In Alberta, land acquisitions have occurred within the Grasslands Natural Region by groups such as Alberta Conservation Association, Nature Conservancy of Canada, Alberta Fish and Game, and Pheasants Forever. comm. Alberta Sustainable Resource Development; Alberta Conservation Association; Alberta. Martinson, A. ), Winterfat (Krasheninnikovia lanata), Greasewood (Sarcobatus vermiculatus), Wolfwillow (Elaeagnus commutata), Snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus) and Creeping Juniper (Juniperus horizontalis) (Gardiner 2012). Furthermore, it is unknown whether or not such a site would be capable of supporting a population of Prairie Rattlesnakes in the long term. [accessed Nov. 2013]. 2013); however, Macartney and Weichel (1993) argued that the majority of Prairie Rattlesnake hibernacula would remain relatively undisturbed by humans for four main reasons: Prairie Rattlesnakes will likely continue to be killed by Canadians, but probably only in small numbers (i.e., individual snakes who venture onto residential or industrial sites). Cormier, R. 2013. Web Site: http://www.registrelep-sararegistry.gc.ca [accessed Oct. 2013]. The first approach produced an estimate of 2,310 (1,716 – 2,904) adults by multiplying the estimated number of known hibernacula in the province (35 [26 - 44]; Canadian Range) by an average of 66 adults per hibernaculum (assuming an average of 100 snakes per hibernaculum, two thirds of which are mature; AESRD and ACA 2012, Table 3). Because of increased risk associated with movement through agricultural landscapes, intensively cultivated areas may be contributing to demographic isolation of Prairie Rattlesnakes. A rattle is added to the string each time the rattlesnake sheds its skin, which happens up to five times in its first summer and around one to two times a year after that. University of California Press, Berkeley, CA. Although not depicted here, the range of this species extends into southern Mexico. comm. Calgary, AB. 2013). Living in southern Saskatchewan and Alberta, it warns off perceived predators by vibrating its rattle. For example, radio-tracked snakes in Lethbridge were found to avoid residential areas (Andrus 2010) and although some snakes do attempt to move through the urban matrix, these are very likely to be killed or translocated (Ernst and Quinlan 2006). May 2013. 2010. 2013e. As a result, the current IAO estimates should be interpreted with caution. In Alberta, Prairie Rattlesnake observation records appear quite continuous and concentrated along river valleys (Figure 6; AESRD and ACA 2012); however, a major range disjunction is present between hibernacula along the Milk River, and those within the South Saskatchewan River drainage (see hibernacula occurrence map in Martinson and Wielki 2012). This disambiguation page lists articles associated with the title Prairie rattlesnake. 2013; Table 1) and in Wyoming (Jorgenson 2009; NatureServe 2013). There is some evidence to suggest that public education campaigns may reduce the incidence of intentional persecution of Prairie Rattlesnakes, at least at the local scale. [accessed Feb. 2013]. The conversion of native prairie to intensive agriculture is predicted to continue, albeit at a slower rate, into the future (see Habitat Trends). Additional search effort in Alberta is needed where Prairie Rattlesnake’s range has appeared to contract since the late 1970s and earlier (see Canadian Range; AESRD and ACA 2012). Saskatchewan NAWMP Implementation Plan 2001-2026: Five Year Plan April 2007 – April 2012. Temperate grasslands are considered among the most threatened biomes on Earth (WCPA 2010), and once converted to another land use (e.g., cultivation), they are very difficult to restore (Alberta NAWMP Partnership 2008). Critical Habitat. Putting the “Rattle” in Rattlesnake. Queen's Printer. Journal of Environmental Management 91(12): 2763-2770. Northern Canada prairie road trip. Kissner and Nicholson (2003) report that four of the 14 locations (29%) appeared completely inactive by the 1990s to 2000s (two of which were historically reported to support ‘hundreds’ and ‘thousands’ of snakes). This results in dumbbell-shaped home ranges, i.e., two activity centres (hibernacula and summer foraging grounds) connected by narrow corridors (Gardiner 2012; Somers et al. Kissner et al. Young Prairie Rattlesnakes (neonates and juveniles) are presumed to suffer relatively high natural mortality rates (Gannon and Secoy 1984; Macartney and Weichel 1993 and sources therein; Andrus 2010 and sources therein) with annual survivorship increasing steadily with increasing age/body size (Macartney 1985, as cited by Macartney and Weichel 1993). 2013). The global range of the Prairie Rattlesnake extends from northern Mexico, through the central U.S. and into southern Canada, which supports at least 3% of its global range. Copyright notice: © 2013 NatureServe, 4600 N. Fairfax Dr. 7th Floor, Arlington, Virginia 22203, U.S.A. All Rights Reserved. Land ownership within the Canadian range of the Prairie Rattlesnake is varied. Government of Alberta. Recommended Land Use Guidelines for Protection of Selected Wildlife Species and Habitat within Grassland and Parkland Natural Regions of Alberta. It is tan in colour with darker bands or blotches along its back and dark tail rings which are usually olive to brown. For example, from 1991 - 2006 close to 75% of grasslands (primarily pasture land) in southwestern Lethbridge was directly lost to urban development, with many newer community developments being located directly adjacent to known Prairie Rattlesnake hibernacula and migratory routes (Ernst 2002; Ernst and Quinlan 2006). We live in rattlesnake country. Young rattlesnakes are born with a prebutton, a rattle segment at the tip of their tail. Such variation has been attributed to behavioural polymorphism with regard to migration distance (see Dispersal and Migration). Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC). Gibbs. Living in southern Saskatchewan and Alberta, it warns off perceived predators by vibrating its rattle. They may be associated directly with a hibernaculum or consist of a separate site, typically within 1 km of the hibernaculum (Gannon and Secoy 1984; Jørgensen and Nicholson 2007; Martinson 2009a; Andrus 2010; AESRD and ACA 2012). Spatial ecology of Prairie Rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis) associates with Black-tailed Prairie Dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) colonies in Colorado. The South Saskatchewan River watershed. For example, overall loss of native grassland in the Canadian prairies occurred at a rate of ~ 0.44% per year from 1985 - 2000 due to the expansion of tillage (Alberta NAWMP Partnership 2008). 2000; Ashton and de Queiroz 2001), Prairie Rattlesnake, Crotalus viridis, is now considered a distinct species from Western Rattlesnake, Crotalus oreganus, (Crother et al. Several behaviours render the Prairie Rattlesnake vulnerable to human-induced threats. The background coloration is light gray or tan with pronounced dark brown blotches ringed in white running down the length of the body. Mating occurs from early July to early September, after snakes have dispersed to summer ranges, and young are born the following year (Jørgensen et al. Shallow depth of field. 2013. 1996). In absence of comprehensive pre-construction surveys, destruction of hibernacula as a result of pipeline development is likely ongoing in Alberta and Saskatchewan (Nicholson and Rose 2001). Currently, two subspecies are recognized, including the … This equates to an Alberta EOO and IAO of approximately 59% and 97%, respectively, of the Canadian estimates. Ecoregions of Saskatchewan. 3 synonyms for prairie rattler: Crotalus viridis, prairie rattlesnake, Western rattlesnake. comm. Ashton, K. G. and A. D. de Queiroz. None of these “extra-limital” observations were included in Pendlebury’s (1977) range estimate, as they were at least 19 years old and quite distant from known sites at the time. 2015. A., R. G. Poulin, D. L. Parker and C. M. Somers. Image used with permission. 20 pp. Email correspondence to J. Bogart. Annual migrations of female Prairie Rattlesnakes, Crotalus v. viridis, in Alberta. (1996) considered three of the den sites in their Saskatchewan study to be part of the same hibernacula complex as they were less than 500 m from each other. In the United States, its range extends from Idaho and Montana to western Iowa to northern Mexico. The location of hibernacula in remote, rugged terrain makes human access to these sites difficult. 2002; Juckett and Hancox 2002). Tall-grass prairie in Manitoba is only a fraction (less than 1%) of its former 6,000 square kilometres. APPENDIX F1: Instructions for the Preparation of COSEWIC Status Reports. The wild snakes had been originally collected south of Lethbridge, AB (Cormier 2013). Species at Risk Biologist, Fish and Wildlife Policy, Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development, Edson, AB. The act also protects Prairie Rattlesnake hibernacula and rookeries from year-round disturbance or destruction. Prairie Rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis viridis) Monitoring in Alberta - Preliminary Investigations (2000). The majority of native grassland (i.e., prairie) loss in Canada occurred prior to the 1930s as a result of conversion to cropland (Gauthier et al. In Saskatchewan, a major range disjunction is present between Prairie Rattlesnakes in the vicinity (and to the East of) the Frenchman River and those within the rest of the Canadian range (Figure 6). Table 8. Kissner and Nicholson (2003) reported that one hibernaculum that appeared to have undergone a large decrease in abundance was located within 10 m of a gravel road with high traffic intensity due to oil and gas drilling. Effects of Climate Change on Grasslands (PDF; 720 KB). Are there extreme fluctuations in number of mature individuals? This map was produced in 2009 with occurrence data from an unknown timespan. Changes in the area occupied by the Prairie Rattlesnake may have occurred in the following regions: In order to discuss evidence for disjunctions within the Canadian range of the Prairie Rattlesnake, the ‘separation distance’ between potential subpopulations must be defined. 1984. This estimate was calculated in two ways: 1) Assuming that native prairie was lost at an average rate of ~ 0.44% per year from 1985 – 2000 (see above) and assuming that this rate has continued (and will continue) during the period from 2001 – 2024 (0.44% multiplied by 40 years = 17.60%), and, 2) assuming that the rate of decline in ‘natural area’ within the majority of Prairie Rattlesnake range was an average of 2 - 8% over the 31 year period from 1971 – 2001 (~ 0.7 – 2.7% of ‘natural land’ lost per decade; Figure 8, 9), and, assuming this rate of loss has continued (and will continue) during the period from 2002 – 2024 (~ 0.7 – 2.7% multiplied by 4 decades = 2.8 – 10.8%). 2013). comm. 2008). 2007. Under this act, it is prohibited within National Parks to: 1) carry out any action that unreasonably interferes with fauna, or 2) traffic in any wild animal. The Prairie Rattlesnake is experiencing a continuing decline in abundance across its Canadian range. The act also prohibits unregulated disturbance or destruction of the den, house, nest, dam, or usual place of habitation of wildlife, which includes Prairie Rattlesnake hibernacula. County of Essex. 2013; Environment Canada 2013a), Grasslands National Park (East and West blocks), SK, (AESRD and ACA 2012; Parks Canada Agency 2013; Poulin pers. data, as cited by Jørgensen et al. Web Site: http://watergovernance.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/milk.jpg [accessed Nov. 2013]. Prairie rattlesnakes have heart-shaped heads and can grow up to 1.4 metres in length. The Prairie Rattlesnake is a heavy-bodied pit viper. For example, from 2007-2009, 79 rattlesnakes were translocated in Lethbridge (Andrus 2010) because they were either encountered in residential areas or close to hazards such as roads (Ernst and Quinlan 2006). 2013b. 56 pp. [accessed Oct. 2013]. Climate change may also increase variability in precipitation, such as more frequent and more intense droughts, or extreme wet years and increased frequency of wildfires (Henderson and Sauchyn 2008; Thorpe 2012). If disturbed, they will defend themselves by … For example, Thorpe (2012) suggests that the current ecoregions which encompass the majority of Prairie Rattlesnake range in Canada (Moist Mixed Grassland and Mixed Grassland) will shift northward by 2080 and the region currently occupied by the species could become almost entirely composed of Grama-Needlegrass-Wheatgrass vegetation (probably used at present by Prairie Rattlesnakes in the U.S.). Andrus, W., pers. A comparison of recent and historical range maps (e.g., Figure 5; Figure 6; AESRD and ACA 2012), however, suggests that slight alterations in the known area occupied by this species may have occurred in some regions. They are a yellowish-brown and have dark brown blotches covering the length of their body to help camouflage with their surroundings. The Royal Canadian Geographical Society is dedicated to making Canada better known to Canadians, and the world. 2010. (2009). Canada: (Jørgensen 2009; Andrus 2010). 2007. Green circles represent observation records (observations outside hatched areas are historical and/or assumed to be accidental translocations). Prepared for the City of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, AB. Colorado State Statutes state that "any person may kill rattlesnakes when necessary to protect life or property" [33-6-107(9), C.R.S.]. Population structure of the Prairie Rattlesnake in Canada remains largely unknown (Jørgensen pers. W-13.12 - The Wildlife Act, 1998. 2013), and. 8 pp. [accessed Oct. 2013]. comm. 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