Black Pine Snake Habitat Protections Proposed By USFWS

March 11, 2015

More than 330,000 acres of critical habitat for the black pine snake (Pituophis melanoleucus lodingi) in Mississippi and Alabama has been proposed for protections by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, according to a press release put out by the Center for Biological Diversity. The proposal would potentially affect Clarke County in Alabama and Forrest, George, Greene, Harrison, Jones, Marion, Perry, Stone and Wayne counties in Mississippi. Of the total acres, federal land comprises about 70 percent of the total. 

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The habitat includes longleaf pine forests, which have been reduced due to agriculture and pine plantations, fire suppression and urban development.  

“Destruction of the South’s longleaf pine forests is driving native wildlife toward extinction,” Collette Adkins, an attorney and biologist focused on the protection of rare reptiles and amphibians said in a statement put out by the Center for Biological Diversity. “Habitat protections for this beautiful snake will safeguard its future, along with the future of the South’s last longleaf pine forests.”

The USFWS proposal is due in part to its proposal in October 2014 to list the snake as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. 

The black pine snake’s habitat includes upland, longleaf pine forests, in sandy soils and grassy ground cover.  The snake, which has been a candidate for federal protection since 1999, grow up from 4 to 7 feet in length and feeds on rodents, including mice, rats and squirrels and rabbits. 

John B. Virata keeps a western hognose snake, a ball python, two corn snakes, a king snake, and two leopard geckos. His first snake, a California kingsnake, was purchased at the Pet Place in Westminster, CA for $5. His first pet reptile was a green anole that arrived in a small box via mail order. Follow him on Twitter @johnvirata 


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