SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - Researchers with the Biological Sciences Department at Cal Poly have set up their first-ever livestream of rattlesnakes in the wild in hopes of showing people how nurturing the snakes can be.
“Rattlesnakes are portrayed on television programs as bloodthirsty, aggressive beasts; nothing could be further from the truth,” said biology Professor Emily Taylor, who leads the research team. “I hope that by watching rattlesnakes behaving as they actually do, with mothers taking care of their pups and even babysitting for each other, people might think better of rattlesnakes.”
The university said this livestream is part of Project RattleCam, a community science project in which the public helps scientists study rattlesnakes.
So far, the project has collected time-lapse images taken in Colorado. This livestream in California is the latest addition.
“We hope to eventually install cameras on snake aggregations all over the world to help us better understand the behaviors of these complex, social animals,” Taylor said.
Viewers can tune into the livestream during the daytime hours to watch a group of expectant mother snakes prepare their large communal nest, or rookery, in an undisclosed location on the Central Coast.
Researches said the pups are expected to be born in the next few days. They will remain at the rookery with their mothers through mid-to-late September before venturing off into the countryside in search of food in late fall. The snakes will then enter hibernation until the springtime.
Due to the snakes' expected lack of viewability, the livestream cameras will be shut off at the end of September through next spring.
The research for this project is funded by a grant from the Cal Poly Research, Scholarly and Creative Activities Grant Program.
To watch the livestream, visit bit.ly/snakelivestream.