Species Handling and Relocation

A protected reptile will only be captured and relocated when that is the only option to prevent its death or injury, and after all attempts to avoid interaction of the species have been exhausted, as described in REP-5, Species Observation and Encounters. Project-specific rescue and relocation plans will be submitted by the Project Proponent and pre-approved by USFWS. General guidance for handling and relocation is as follows:

– If appropriate habitat is immediately adjacent to the capture location, then the preferred option is short-distance relocation to that habitat. A snake will not be moved outside of the area where it could have traveled on its own. Captured snakes will be released in appropriate cover as close to their capture location as possible for their continued safety. Under no circumstances will an animal be relocated to another property without the property owner’s written permission. It is the Project Proponent’s responsibility to arrange for that permission.

– The release locations must be pre-identified in the Project-specific rescue and relocation plan approved by USFWS; they will depend on where the individual was found and the opportunities for nearby release. In most situations, the release location is likely to be into the mouth of a small burrow, other suitable refugia, or suitable habitat.

– Only a USFWS-Approved Biologist for the project can capture protected reptiles.