August 11, 2008

Wis. Trying to Restore Rattlesnakes

Conservationists in Wisconsin said they're trying to restore the state's Massasauga rattlesnake population.

Massasauga and timber rattlesnakes were once found in every county in the state. The population was decimated, however, by decades of hunters seeking a $5 bounty, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel said Monday.

Wisconsin ended the bounties in 1975, the same year the Massasauga was placed on the state's endangered and threatened species list.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources said it wants to restore the species because it is native to the state and because rattlesnake venom could have some human medical benefits. The newspaper said rattlesnake venom has been shown to help prevent blood clots.