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Rattlesnakes

Toledo Zoo Conservation Efforts

The Aruba Island rattlesnake is critically endangered and the Toledo Zoo has been the leader in the efforts to save it. We continue to make significant contributions to assure its persistence on Aruba. The new threat of the introduced boa needs to be monitored, particularly its numbers and diet, with continued efforts developed to mitigate its impact. The long-term effects of the boa on the rattlesnake are still unknown and need to be monitored by continuing the CI project. There are voids in skills on Aruba and the Toledo Zoo is instrumental in capacity building and conducting supportive research to help the Arubans make more informed management decisions.

 

Other issues the rattlesnake is facing are over-development of beaches and natural areas causing significant habitat loss to the rattlesnakes home range, pollution and climate change.

Aruba Island Rattle Snake

The Aruba Island rattlesnake (Crotalus unicolor) is a small endemic species closely related to the neotropical rattlesnake, Crotalus durissus, but distinctive in smaller size, minimal pattern, and coloration from mainland forms. It is considered one of the rarest snakes in the world and is listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List. The rattlesnake is a distinct isolated breeding population with distinguishable morphological characteristics, ecological niche, and on a unique evolutionary trajectory. Initiated in 1982, The Aruba Island Rattlesnake Species Survival Plan (SSP) is the longest functioning snake conservation effort of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). For the last 24 years, The Toledo Zoo has been coordinating and managing the conservation of this species, with particular emphasis on in situ conservation in Aruba

Around the year 2000, the boa constrictor was discovered on Aruba and was considered a new potential threat to the Aruba Island rattlesnake and Aruba’s wildlife in general. Several programs are ongoing to better understand the impact of the boa on Aruba. Boa numbers are being monitored throughout the island and at specific study sites. A diet study of the boa and a study monitoring the health of the rattlesnake population on Aruba by examining a condition indices (CI) of individual animals are underway.

The climate of Aruba is arid and dry thanks to the eastern trade winds.  Aruba is a desert and is a perfect place for rattlesnakes

The Aruba Island Rattlesnake survives off of small mammals and whiptail lizards.  These snakes bask on top of sharp limestone rocks created by tropical coral.