Thursday, August 18
Greetings to everyone from Scaly Slimy Spectacular! We have some exciting news to share with you all regarding our participation in the Species Survival Plan (SSP) for the Louisiana pine snake. On the 13th of August, we successfully hatched five baby snakes, which is a big step forward for this conservation effort. This is also a milestone for Zoo Atlanta, as this is the first ever successful hatching of this species at our institution!
The Louisiana pine snake is native to western Louisiana and eastern Texas, and resides in longleaf pine forests with very sandy soil and a thick, brushy understory. Historically these amazing animals occurred in at least nine Louisiana parishes and 15 Texas counties; however, recent studies have shown that they now occur in only four Louisiana parishes and six Texas counties. This decline is directly linked to the decline of longleaf pine forests that is associated with practices such as the conversion of land to wood pulp plantations and highway construction. However, thanks to a Candidate Conservation Agreement that was established in 2004, work is being done to protect these animals on federal lands, to restore degraded habitat, and to decrease threats to their survival. In addition, a number of zoos across the country participate in the SSP for these animals in an effort to build assurance colonies for this rapidly declining species.
We are very excited that we are able to add five brand-new animals to this snake species! While we do not currently exhibit these animals, know that we are constantly at work behind the scenes trying to build a brighter future for this species, as well as many others. So the next time that you are at the Zoo, please feel free to stop by for a chat. We would love to share our success stories with you!
Keeper III, Herpetology