The idea of rattlesnakes slithering around a Massachusetts island in the state's largest body of water is just plain freaking out some residents.
"People are afraid that we're going to put snakes in a place of public use and that they are going to breed like rabbits and spread over the countryside and kill everybody," said Tom French of the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, according to The Associated Press.
He's directing a project at the 39-square mile Quabbin Reservoir that would provide a home to venomous timber rattlesnakes whose numbers are dwindling around the state.
There are only about 200 of the indigenous snakes left, according to French. Deaths caused by humans and dwinding habitats are to blame and state wildlife officils are concerned the species could disappear completely.
The island is off limits to humans, though fearful hikers and others say the snakes could swim away, or slither along two causeways that run to the island.
Peter Mallett, a recreational fisherman who lives in New Salem, a town on the Quabbin’s western shore, opposed the snake project at first, but changed his mind after digging deeper.
“People are just petrified of snakes,” he said.