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Science and the Environment

Proposal Would List Rattlesnake Found in Missouri as Threatened

Dick Dickinson
US Fish and Wildlife Service

A Missouri species is under consideration for listing under the Endangered Species Act.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed listing the eastern massasauga rattlesnake as threatened.

The species, which has been a candidate for listing since 1999, has been declining over the past decades due to loss of its wetland habitat and intentional killing by people who fear the snake, the FWS said in a news release.

According to the Missouri Department of Conservation’s website, the eastern massasauga rattlesnake is mainly found in bottomland or wet prairies.  Here in Missouri they require wetlands associated with river floodplains in the northern part of the state.  It’s recently been recorded in only Chariton, Lynn and Hold Counties.

Restoring wetlands along rivers, improving existing wetlands and protecting the snake from being killed are keys to its survival, MDC said.