Distinct populations of snake species have crashed over the last decade, raising fears that the reptiles may be in global decline, according to a study. The pattern across the eight species monitored was alarmingly similar despite their geographical isolation, which points to a common cause, say researchers.
Although the causes of these declines are currently unknown, we suspect that they are multi-faceted (such as habitat quality deterioration, prey availability), and with a common cause, e.g. global climate change, at their root.
So-called 'sit-and-wait' foragers - snakes that lie motionless, waiting for prey to come within striking distance - are also more severely depleted in numbers than counterparts that are active hunters.
A sharp decline in snake numbers would likely have serious consequences for many ecosystems.
See full article by Reading et al June 9, 2010, doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2010.0373