“I thought she ran away from the zoo” – CBS Chicago
Milton, Massachusetts (CBS Boston) – Sarah Kleinman’s regular Sunday hike in the Blue Hills surely got her heart rate up. “I took a step and noticed that right below me – maybe one foot away – was the biggest snake I’ve ever seen,” she told WBZ-TV.
So the nurse midwife whipped up her cellphone and recorded the five-foot-high venomous wood snake slithering across the trail. It was half a mile from Chickatawbut Hill. “My first thought was that she must have escaped from the Franklin Park Zoo,” she says.
But when she shared her discovery with Mass Wildlife officials, she learned what not many people know. wood rattling Native to all six New England states – but so rare these days they are among the most endangered species in Massachusetts.
In fact, after a century and a half of decline, there are only a few pockets in the state where timber rattles have managed to survive. One of them is the 7,000-acre Blue Hills Preserve.
A pair of snakes are on display at the Blue Hills Trailside Museum – where they have been rehabilitated after sustaining injuries in the wild. But the breed’s endangered status makes it illegal to even disturb the woods — let alone hunt or kill them.
“A lot of people seem to be really interested in this,” says Kleinman, who was somewhat shocked by all the attention she got to see her. “Most of them are people who have just been terrified that I even had this meeting with a snake. So I had a lot of checking out the fear I felt at the moment.”
It is not widely known that two species of venomous snakes live here in Massachusetts – the other being copper. While a sting from Kleinmann’s poppy wasn’t fatal, she’s still glad she didn’t step on it.
As more and more people were asking about her adventure, she was taking an informal poll. “Zero percent of the population loves snakes,” she told WBZ.
Except for the experts at Mass Wildlife, who told her that she was among the lucky few in this area, who were able to see a full-grown assassin up close. “I didn’t feel very lucky at first,” she says. “But now that a few days have passed – and because it’s such a unique vision – I can embrace it a little more.”
Figuratively speaking – of course.