Some Snake Species Declining in Numbers

WALLINGFORD, England, June 9 (UPI) — British-led scientists say they have determined several global snake species have experienced a significant decline in populations.

The researchers, led by Chris Reading from Britain’s Center for Ecology & Hydrology, said they examined long-term data collected between 1987 and 2009 in the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Nigeria and Australia involving 17 snake populations in tropical and temperate climates and discovered declines in eight of 11 species.

The scientists noted snakes are top predators and any decline in their numbers might have serious consequences for many ecosystems.

“This is the first documented evidence from anywhere in the world that snake populations may be declining,” Reading said. “Although we do not know the cause of these observed declines, we wish to alert snake ecologists to what appears to be happening and to stimulate further research.”

The study is reported in the journal Biology Letters.

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