Should The Black Pine Snake Be Listed As A Threatened Species?
October 8, 2014
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has opened comments on whether to list the black pine snake (Pituophis melanoleucus lodingi) as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. The service has proposed to list the snake due to its limited geographic location as well as loss of habitat due to timbering, conversion of their habitat to agriculture, and fire suppression, which adversely affects their longleaf pine forest habitats. The snake has been a candidate for federal protection since 1999.
"The black pine snake is an important part of the longleaf pine ecosystem in southern Alabama and Mississippi," Fish & Wildlife Southeast Regional Director Cindy Dohner said in a prepared statement. "Conservation efforts for the black pine snake align closely with efforts already ongoing in this ecosystem for other wildlife like the gopher tortoise, eastern indigo snake, dusky gopher frog and the red-cockaded woodpecker."
According to the agency, the black pine snake is currently found only in a few counties in Alabama and Mississippi, and hasn’t been seen in Louisiana in more than 30 years.
Black pine snakes grow to about four to five feet in length with a black or dark brown back and belly. In the wild, the snake eats mice, rats, baby rabbits, birds, bird eggs, baby squirrels, and other small rodents.
If you wish to comment, you can do so online at http://www.regulations.gov . Enter FWS-R4-ES-2014-0046 in the search box and click on "Comment Now;" You can also comment via mail to U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-R4-ES-2014-0046; 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803.
John B. Virata keeps 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. Follow him on Twitter @johnvirata