The Effects Of Short Distance
Translocation On Rattlesnakes

This study looks at rattlesnake management utilizing translocation of nuisance rattlesnakes to areas where they are considered less harmful to humans. The effects of translocation can be looked at from two possibilities - one, translocating the wildlife to a location far from where they were found, or two, moving the wild animal to an area just a short distance from their original location. This study as published in the Journal Of Wildlife Management focuses on the effects of short distance relocation on nuisance Western Rattlesnakes in British Colombia, including the probability that the rattlesnakes may try to return to their original habitat.
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The significance of this study comes from the fact that it focused on the effects of short distance translocation on rattlesnakes, as opposed to the effects brought about by a long distance move.

This is significant for two reasons. First, keeping a snake within an environment and habitat that it has become accustomed to may help cut down on the negative effects previously shown to affect snakes in long distance translocation studies - increased mortality rates, atypical behavior and altered movement patterns. And second, because if snakes are transported only a short distance for release, this will help keep them within their "resident" population, thereby cutting down on the transfer of disease to new populations that may never have otherwise encountered the disease. Translocation methods can have an adverse effect on the eco-system at both locations, particularly the environment where the animals are released. The concern regarding short distance translocation would be the snake going back to the area in which it was captured.

For this study, snakes were captured and given surgically implanted radio transmitters. The majority of snakes eventually returned to the area from which they were captured indicating that short distance translocation was only a temporary solution. Although only a temporary solutions, the study suggested that short distance translocation may be a solution for reducing the risk of human snake encounters during seasonal, or short, specific periods of time when there is an increased human presence within the snake's environment, i.e., during harvest in agricultural settings or during camping season in recreational areas.

Please read the full study for a more detailed account of the study's methods, findings and conclusions.

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