Florida wildlife officials are asking for residents’ help in reporting sightings of rare snakes. They’re working to determine whether the snakes should be bumped up to the federal endangered status.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission biologists want the public to report sightings of three snakes: the Florida pine snake, southern hognose snake, and short-tailed snake. FWC Spokesman Kevin Baxter says with residents help, researchers can then determine whether these snakes qualify as a federally threatened species.
“Basically, these are snakes that are somewhat rarely seen. So, we are trying to get a handle on their status and where they are occurring in the state. So, these snake species usually occur in drier, blander habitats, and really only occasionally spend time above ground. A lot of times they’re underground,” said Baxter.
Residents should report the sightings to the FWC online. For each report, residents should include the location, month, and year of where they saw the snakes. Baxter says photos of the snakes for verification purposes are welcome as well. And, he adds it also does not matter whether the snakes are dead or alive.
“So, whether they’re dead or alive, that will give us an idea of where they’re occurring and help with the status in that regard. It also doesn’t matter if you were hiking last weekend and saw one of these snakes or if you were hiking 10 years ago, and you took a photo of one of these snakes, and you remember where you were at that point, we’d still be interested in getting that report through the website,” Baxter added.
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