The destruction of snake’s natural habitat to make way for human dwelling has resulted in the reduction of many snake species. The importance of snakes can not be overlooked, mainly because
- Snakes play a critical role in our environment, because of their role in the food chain
- Some of the snakes are at the top of the food chain (top level) predators.
- They have a critical role in controlling insect and other invertebrate populations
- Snakes are also food for other predators
They are also many important ways in which snakes are valuable in nature.
They are many endangered snake species, but a few of them like the Mexican ridge-nosed rattle snake, Indian Python, Argentinean Boa constructor, Antiguan Racer and the king cobra qualify as the top 5 most endangered species. Some of these endangered are umbrella species, meaning that protecting these snakes also protect other animals living within that ecosystem.
Top 5 Most Endangered Snake Species.
1. The Mexican ridge nosed rattle snake ( crotalus willardi obscurus) has been recognized and classified as an engendered snake specie. These snake species has become endangered because of habitat distraction.
- Size– This is a small ( up to 66cm in length)
- General Information– This snake is pale gray to gray brown and does not prominently have facial markings. The back is marked with pale crossbars lined with darker coloration along the front and back edges. The underside is cream to white with mottling of grayish to reddish brown. Young have dark gray/black or light yellow tails
- Geographic region– range from southeastern Arizona and extreme southwestern New Mexico . Countries- Mexico and USA
- Habitat-This snake is a montane woodland species, found in evergreen woodland and montane conifer forest
- Food Habits– adults prey on small mammals, spiny lizard, and passerine birds. Juveniles prey on spiny lizards and centipedes
2. The India Python (Python molurus) has also been recognized as one of the endangered snake species.
- Size- On average Indian pythons are large and scary looking, they can grow up to 12 feed and weigh as much as 55kg.
- General Information- The Indian python belongs to the Pythonidae family of snakes consisting of the world’s largest snakes. This snake species has become endangered as people use its hide and eat it as well. The snake is not venomous.
- Geographic Region- The Indian python can be found throughout India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal.
- Habitat- These snakes live in woodlands, forests, river valleys, swamps, grasslands marshes. It depends on the continuous water supply to survive
- Food Habits- This snakes prey animals that they ambush. They eat or swallow the prey and cake take months for them to digest prey.
3. Argentinean Boa constrictor (Boa constrictor occidentalis) at maturity, the male Argentine Boa constrictor measures about eight feet in length . It usually sports a grey belly and a dark line running from the neck to the snout’s tip and from the eyes to eyes to the neck.
- Geographic Range- they Argentinean boa can be found in Uruguay and Argentina
- Habitat- It is found in wet forests and scrub forests and some grassland.
- Food Habits-They feed on small animals and birds.
4. Antiguan Racer (Alsophis antiguae) has been enlisted as endangered since 1995 when only 50 individuals remained
- Geographic range- This species is endemic to the island bank of Antigua and Barbuda
- Habitat- This species is found in habitats with dense canopy cover, dense undergrowth and a layer of leaf litter.
- Food Habits- eat small animals and birds
5. The king cobra (Ophiophagus hannah) is the world’s longest venomous snake. Despite been named the cobra it does not belong to the cobra family by a genre of its own.
- Size– They can grow up to 5.6m
- Geographical Range- These snakes are found predominantly in forests from India through Southeast Asia to the Philippines and Indonesia
- Habitat– they are found in forests
- Food Habits– They prey on other snakes.