A time-lapse video revealed rattlesnakes have a very active social life after dark in Vermont — much to the horror of viewers on social media.
The footage, shared Nov. 9 on Facebook, shows the ground was covered with venomous timber rattlesnakes, some appearing to be thick and several feet long.
At the center of the activity was a boulder, which apparently covers a large den. Snakes are seen slithering out from under the rock, then disappearing into the woods before reappearing, only to go back under the rock.
“In this video we see snakes of many ages, from young of year (the little ones) all the way to mature adults (the big ones) — a good sign,” state biologist Luke Groff said in the Facebook post.
It’s “good” because timber rattlesnakes are rare and endangered in the state, with only two populations known, according to the Vermont Fish and Wildlife. Both of those clans are in western Rutland County, which is in the central part of the state.
People on social media did not share Groff’s enthusiasm.
To them, the footage showed a lot of venomous snakes — hidden underfoot in the dark — looking for something to eat.
“Thanks for the nightmare material,” Beth Wallace wrote. “I’ve always considered us lucky not to have to deal with scorpions, snakes, killer spiders, murder hornets , etc. How much farther north do we have to go to be safe?!”
“These are scarier than bears!” Ruth Ann Letourneau said.
“I was not emotionally prepared for that,” Sara Giacherio Blondin posted.
“I think they should start burning the woods down in Vermont,” Kevin Duell added.
Groff recorded the video as part of his work with the state’s snake and turtle project. The monitoring project is being done in partnership with the Nature Conservancy in Vermont.
The time-lapse video is helping the state get “an accurate estimate of Vermont’s timber rattlesnake population.” The decline of the species is blamed on “bounties, human persecution, and habitat loss,” according to the Vermont Timber Rattlesnake Recovery Plan.
Vermont wildlife officials hope to see the rattlesnake population bounce back and spread, given their important role in the ecosystem: controlling rodents.