Learning from habitat ‘haves’ to help save a threatened rattlesnake

by Emily Caldwell, Ohio State University
December 19, 2022

Comparing the genetics and relocation patterns of habitat “haves” and “have-nots” among two populations of threatened rattlesnakes has produced a new way to use scientific landscape data to guide conservation planning that would give the “have-nots” a better chance of surviving.

The study suggests that a collection of six relatively closely situated but isolated populations of Eastern massasauga rattlesnakes in northeast Ohio could grow their numbers if strategic alterations were made to stretches of land between their home ranges. The findings contributed to the successful application for federal funding of property purchases to make some of these proposed landscape changes happen.

Reconnecting these populations could not only help restore Eastern massasaugas to unthreatened status, but establish a thriving habitat for other prey and predator species facing threats to their survival – satisfying two big-picture conservation concerns, researchers say.

Keep reading: https://news.osu.edu/learning-from-habitat-haves-to-help-save-a-threatened-rattlesnake/

Read the Ecological Applications paper: https://esajournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/eap.2793