An island of rattlesnakes may soon be a reality in Mass., and some residents aren’t happy

Public documents provide a glimpse into one town’s anxiety over the proposed reptile colony. March 21, 2016 | 12:10 PM

Bill Byrne/AP

In January, Tom French, the Massachusetts Assistant Director of the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife proposed a plan to establish a Timber Rattlesnake colony on Zion Island in the Quabbin Reservoir. While the state plans to move forward with the plan, Massachusetts residents have had mixed reactions.

French’s motivation is to repopulate the species, which is indigenous to Massachusetts. Mt. Zion would provide an abundant food supply as well as plenty of hibernation spots for Timber Rattlesnakes. But some are not pleased with an increase in the rattlesnake population: The timber is venomous, and some feel it will pose a threat to safety.

In a series of public documents released by MuckRock, a public records news site, some Massachusetts residents expressed anxiety and fear at the prospect of a “snake island.” Others, however, seem to be in favor of it.

Here are some of the more interesting emails sent to the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife.

This person’s prior experiences with Rattlesnakes are enough to keep them from supporting any sort of resurgence in the local rattlesnake population:

This concerned citizen believes that rattlesnakes could be a gateway to other fearsome reptiles. They even use a few metaphors to illustrate their point:

This person is very angry:

And this avid hunter believes that rattlesnakes will pose a threat to hunters:

Of course, not everyone is against the idea of snake island. In fact, about half of the released emails are in favor of the initiative. It appears as though this person is trying to articulate support for the colony, but they have a confusing way of doing so:

And then there’s this person, who already lives among rattlesnakes and seems to enjoy it:

You can read the full list of letters to the department, courtesy of MuckRock.

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