Program ID: Innovation Anthology #33
Program Date: 05/22/2007
Program Category: Environment, Natural Sciences, Wildlife
Inner City Rattlesnakes in Lethbridge
When you’re traveling around Lethbridge, don’t be surprised if you see a rattlesnake crossing the road.
This city on the southern plains of Alberta has a resident population of rattlesnakes. Their hibernucula are dotted throughout the city and its surrounding grasslands.
University of Lethbridge researcher Wonnita Andrus has been following their movements through the use of implanted chips and radio transmitters.
Rattlesnakes are considered a species at risk in Alberta and destroying their dens is illegal. But urban development and snakes don’t mix.
Wonnita Andrus: That’s mainly the concern with the snakes being an inner-city population. Often because not every hibernaculum is known, developments could occur right over a hibernaculum or destroy a hibernaculum and the developer would never know what they had done. In addition to that, the different buildings and the roads that we construct increase the mortality rate of the snakes because they’ll be crossing those roads, they’ll be going through residential areas and meeting up with pets and things like that that can hurt them. So it’s definitely a concern that has to be addressed.
Biologist Wonnita Andrus has tracked dozens of rattlesnakes. And her research is contributing to a rattlesnake protection program for the Lethbridge region.
Thanks today to The University of Lethbridge. FOR INNOVATION ANTHOLOGY, I’M CHERYL CROUCHER