Radio- equipped rattlesnakes help biologists learn

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(KSL) One of the enduring symbols of the West is the rattlesnake, and a lot of people just don’t like them.

But experts on the Utah-Nevada border who’ve been tracking rattlers by radio say people ought to give the snakes a little slack. They’re not as dangerous as most people think, and they seldom travel far from their dens in search of prey.

“The snakes are completely non-aggressive,” said National Park Service biologist Bryan Hamilton. “About the only way they bite is if you try to catch them or you try to kill them, or if you accidentally stepped or sat on one.”

The radio-equipped rattlesnakes are part of a research partnership between BYU and the National Park Service. For five years, researchers have been following the snakes’ movements as they slither around at Nevada’s Great Basin National Park, just 10 miles from the Utah border. The radios make it easy for researchers to track the snakes down so they can catch them and collect data.

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