is the second year that Toronto Zoo has been able to succeed with breeding these challenging snakes. The zoo has experienced success by matching the optimal environmental conditions and day lengths which the snakes would experience in the wild.
The first lot of snakes were born on August 16,2015 followed by a second lot on August 26. They will join the Species Survival Plan (SSP) for their species. This breeding program began in 2006 when researchers noted that the population of massasauga rattlesnakes in Canda and the 10 U.S. states where it can be found was declining. This species is listed as Endangered, Threatened or Special Concern across its whole range.
“We are very excited to see success, for a second year in a row, of this important conservation breeding program for this endangered species” says Dr. Andrew Lentini, Curator of Reptiles and Amphibians, Toronto Zoo. “This birth gives us confidence that we are making major strides in the work we are doing that will sustain recovery efforts for these special snakes now and for years to come”.
Toronto Zoo has been working to conserve these snakes since 1989. They also hold community workshops to inform people on how to live peacefully with these animals. Further to this they help support research in the field, restoration of their habitat and the development of shelters for them to live in.
Photo Credit: Toronto Zoo