Another worrisome factor is that rattlesnakes, just like those turtles, do migrate and that often means crossing roadways or developed areas where they are in a lot more danger than any person they might encounter.
Now restricted to a few small areas in the central and northwestern part of Connecticut, timber rattler males can “travel quite long distances from their wintering dens,” Quinn says. While lots of people run from a rattler, others immediately try to kill them or run them over on the road.
Dickson says one key for that study was trying to figure out “how you can manage around [the rattlesnakes’] movement patterns.” That could include preventing a road from dividing up needed habitats, or preventing housing developments from destroying a critical portion of their environment.
According to Quinn, the results of the rattlesnake study also helped state officials decide what properties they wanted to buy for open-space preservation.
The eastern spadefoot toad issue is a bit different. There is only one location in the state (somewhere east of the Connecticut River) where this unusual creature is known to exist, says Quinn.
The little buggers spend most of their time underground, usually emerging only at night and becoming really active only in rainy conditions.
Originally a desert-evolved creature, the spadefoot is a “flash breeder,” explains Quinn. That means they come out at night after a rainstorm creates some big puddles or pools in farm fields, get all together in a big sex-crazed bunch, and do their baby-making thing. The females lay eggs, the tadpoles hatch within a couple of days, and two weeks later you’ve got another generation of tiny spadefeet hopping around and burrowing into their preferred sandy soil.
Like so many of Connecticut’s small, lesser-known creatures, you could live right next door to our one-and-only community of spadefeet, says Quinn, “and absolutely never know.” Dickson says it’s remarkable how few people in Connecticut even notice the wildlife that’s all around them.
Except maybe for those times when they run over some poor creature that’s simply trying to get to the other side of the road.