Founded Fears

The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (DFW) apparently has a plan for an uninhabited island in the center of the protected Quabbin reservoir. They’re going to fill it with venomous timber rattlesnakes (Latin name: Crotalus horridus). This rattlesnake is endangered, and you have to imagine pretty much everyone outside the DFW is really alright with that. Tom French of the DFW spoke to the press about the plan, and he did not exact allay fears.

“People are afraid that we’re going to put snakes in a place of public use and that they are going to breed like rabbits and spread over the countryside and kill everybody,” he said.

Well, yeah. That seems like a pretty reasonable thing to consider. But it’s alright, they’ll be stuck on that island. Woe unto the person who sets foot there, sure, but otherwise we’ll be fine, right?

The public’s concerns stem from the fact that rattlesnakes can swim and the island is connected to the mainland by a pair of narrow causeways, French said.

Wait, what? The snakes can swim, and the island isn’t actually an island? This sounds less like a nature preserve and much more like a breeding ground that spells doom for us all.

Honestly, I expect that this plan is in fact well-considered. This particular article does an incredibly poor job of demonstrating that, however, and Tom French could perhaps use some PR training.