Thursday, June 10, 2010

Snake populations in decline globally

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

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