Fall 2012: The Snakes of Massachusetts

Fall 2012: The Snakes of Massachusetts


All Day

Event Type

Presented by Peter Mirick, Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife

Rattler: Photo credit: B. Byrne
Peter Mirick, wildlife biologist with the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife, explained the basic role of snakes in the environment, the adaptations they all share in a legless body and the many differences between species in terms of habits, adaptations and evolution. He also introduced current conservation concerns regarding our native snakes and how those concerns are being addressed with research and restoration activities. Mr. Mirick mentioned the needless fears many people have about snakes. He shared photos and information to enable identification all 14 native species when encountered in the wild. Mr. Mirick brought a very beautiful, tame (non-biting, calm) Red Ratsnake (aka “Corn Snake,” native from New Jersey south to Florida) that children and adults could handle in perfect safety.

Garter Snake: Photo credit: B. Byrne
Mr. Mirick has been interested in snakes and herpetology (the study of reptiles and amphibians) since early childhood. He earned a B.A. in Biology from Hartwick College in Oneonta, NY and a M.S. in Biology from Worcester State University. He did additional post graduate work at Iowa State University. He was always torn between biology and writing as a career. He has been a Wildlife Biologist with the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife for 35 years, and has worked in virtually every aspect of fisheries and wildlife management. Peter has been the editor of Massachusetts Wildlife magazine since 1981. He has conducted a radio-telemetry research project on a population of eastern rat snakes (a Massachusetts-listed Endangered Species) since 1998, and has been involved in many other reptile and amphibian conservation projects.