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USFWS Sued For Not Listing Kirtland Snake As Endangered Species

The small Colubrid snake is endangered in three states and threatened in two states in which it can be found.

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The Center for Biological Diversity has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for failing to protect the Kirtland's snake (Clonophis kirtlandii), a Colubrid snake that can be found in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Kentuck, and Pennsylvania.

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According to the center, the USFWS has failed to grant Endangered Species Act protections to the reptile eventhough the agency declared in 2011 that protection of the snake as an endangered species may be warranted. The Center is suing because the USFWS has not determined, as required by law, whether the snake needs federal protections.

"Time is quickly running out for this rare reptile,” said Collette Adkins Giese, a Center lawyer and biologist who works to save imperiled amphibians and reptiles. “With protection of the Endangered Species Act, the snake would benefit from greater emphasis on saving its vanishing wetland habitats, which are also important for humans because they prevent floods and filter surface water.”

The Kirtland's snake lives on prairies and prairie like areas and is listed as endangered in Indiana, Michigan and Pennsylvania and threatened in Illinois and Ohio. It eats earthworms, slugs, minnows and small amphibians. According to the Center, the smallnon-venomous snake has declined in its native ranges due to agricultural land use, urban and suburban sprawl brought on by residential development.


John B. Virata currently keeps a ball python, two corn snakes, a king snake, and two leopard geckos. His first snake, a California Kingsnake, was purchased at the Pet Place in Westminster, CA for $5. Follow him on Twitter @johnvirata