Conservation & Research Programs

Research Programs

The Rattlesnake Conservancy is committed to conservation and research programs that provide on-the-ground benefit to species, are measurable, and will provide needed information about those species. To better focus our conservation efforts, we formed a series of Conservation Working Groups, comprised of species experts, to better advise our organization on current, future, and needed conservation and research programs for rattlesnakes.

Our Scientific Advisory Board and working groups are analyzing the 88 known species (+/-, pending taxonomic revisions) of rattlesnakes to determine their current conservation status, identifying data gaps, prioritizing research needs, and ascertaining what species have the greatest need for conservation action.

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Species of Research Focus

Every year, our team expands the species of rattlesnakes our programs will focus on and where we can make meaningful conservation impacts. We are committed to adaptive management of rattlesnakes and their habitat, changing our approach and species focus based on the best available science. As new information emerges, we will update our conservation programs and commit resources to where we can make the greatest impacts for rattlesnakes in North and South America.

Click on the pictures to see what species our programs are currently focused on! 

Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake (Crotalus adamanteus)
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Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake (Crotalus adamanteus)

Timber/canebrake Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus)

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Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake (Crotalus adamanteus)

Timber/canebrake Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus)

South American Rattlesnake (Crotalus durissus cascavella)
Arizona Ridge-nosed Rattlesnake (Crotalus willardi willardi)
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Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake (Crotalus adamanteus)

Timber/canebrake Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus)

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Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake (Crotalus adamanteus)

Timber/canebrake Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus)

Arizona Ridge-nosed Rattlesnake (Crotalus willardi willardi)
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Research Projects

In addition to providing much needed grant funding for research of rattlesnakes internationally, our team carries out research programs right here in the U.S.! Our research programs are focused on helping us better understand the ecology of rattlesnakes, conservation program effectiveness, population monitoring of at-risk populations of rattlesnakes, and disease monitoring.

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Pitviper Virus Monitoring Project

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. 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 info@savethebuzztails.org

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Eastern Diamondback Translocation Project

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.

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Montane Rattlesnake Population Monitoring Project

Beginning in 2022, in cooperation with partners from the Montane Rattlesnake Working Group, our team plans to begin a comprehensive range wide monitoring project for montane (mountain) rattlesnakes of southeastern Arizona.  Our team will conduct bi-annual presence/absence surveys of these species throughout their range.

The purpose of the study is to determine the current range distribution of several at-risk species of rattlesnakes, monitor impacts to those species from factors such as climate change and livestock grazing, and better inform land managers and regulators about the status of these unique species of rattlesnakes.

Collaboration and Curation

The Rattlesnake Conservancy believes that partnership and collaboration in conservation is the most important factor in ensuring success. To that end, we are partnering with researchers from universities across the U.S.A. and other countries through our working groups, research projects, and grant funding mechanisms.

Likewise, we recognize that data availability is extremely important to creating robust scientific studies that will benefit rattlesnakes. Often, samples and research data from long forgotten studies can be difficult to find. Samples may be sitting in the freezer of a researcher, longing to be studied by a budding graduate student, or raw research data may be sitting on the hard drive of a professor who never had time to crunch the numbers. To help ensure availability of this information, we have begun a catalogue of rattlesnake research data and samples. If you are a researcher and are trying to track down data for a species of interest, please contact us to request information.

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Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake (Crotalus adamanteus)

Timber/canebrake Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus)

South American Rattlesnake (Crotalus durissus cascavella)
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