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The Rattlesnake Conservancy both funds and carries out internal or collaborative research projects. Our research programs are aimed at ensuring continued support for underfunded projects concerning venomous reptiles and providing real on-the-ground conservation benefit. All of our research programs have management or conservation implications and we take input from professionals in different areas to learn what issues are threatening, or benefiting, rattlesnakes.
Over the next year, our team will be setting up various working groups throughout the country to learn more about what species need our focus the most and those that we need to learn more information about. If you are interested in participating in a working group for your area or have a research project in mind, please email us at Director@savethebuzztails.org. We will also be posting information about research grants in 2019.
After discovering odd symptoms of muscle wasting, weight loss, regurgitation, and lethargy in several wild snake species, our team decided to investigate. Since then, we have identified the culprit in some populations to be a virus called atadenovirus, or more commonly known as adenovirus. This virus is more widely known from bearded dragons, but our team have detected this virus in several wild snake species. To date, we have seen the virus in cottonmouths, eastern diamondback rattlesnakes, and canebrake rattlesnakes in Florida.
Our team is continuing to monitor this virus and other pathogens in wild snakes. If you are interested in participating and would like a copy of our protocol, please email
translocation impacts on Eastern Diamondback rattlesnakes
Translocation, also known as relocation, is a common management tool used to move "nuisance" snakes from areas of conflict with humans. Commonly, snakes are moved by local volunteers, animal control, police departments, and fish and game departments. However, very few studies currently exist that examine how distance from capture site, age, site fidelity, and other factors may impact survival of rattlesnakes after translocation.
Over the next several years, our team will follow a cohort of eastern diamondback rattlesnakes (Crotalus adamanteus) that we will be collecting from an urban spoil island in Jacksonville, FL, and translocating them to Camp Blanding Joint Training Center in Starke, FL. This will be accomplished through a collaborative partnership with several military installations, veterinarians, volunteers, and interns that will implant radiotrackers into snakes and follow them several times a week. The information gained from the study will help us better understand how rattlesnakes behave after translocation and if it is a tool that can be used in the future.
Rattlesnake fecal hormone monitoring
In 2016, one of our research associates, Kim Daly-Crews, presented a poster at the International Society for Wildlife Endocrinology Conference. Her presentation was on Fecal Testosterone Monitoring in Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnakes (Crotalus horridus). This project was done collaboratively with the South-east Zoo Alliance for Reproduction and Conservation.
Over the course of a year, testosterone was extracted from feces passed by captive eastern diamondback rattlesnakes at The Rattlesnake Conservancy's facility. This information was used to better inform our breeding and captive husbandry programs.