NEW HAVEN, Vt. — The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department is surgically implanting radio transmitters in two Eastern Ratsnakes to learn more about the threatened species in the state.

The researchers hope that the snakes will lead the team back to their communal den site, helping to focus future land conservation efforts. One ratsnake already has the tracking device implanted; another capture is targeted for next summer.

Wildlife biologist Doug Blodgett says the focus is on an isolated population of ratsnakes that will provide important information for the conservation of the species.

The snakes aren’t venomous, eat plenty of rodents and are harmless to humans.