National

Protections sought for Eastern massasauga rattlesnake

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Federal regulators are proposing to designate the Eastern massasauga rattlesnake as a threatened species.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Tuesday the snake’s population is dwindling, primarily because of loss and fragmentation of its habitat, which includes wetlands such as swamps, bogs and marshes.

The eastern massasauga is also known as the spotted rattler or swamp rattler. Its historic range extends from western New York through sections of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Missouri and Iowa.

But it has disappeared from 40 percent of the counties it historically inhabited.

The snake is among 757 species that the government agreed to consider for protection under a 2011 agreement with the Center for Biological Diversity.

The public has 60 days to comment on the proposed listing.

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