55 Louisiana Pine Snakes Released In Louisiana’s Kisatchie National ForestMore than 200 Louisiana pine snakes have been released since captive breeding and release efforts began in 2010. Photo by Michael Sealy, USFWS

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55 Louisiana Pine Snakes Released In Louisiana’s Kisatchie National Forest

More than 200 Louisiana pine snakes released since 2010.

More than 200 Louisiana pine snakes have been released since captive breeding and release efforts began in 2010.

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Fifty five Louisiana Pine snakes (Pituophis ruthveni) were released this week into the Kisatchie National Forest in Louisiana by the Forth Worth Zoo. The snakes were hatched and reared at the zoo until they were large enough to fend for themselves in the wild.

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“This snake is one of the rarest and most endangered snakes in North America, and that’s why the Fort Worth Zoo participates in a breeding program to maintain a healthy, diverse population, the zoo wrote on Facebook. “Each spring, the Zoo releases Louisiana pine snakes, hatched and raised at the Zoo, into their native habitat at Kisatchie National Forest.”

The release of the 55 individuals marks the largest release of this species, which is one of the rarest snake in the United States. The previous largest release occurred in June 2020, when 41 captive-bred Louisiana pine snakes were released into Louisiana’s Kisatchie National Forest by the Audobon Zoo.


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The effort to captive breed these snakes and release them into the wild began in 2010, with more than 200 Louisiana pine snakes born, bred, and released into the wild since. Each snake is measured, weighed and photographed before release. They have also been microchipped so US Fish and Wildlife biologists can track their movements.

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Louisiana Pine Snake Information

The Louisiana pine snake spends much of its life below the forest, underground. It feeds on pocket gophers, which are also underground dwellers. They can grow to around five feet in length and are black, brown and russet in coloration. The Louisiana pine snake is only found in pine forests of Louisiana, in four parishes of Louisiana and five counties in Texas. In 2018, Pituophis ruthveni was listed as threatened by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.