LIVINGSTON COUNTY – Following our coverage of a yellow timber rattlesnake sighting in Letchworth State Park on Monday, a GeneseeSun.com reader and member of a reptile handling and education group reached out to us to emphasize the importance of conservation of this strikingly beautiful native species.
‘The term “Rare” really bothers me. Animals are in no way rare. They are not diamonds, they are living organisms that once were in abundance. But due to the destruction of human beings, their populations have dropped. Timbers were mercilessly killed for bounty, which I am grateful you mentioned. You also did mention that habitat destruction has played a major role. But does this make them “rare?” This does […] make them a sad story of human destruction. The ecosystem is very important and everything plays a role. I look at it like a house if I chip away at its foundation eventually it will collapse.
‘This is indeed a very beautiful animal and I am very dedicated to educating the public about reptiles. I again appreciate the article being geared towards education rather than fear. But I just felt I should give my input on the article. Crotalus horridus are one of my favorite snakes. I hope that one day their population will bounce back but unfortunately we are in the midst of a mass amount of extinctions. Many animals are disappearing from this planet and I fear reptiles are the least of peoples concerns.
‘I am willing to bet that the majority of people don’t realize that we have three native venomous snakes here in New York State, Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus), Northern Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix mokasen) and the Eastern Massasaugua Rattlesnake (Sistrurus catenatus). The Timber is the most abundant one found here, unfortunately Copperheads are very low in population and the Massasauguas are never seen due to them being critically endangered. The Eastern Massasaugua is critically endangered due to habitat destruction. They are what we call an indicator species if they are critically endangered due to destruction of swamps what other animals have we affected. We can even look at a nonvenomous snake the Queen snake, once the NYS reptile but now endangered. Why? because of pollution and destruction of crayfish populations.
‘This is a sad state when animals are disappearing and no one really cares. The Eastern Puma was just declared extinct yet all I hear on the news is violence and crime. Why? because no one truly cares. Sorry about my rant but it saddens me. Thank you again for gearing your article towards education and the beauty of the species.”
Southern Tier Exotics is owned by Moyer and Ron Wood, with breeder Josh Kaack as a business partner. Southern Tier Exotics specializes in reptiles and is currently licensed by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for Education and Exhibition. They hope to become licensed through the United States Department of Agriculture in the future, so that they can use mammals in their programs.
They are occasionally able to offer some of the animals they breed for sale.
The group will be showing their reptiles at the Buffalo Niagara Reptile Expo in Amherst, NY on October 11.