Thirteen rattlesnakes born Friday are the first-ever litter of their kind at the Lincoln Park Zoo.
photo from the Chicago Zoological Society
The eastern massasuga rattlesnakes, an endangered species in Illinois, are the first zoo-bred litter at the North Side zoo, according to a statement.
The zoological society, along with several other groups, located the last remaining massasaugas in the Chicagoland area and brought them to the zoo in 2009 for protection from predators and habitat loss, according to the statement.
“The zoo is extremely enthusiastic about the significant positive impact these rattlesnakes will have on this endangered population,” said Diane Mulkerin, curator at Lincoln Park Zoo.
The 13 babies join eight other massasaugas behind-the-scenes at the zoo, according to the statement.
“Currently, the baby rattlesnakes are just about the size of a US quarter when coiled but are fully independent from the dam,” Mulkerin said.
The snakes can reach up to 30 inches long as adults and have powerful “rattles” on their tales, according to the statement.