I thought it might be interesting to look at a few ultra rare species that would be interesting to look for. One species that has long been gone from Ontario is the Timber Rattlesnake, a species which was once found largely throughout southern Ontario from the Niagara Escarpment to Pelee Island as well as a few other scattered locations. Now by no means do I think that it is reasonable that the Timber Rattlesnake will be re-found in Ontario any time soon, the Environment Canada 2010 recovery strategy has effectively put that one to rest. At the end of the recovery strategy, they say that "The recovery of this species is considered not feasible because sufficient suitable habitat is not available." However, lets look at a little about this species, and where it might be found, just for fun.
|Timber Rattlesnake. Photo Credit JD Taylor|
|Historic Range of Timber Rattlesnake. Last sighting was from the Niagara Glen in the 1940s.|
Unfortunately, this species range is found within some of the most densely populated and heavily used agricultural areas in Ontario which has largely contributed to its demise, in addition to persecution.
According to the recovery strategy, this beautiful snake species used to be found in "forested areas with rock outcrops, dry ridges and second growth deciduous or coniferous forests with southern exposures (Brown 1993; Smith 2001). The most common overstory trees include red oak, eastern hemlock, sugar maple, white ash, white pine, American beech, birch, American basswood, and eastern red cedar (Brown
1993). Most of the hibernaculae were located along the Niagara Escarpment.
|Niagara Glen area showing only a small strip of natural habitat along the edge of the river.|
Nonetheless, I plan on doing some digging next time I take a hike into the Niagara Glen, at the very least to see the kinds of habitats that Timber Rattlers may have enjoyed back in the day. What is left of the Niagara Escarpment is still very beautiful.
|Gotta love those boulders!|
|I love the green colour to the water in the Glen, looks like something out of Lord of the Rings!|