Species Profile

Western Rattlesnake

Scientific Name: Crotalus oreganus
Taxonomy Group: Reptiles
COSEWIC Range: British Columbia
COSEWIC Assessment Date and Status Change: May 2015
COSEWIC Status: Threatened
COSEWIC Status Criteria: A3cd+4cd
COSEWIC Reason for Designation:

The Canadian distribution of this snake is confined to arid valleys of south-central British Columbia, where its population is suspected to continue declining due to road mortality and persecution. Habitat loss from urbanization and agriculture constitute additional threats. Threats to the species are exacerbated because the snakes congregate at overwintering dens, the persistence of which is critical for the survival of local populations. Life history characteristics that include late maturity, small litters, and infrequent breeding by females hinder recovery after disturbances.
COSEWIC History of Status Designation: Designated Threatened in May 2004. Status re-examined and confirmed in May 2015.
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Threatened
Date of Listing (yyyy-mm-dd): 2005-07-14

Please note that this information is provided for general information purposes only. For the most up to date and accurate list of species listed under the Species at Risk Act, please see the Justice Laws Website.

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Quick Links: | Taxonomy | Photo | Description | Distribution and Population | Habitat | Biology | Threats | Protection | Recovery Initiatives | National Recovery Program | Documents

Image of Western Rattlesnake

Western Rattlesnake Photo 1

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Taxonomy

There are two rattlesnake species in Western Canada: one east of the Rockies and the other west of the Rockies. Not so long ago, these snakes were still considered subspecies of a single species, Crotalus viridis. Certain researchers concluded recently that they should each be given species status, while others also consider the subspecies of these two species as separate species. Consequently, until a clear classification can be established, the species in the eastern and western groups are known as the Prairie Rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis) and the Western Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus) respectively.   Currently, six rattlesnake subspecies live west of the Rockies. As oreganus is the only subspecies found in Canada, the name “Western Rattlesnake” is used throughout this document without specifying the subspecies.

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Description

The Western Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus) is the only truly venomous snake species native to British Columbia. The Northern Pacific Rattlesnake (C. o. oreganus) is the only subspecies of Western Rattlesnake present in Canada. Adults can reach 1.3 m in total length and are yellow, grey or greenish tan with brown to olive green blotches. Juveniles are brown and have more contrasting colour patterns. The Western Rattlesnake has a triangular head that is noticeably wider than its stout body, and a number of loosely interlocking horny segments at the end of its tail that the snake can vibrate to produce a warning buzz. (Updated 2017/05/25)

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Distribution and Population

The Western Rattlesnake ranges from south-central British Columbia south to Baja California and east to Idaho, eastern Utah, and Arizona. In British Columbia, the Northern Pacific subspecies occurs in five areas in the province’s interior and has been recorded east along the Canada/USA border to Christina Lake, west to Lillooet, and north to Kamloops and Cache Creek. (Updated 2017/05/25)

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Habitat

The Western Rattlesnake uses a home range that typically includes one or more winter dens, a transient area, and a summer range. The snakes overwinter in dens on steep slopes in rock outcrops, along talus slopes, or in earth-covered outcrops. Their habit of congregating at communal dens makes them particularly vulnerable to disturbances. Summer habitats include grassland areas with suitable basking and retreat sites and prey, and riparian areas that are used to escape summer heat. Western Rattlesnakes spend much of their time under or near cover such as rocks and fallen trees, and also readily use boards, concrete structures, and other anthropogenic objects or features. (Updated 2017/05/25)

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Biology

Western Rattlesnakes emerge from their dens in March and April, and males and non-gravid females disperse to feed and mate. After mating in late summer or early fall, the snakes return to the den vicinity and enter hibernation in mid-October or early November. Most individuals remain within 1200 m of their dens throughout the active season. Gravid females do not forage or migrate but remain near the den to give birth in mid-September or early October. Western Rattlesnakes feed on a variety of small mammals. Their main predators are mammalian carnivores and large raptors. Female Western Rattlesnakes mature at 7 – 9 years of age and thereafter give birth to small litters of 2 – 8 live young every 3 – 4 years. The generation time is approximately 15 years. This suite of life history characteristics that includes a low reproductive potential, long lifespan, and reliance on high adult survivorship increases the vulnerability of populations to excess mortality on roads and from human activities. (Updated 2017/05/25)

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Threats

The main threats to the species are road mortality, persecution by people, and habitat loss and fragmentation from urban and agricultural developments. If dens are destroyed, entire subpopulations can collapse. Information on snake population size and structure at dens and the viability of the dens themselves is limited. Lack of knowledge and fear of rattlesnakes have resulted in persecution and killing of snakes. (Updated 2017/05/25)

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Protection

Federal Protection

The Western Rattlesnake is protected under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). More information about SARA, including how it protects individual species, is available in the Species at Risk Act: A Guide.

Provincial and Territorial Protection

To know if this species is protected by provincial or territorial laws, consult the provinces' and territories' websites.

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Recovery Initiatives

Status of Recovery Planning

Recovery Strategies :

Name Recovery Strategy for the Western Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus), the Great Basin Gophersnake (Pituophis catenifer deserticola) and the Desert Nightsnake (Hypsiglena chlorophaea) in Canada
Status Final posting on SAR registry

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Documents

PLEASE NOTE: Not all COSEWIC reports are currently available on the SARA Public Registry. Most of the reports not yet available are status reports for species assessed by COSEWIC prior to May 2002. Other COSEWIC reports not yet available may include those species assessed as Extinct, Data Deficient or Not at Risk. In the meantime, they are available on request from the COSEWIC Secretariat.

27 record(s) found.

COSEWIC Status Reports

  • COSEWIC assessment and status report on the western rattlesnake Crotalus oreganus in Canada (2015-11-20)

    The Western Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus) is the most venomous snake found in British Columbia. The species has a triangular head that is noticeably wider than the stout body. Adults range from 850 to 1000 mm snout-vent-length (SVL), and are yellow or greenish tan with tan to olive green blotches. Juveniles have more contrasting patterns and are browner in colour.

Response Statements

  • Response Statement - Western Rattlesnake (2004-10-22)

    This species is threatened by rapid expansion of human activities including urbanization, agriculture, forestry and range management in south-central dry valleys of British Columbia. This snake is particularly vulnerable to roads both from direct mortality and from habitat fragmentation. Rattlesnakes are subject to direct persecution and to destruction of critical habitat (hibernacula). The adult rattlesnake population is small, likely fewer than 5,000, and dispersed among only four valleys, probably with little interchange of snakes between valleys. Threats to the species are increased in effect because this snake has late maturity (~8 years), small litters and only breeds about once every 3-4 years.
  • Response Statement - Western Rattlesnake (2015-12-23)

    The Canadian distribution of this snake is confined to arid valleys of south-central British Columbia, where its population is suspected to continue declining due to road mortality and persecution. Habitat loss from urbanization and agriculture constitute additional threats. Threats to the species are exacerbated because the snakes congregate at overwintering dens, the persistence of which is critical for the survival of local populations. Life history characteristics that include late maturity, small litters, and infrequent breeding by females hinder recovery after disturbances.

Recovery Strategies

  • Recovery Strategy for the Western Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus), the Great Basin Gophersnake (Pituophis catenifer deserticola) and the Desert Nightsnake (Hypsiglena chlorophaea) in Canada (2019-09-05)

    The Minister of Environment and Climate Change is the competent minister under SARA for the Western Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus), the Great Basin Gophersnake (Pituophis catenifer deserticola) and the Desert Nightsnake (Hypsiglena chlorophaea) and has prepared the federal component of this recovery strategy (Part 1), as per section 37 of SARA. To the extent possible, it has been prepared in cooperation with the Province of British Columbia as per section 39(1) of SARA. SARA section 44 allows the Minister to adopt all or part of an existing plan for the species if it meets the requirements under SARA for content (sub-sections 41(1) or (2)). The Province of British Columbia provided the attached recovery plans for the Snakes of the British Columbia Southern Interior - Western Rattlesnake, Great Basin Gophersnake and Desert Nightsnake (Part 2) as science advice to the jurisdictions responsible for managing the species in British Columbia. It was prepared in cooperation with Environment and Climate Change Canada.

Orders

  • Order Acknowledging Receipt of the Assessments Done Pursuant to Subsection 23(1) of the Act (2004-10-19)

    The Order acknowledges receipt by the Governor in Council of the assessments of the status of wildlife species done pursuant to subsection 23(1) of the Species at Risk Act (SARA) by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). The purpose of SARA is to prevent wildlife species from being extirpated or becoming extinct, to provide for the recovery of wildlife species that are extirpated, endangered or threatened as a result of human activity and to manage species of special concern to prevent them from becoming endangered or threatened.
  • Order Amending Schedules 1 to 3 to the Species at Risk Act (volume 139, number 15, 2005) (2005-07-27)

    The Minister of the Environment is recommending, pursuant to section 27 of the Species at Risk Act (SARA), that 43 species be added to Schedule 1, the List of Wildlife Species at Risk. This recommendation is based on scientific assessments by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) and on consultations with governments, Aboriginal peoples, wildlife management boards, stakeholders and the Canadian public.

COSEWIC Annual Reports

  • COSEWIC Annual Report - 2004 (2004-09-16)

    2004 Annual Report to the Canadian Endangered Species Conservation Council (CESCC) from the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.
  • COSEWIC Annual Report - 2014-2015 (2015-11-20)

    Under Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA), the foremost function of COSEWIC is to "assess the status of each wildlife species considered by COSEWIC to be at risk and, as part of the assessment, identify existing and potential threats to the species". COSEWIC held two Wildlife Species Assessment Meetings in this reporting year (October, 2014 to September, 2015) from November 23 to November 28, 2014 and from April 27 to May 1, 2015. During the current reporting period, COSEWIC assessed the status or reviewed the classification of 56 wildlife species. The wildlife species assessment results for the 2014-2015 reporting period include the following: Extinct: 0 Extirpated: 1 Endangered: 21 Threatened: 11 Special Concern: 21 Data Deficient: 1 Not at Risk: 1 Total: 56 Of the 56 wildlife species examined, COSEWIC reviewed the classification of 40 that had been previously assessed. The review of classification for 24 of those wildlife species resulted in a confirmation of the same risk status as the previous assessment.

Permits and Related Agreements

  • Explanation for issuing permit(#23), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2006-06-01)

    In order to determine local population size, habitat use, and hibernacula locations, the proponents will engage in mark/recapture and radio-telemetry study of Western Rattlesnakes and Great Basin Gophersnakes. The main components of this project are: 1) mark/recapture of up to 75 snakes, and 2) radio-tagging of 6-8 of these snakes. All snakes captured will be sexed, measured, weighed, and PIT (passive integrated transponder) tagged for identification. Snakes selected for radio-tagging will be transported off-site for surgical insertion of radio-transmitters by a trained veterinarian. Radio-tagged snakes will then be released at the point of capture, after a period of recovery.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#38), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2007-04-15)

    20 Adult Male Western Rattlesnakes will be surgically implanted with radio-transmitters following approved animal care protocol from the University of Guelph Animal Care Committee and the British Columbia Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection, and located 3-4 times per week (Between May-Oct 2007). -approximately 170 Western Rattlesnakes (male and female of all ages) will be part of a mark and recapture program. Individuals will have measurements taken following approved animal care protocol and immediately released back into the wild (Between May - Oct 2007). 1. Determine the effects of exclusion fencing on the Western Rattlesnake 2. Evaluate the effectiveness of exclusion fencing as a management strategy for the Western Rattlesnake throughout its range in British Columbia 3. Quantify the typical movement patterns and habitat preferences of the Western Rattlesnake 4. Collect demographic data on the Western Rattlesnake in the southern Okanagan valley to determine population size, structure and distribution and identify/mitigate threats to survival 5. Conduct a workshop to educate local parks, private campgrounds and vineyards on rattlesnake management, conservation and ecology in the Okanagan valley
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#59-05-0308), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2005-03-21)

    Following intensive auditory surveys conducted during the spring, the proponents will conduct larval net surveys in all suitable ponds throughout the project area. Captured individuals will be temporarily placed into holding containers, and then returned to the pond once sampling is complete. The results of larval surveys will be compared among years and sites to characterize and monitor trends in populations of Great Basin Spadefoots in the project area. With respect to snake surveys, the proponents will visit known hibernacula locations and conduct search-unit surveys for snakes as they leave the hibernacula. In accordance with the Resources Inventory Standards Committee protocols, they will briefly handle snakes to sex and measure individuals.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#59-05-0309), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2005-03-21)

    Following intensive auditory surveys conducted during the spring, the proponents will conduct larval net surveys in all suitable ponds throughout the project area. Captured individuals will be temporarily placed into holding containers, and then returned to the pond once sampling is complete. The results of larval surveys will be compared among years and sites to characterize and monitor trends in populations of Great Basin Spadefoots in the project area. With respect to snake surveys, the proponents will visit known hibernacula locations and conduct search-unit surveys for snakes as they leave the hibernacula. In accordance with the Resources Information Standards Committee protocols, they will briefly handle snakes to sex and measure individuals.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#59-05-0353), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2005-07-22)

    It is important to quantify habitat used by rattlesnakes (e.g., find hibernation sites, critical habitat, etc.) and measure the effects of human disturbance in the face of expanding development. In snakes, surgical implantation of radiotransmitters is currently the only method suitable to effectively gather this information. The objectives of the project are as follows: 1. Determine the effects of short-distance translocation on the Western Rattlesnake 2. Evaluate the effectiveness of short-distance translocation as a management strategy for the Western Rattlesnake throughout its range in British Columbia 3. Quantify the typical movement patterns and habitat preferences of the Western Rattlesnake 4. Collect demographic data on the Western Rattlesnake in the southern Okanagan valley to determine population size, structure and distribution and identify/mitigate threats to survival A mark and recapture study, as well as a radio-telemetry study, are required to meet these objectives. Following active searching, snakes are captured using snake bags and snake hooks. Any new animals encountered are brought to a laboratory off-site where the animal is weighed, blood samples and morphological measurements are taken, and PIT (Passive Integrated Transponder) tags are inserted sub-cutaneously. Radio-tagged animals are re-captured and weighed in the field once per moth.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#8), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2006-04-03)

    It is important to quantify habitat used by rattlesnakes (e.g., find hibernation sites, critical habitat, etc.) and measure the effects of human disturbance in the face of expanding development. In snakes, surgical implantation of radiotransmitters is currently the only method suitable to effectively gather this information. The objectives of the project are as follows: 1. Determine the effects of short-distance translocation on the Western Rattlesnake 2. Evaluate the effectiveness of short-distance translocation as a management strategy for the Western Rattlesnake throughout its range in British Columbia 3. Quantify the typical movement patterns and habitat preferences of the Western Rattlesnake 4. Collect demographic data on the Western Rattlesnake in the southern Okanagan valley to determine population size, structure and distribution and identify/mitigate threats to survival A mark and recapture study, as well as a radio-telemetry study, are required to meet these objectives. Following active searching, snakes are captured using snake bags and snake hooks. Any new animals encountered are brought to a laboratory off-site where the animal is weighed, blood samples and morphological measurements are taken, and PIT (Passive Integrated Transponder) tags are inserted sub-cutaneously. Radio-tagged animals are re-captured and weighed in the field once per moth.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#SARA-PYR-2007-0060), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2007-06-12)

    Description: In order to determine local population size, habitat use, and hibernacula locations, the proponents will engage in mark/recapture and radio-telemetry study of Western Rattlesnakes and Great Basin Gophersnakes. The main components of this project are: 1) mark/recapture of up to 100 snakes, and 2) radio-tagging of up to 20 of these snakes. All snakes captured will be sexed, measured, weighed, and PIT (passive integrated transponder) tagged for identification. Snakes selected for radio-tagging will be transported off-site for surgical insertion of radio-transmitters by a trained veterinarian. Radio-tagged snakes will then be released at the point of capture, after a period of recovery.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#SARA-PYR-2008-0071), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2008-03-01)

    15 Adult Male Western Rattlesnakes (Crotalus oreganus) and 25 Great Basin Gophersnakes (Pituophis catenifer deserticola) will be surgically implanted with radio-transmitters following approved animal care protocol from the University of Guelph Animal Care Committee and the British Columbia Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection, and located 3-4 times per week (Between March-Oct 2008 and 2009). Approximately 100 of each of these 4 species, Western Rattlesnakes , Great Basin Gophersnakes, Nightsnakes (Hypsiglena torquata) and Western Skink (Eumeces skiltonianus )(male and female of all ages) will be part of a mark and recapture program. Individuals will have measurements taken following approved animal care protocol and immediately released back into the wild (Between March - Oct 2008 and 2009). This research will (a) identify densities and travel corridors of Western rattlesnakes (threatened) years 1-2 and Great Basin Gophersnakes (threatened) years 1-2. (b) Identify ovipositian sites of Great Basin Gophersnakes (year 2) (c) Determine a population estimate for Nightsnakes (endangered) and Western skink (special concern skinks are a primary diet item of the Nightsnakes and these species co-occur on talus slopes) year 2.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#SARA-PYR-2008-0077), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2008-04-09)

    Genetic analysis will be conducted on two reptiles Western rattlesnake, (Crotalus oreganos); Great Basin gophersnake, (Pituophis catenifer deserticola) and two amphibian species namely Great Basin spadefoot, (Spea intermontana) and Tiger salamander (Ambystoma tigrinium). Blood samples of western rattlesnakes and Great Basin gophersnakes will be collected. Capturing of rattlesnakes and gophersnakes will be done with a snake hook and the snakes will be put into a snake bag. The snake is held in a restraining tube during blood collection. Blood will be collected from the caudal vein. Less than 2ml will be collected. The area is sterilized and then blood is drawn using a vacutainer syringe. The blood is stored in a blood preservative. Surveys will be conducted for egg masses of Great Basin spadefoot and only eggs will be collected. Spadefoot eggs will be collected by hand using disposable gloves. Spadefoot eggs will be euthanized with Ms 222 and preserved in a buffer solution for genetic suitable for genetic analysis. Collection of road kill - Great Basin Spadefoots killed on roads will be the preferred source of genetic material. In the case of Tiger Salamander it will be the only source.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#SARA-PYR-2008-0083), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2008-05-12)

    The immediate goal of this project is to acquire a natural resource inventory within the DND ASU Chilliwack. The proponent has demonstrated that compared to lethal and more invasive capture and marking techniques, their methods are either non-invasive or identified as the least-invasive alternative.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#SARA-PYR-2009-0104), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2009-04-01)

    Genetic analysis will be conducted on three reptiles: Western rattlesnake, (Crotalus oreganos); Great Basin Gophersnake, (Pituophis catenifer deserticola); Painted turtle, (Chrysemys picta belli)i; and two amphibian species: Great Basin spadefoot, (Spea intermontana) and Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma tigrinium). Capture and blood sampling techniques to be used to collect genetic material from rattlesnakes and gophersnakes snakes (20 samples each; 5 populations) are standard techniques that apparently pose little risk to the animals. From relatively robust populations, 15 Great Basin Spadefoot eggs (5 populations) from egg masses containing >15 eggs will be collected. 20 recently-hatched (15 eggs from robust populations will be collected. Collection of Painted Turtles killed on roads, egg fragments, and a depredated egg is the least invasive method to collect genetic material from this species.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#SARA-PYR-2009-0115), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2009-08-17)

    The proponents will conduct ground surveys of species at risk including, amphibian visual encounter surveys, Oregon forestsnail ground searches, Badger burrow searches, Pacific water shrew habitat ratings, Spotted bat roost searches, snake foraging surveys, Monarch surveys (visual searches for larvae and adults), Great basin spadefoot egg mass surveys and Snake den surveys. No traps will be set and animals will only be handled where it is necessary for species identification and photo documentation. All animals will then be immediately released in the habitat where captured. No animals will be marked.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#SARA-PYR-2009-0125), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2009-12-09)

    Okanagan Transmission Reinforcement (OTR) project activities proposed for the Vaseux-Bighorn National Wildlife Area include removing existing poles and 161V power lines, installing new poles and 260V power lines, removing hazard trees and establishing access roads. Through previous field surveys it has been established that there are SARA listed species present in the area. It is proposed that all SARA species be monitored during the construction season and any that are deemed to be threatened by machinery or work activities be live captured, transported and released on adjacent property by qualified biologists.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#SARA-PYR-2010-0127), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2010-03-01)

    15 Adult Male Western Rattlesnakes (Crotalus oreganus) and 15 Great Basin Gophersnakes (Pituophis catenifer deserticola) will be surgically implanted with radio-transmitters following approved animal care protocol from the University of Guelph Animal Care Committee and the British Columbia Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection, and located 3-4 times per week (Between March-Oct 2010 and 2011). Approximately 100 of each of these 4 species, Western Rattlesnakes , Great Basin Gophersnakes, Nightsnakes (Hypsiglena torquata) and Western Skink (Eumeces skiltonianus )(male and female of all ages) will be part of a mark and recapture program. Individuals will have measurements taken following approved animal care protocol and immediately released back into the wild (Between March - Oct 2010 and 2011). This research will (a) identify densities and travel corridors of Western rattlesnakes (threatened) years 1-2 and Great Basin Gophersnakes (threatened) years 1-2. (b) Identify ovipositian sites of Great Basin Gophersnakes (year 2) (c) Determine a population estimate for Nightsnakes (endangered) and Western skink (special concern skinks are a primary diet item of the Nightsnakes and these species co-occur on talus slopes) year 2.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#SARA-PYR-2010-0129), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2010-03-12)

    The activity is clearing and construction associated with the Senkulmen Enterprise Park. This will include vegetation removal and construction of infrastructure (including a waste water treatment plant, a water tower and wells), roads, and buildings associated with the development.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#SARA-PYR-2010-0147), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2010-06-08)

    15 adult male Western Rattlesnakes (Crotalus oreganus) and 15 Great Basin Gophersnakes (Pituophis catenifer deserticola) will be surgically implanted with radio-transmitters following approved animal care protocol from the University of Guelph Animal Care Committee and the British Columbia Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection, and located 3-4 times per week (Between March-October 2010 and 2011). Approximately 100 of each of these 4 species, Western Rattlesnakes , Great Basin Gophersnakes, Nightsnakes (Hypsiglena torquata) and Western Skink (Eumeces skiltonianus )(male and female of all ages) will be part of a mark and recapture program. Individuals will have measurements taken following approved animal care protocol and immediately released back into the wild (between March - October 2010 and 2011). This research will (a) identify densities and travel corridors of Western rattlesnakes (threatened) years 1-2 and Great Basin Gophersnakes (threatened) years 1-2. (b) Identify ovipositian sites of Great Basin Gophersnakes (year 2) (c) Determine a population estimate for Nightsnakes (endangered) and Western skink (special concern skinks are a primary diet item of the Nightsnakes and these species co-occur on talus slopes) year 2.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#SARA-PYR-2011-0167), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2011-04-26)

    The objective of the project is to conduct scientific research on the Western Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus), Great Basin Gophersnake (Pituophis catenifer deserticola), Desert Nightsnake (Hypsiglena chlorophaea), and Western Skink (Plestiodon skiltonianus), in order to inform the conservation of the species. 34 adult male Western Rattlesnakes and 34 Great Basin Gophersnakes will be surgically implanted with radio-transmitters following an approved animal care protocol from the University of Guelph Animal Care Committee and the British Columbia Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection, and re-located 3-4 times per week (between April 26, 2011 and October 31, 2013). Up to 100 individuals per year of each of these 4 species, Western Rattlesnakes, Great Basin Gophersnakes, Desert Nightsnake and Western Skink (male and female of all ages) will be part of a mark and recapture program. Individuals will have measurements taken following approved animal care protocol and immediately released back into the wild (between April 26, 2011 and October 31, 2013). This research will (a) identify densities and travel corridors of Western Rattlesnakes (threatened) years 1-2 and Great Basin Gophersnakes (threatened) years 1-2, (b) Identify ovipositian sites of Great Basin Gophersnakes (year 2), and (c) determine population estimates for Desert Nightsnake (endangered) and Western Skinks (special concern) year 2 (skinks are a primary diet item of the Desert Nightsnakes and these species co-occur on talus slopes).

Consultation Documents

  • Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: November 2004 (2004-11-23)

    The Government of Canada proclaimed the Species at Risk Act (SARA) on June 5, 2003 as part of its strategy for the protection of wildlife species at risk. Attached to the act is Schedule 1, the list of the species that receive protection under SARA, hereinafter referred to as the 'SARA list'. Canadians are invited to comment on whether all or some of the species included in this document should be added to the SARA list.

Recovery Document Posting Plans

  • Environment and Climate Change Canada's Three-Year Recovery Document Posting Plan (2016-07-06)

    Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Three-Year Recovery Document Posting Plan identifies the species for which recovery documents will be posted each fiscal year starting in 2014-2015. Posting this three year plan on the Species at Risk Public Registry is intended to provide transparency to partners, stakeholders, and the public about Environment and Climate Change Canada’s plan to develop and post these proposed recovery strategies and management plans. However, both the number of documents and the particular species that are posted in a given year may change slightly due to a variety of circumstances. Last update December 2, 2021
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