Here’s a sad story about finding timber rattlesnakes (Crotalus horridus) in the Blue Hills near Boston, Massachusetts with a skin-eating fungus. The fungus (Chrysosporium ophiodiicola) is thought to be attacking the snakes while they are hibernating in cool, moist enclosures within rock piles. The fungus forms lesions on the snakes’ face. This population of timber rattlesnakes has already suffered declines due to habitat destruction that has caused the population to become isolated and inbred. Inbreeding lowers a species’ ability to fight off infections because it lowers their immune system response. Read article. To view a pdf copy with photographs please visit – Rattled in the Blue Hills
Timber rattlesnakes have suffered frightening population declines throughout their range. The leading cause is habitat destruction and being killed by humans out of misplaced fear. Now they may be threatened by yet another cause in the form of a skin-eating fungus. Most states have outlawed the killing of these snakes because their populations have fallen so low. So please if you ever come a cross a rattlesnake, or any snake, leave it be to live its life as it has every right to do. Don’t kill it! And if you ever find a rattlesnake den please keep its location a secret. As fellow reptile lovers we need to educate people that snakes are not some demonic being set on destroying everything but just another animal trying to eke out a living in this world just like us.