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(Rattle) Snakes on the Wane

By Joanna Miller in Miscellaneous on Aug 28, 2006 6:36PM

2006_08_28snake.jpgA week ago, there were snakes everywhere we turned. But today, we learned that wild rattlesnakes are a disappearing species, and a recent survey found only 10 in a prairie near the Des Plaines River.

The snakes have been measured, photographed and implanted with microchips, but the biologists who found them aren’t giving out their exact location.

There were no adult males found in the group, although there were some young snakes. We imagine there’s an awkward round of “would you rather” going on in the snake safe house right about now.

Biologists are hoping the snakes do what they have to do to expand their numbers. The endangered species, they say, is an important part of a balanced food chain. Kind of like how Cocoa Puffs are part of a balanced breakfast.

Actually, snakes eat mice and voles, and are eaten by herons, hawks and other snakes. Without the snakes, other wetland animals could be in trouble too. And while we aren’t big fans of snakes, an overabundance of mice and voles would really freak us out. We’re not exactly sure what a vole is, but it sounds icky.

Western Diamondback Rattlesnake via Charles & Clint