They’re not quite as a photogenic as pandas or as majestic as white rhinos, so we hear much less about endangered snakes than we do some other animals. But despite their remarkable evolutionary adaptability, some snakes suffer the same fate as the more well-publicized species that are considered endangered. In fact, the International Union of Conservation for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources regards three species of snake extinct and many more as critically endangered.
A number of sea snakes are considered either critically endangered or endangered. The short-nosed sea snake and the leaf-scaled sea snake fall into the former category, while the dusky sea snake is regarded as endangered with a decreasing population. Despite obvious assumptions that such snakes, which inhabit coral reefs in the seas around Australia, are suffering from declining habitats, the scientific community regards their dwindling numbers as a mystery. One theory suggests that a change in sea water temperatures may be a factor, but more investigation is required.
The Round Island boa, Round Island ground boa, Round Island keel-scaled boa, Cropan’s boa, Mona Island boa and Ramsay’s python are all on the endangered list. The outlook for the boas of Round Island, Madagascar, appears grim, as one of their near relatives, the Round Island burrowing boa, is already considered extinct by the IUCN. The cause of its demise was soil erosion. Cropan’s boa, which exists with a very small range inside the metropolitan boundaries of Sao Paolo, Brazil, is declining due to its habitat being urbanized. Declining habitat is to blame for the endangered status of the Mona Island boa and woma, also known as Ramsay’s python.
Four types of garter snake are endangered: the Somali garter snake, southern Somali garter snake, black garter snake and Usambra garter snake. Garter snakes are mildly venomous snakes that do not pose a threat to humans. They hunt simply by overpowering their prey. Garter snakes typically inhabit dry, sandy and wooded habitats throughout America and Africa. Many of the natural habitats of garter snakes are decreasing, causing their numbers to dwindle.
A number of other venomous and nonvenomous snakes are considered endangered, including varieties of reed snake, racer, reef snakes, blind snakes, rat snakes and vipers. Snakes are not hunted in great numbers and many live without fear of predation, which generally leads conservationists to lay the blame of their declining numbers at the door of environmental factors, mainly habitat destruction and climate change.
- Monga Bay: Chart; the World's Most endangered Snakes
- Science Alert: Australian Endangered Species; Sea Snakes
- IUCN Red List: Bolyeria Multocarinata (Round Island burrowing boa)
- IUCN Red List: Corallus Cropanii (Cropan's boa)
- IUCN Red List: Epicrates Monensis (Mona Island Boa)
- IUCN Red List: Elapsoidea Chelazzii (Somali Garter Snake, Southern Somali Garter Snake)
- 80s_girl/iStock/Getty Images