Shane Thielges | Shale Plays
It’s no secret the shale drilling revolution revitalized industries nationwide. Oil and gas company growth exploded, of course, but just as well known are the benefits to pipeline construction, manufacturers, railroads and safety equipment, to name a few.
Considerably less-discussed: snake handlers.
Columbus Business First reports that business opportunities in the Marcellus shale are booming for people who corral and capture snakes. Gas wells frequently target shale deposits underlying undeveloped areas, putting gas workers at risk for venomous bites from rattlesnakes.
“I’ve never seen so many snake handlers,” Chris Urban, non-game and endangered species coordinator for the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, told PennLive. “I think it’s the demand.”
Pennsylvania law only allows workers to kill snakes if they are being directly threatened. Even then, they cannot be moved more than 300 feet away from where they were found, lest they be unable to relocate their dens. Snake handlers are certified to safely handle and relocate the snake without harming the ecosystem.
Interested snake charmers would do well to get their foot in the door in short order. As autumn approaches and temperatures fall, rattlesnakes will begin hibernating until the spring thaw.