Matt Goode
Matt Goode

“Tiger Rattlesnakes in the Tucson Basin” will be the subject of a talk at the Arizona Senior Academy on Thursday (Sept. 29) at 3:30 p.m. by Matt Goode, a research scientist in the University of Arizona’s School of Natural Resources and the Environment.

Goode has studied the ecology and behavior of the tiger rattlesnake in the Rincon Mountains near Saguaro National Park east of Tucson and just north of Academy Village. Using radio telemetry, which involved placing transmitters into the body cavity of the snakes, he was able to track the snakes as they moved about.

He hopes his research can help preserve snake populations from development threats.  “When you take a bulldozer and grade off a piece of desert, then whatever was living there probably isn’t going to be there anymore,” Goode said in an interview with UA News.

Because the tiger rattlesnake is not an endangered species, landowners are not required to comply with specific environmental regulations for it. Goode and his colleagues are not actively trying to stop developments, but rather are investigating how to make them more compatible with wildlife species in the region, even rattlesnakes.

Tiger rattlesnakes like this one live in and around the Rincon Mountains.
Tiger rattlesnakes like this one live in and around the Rincon Mountains.

“I don’t think any of us is going to be happy sometime down the road if all we do is populate the desert with people,” he says.

Goode began his love affair with rattlesnakes in college, where his thesis for an honors degree in biology at the University of Wyoming merited publication in Animal Behavior. He worked for the Arizona Game and Fish Department, and later received his Ph.D. at the University of Arizona. He is active in several environmental groups in Arizona and is associate editor of the Journal of Wildlife Management.

Written by Betty Feinberg, Academy Village Volunteer

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Researcher Works to Protect Rattlesnakes: October 2016
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