Jeff Briggler, our herpetologist, stopped by the other day to mention the upcoming Year of the Frog. I asked what else is new in his world of wildlife. Jeff said it’s good, or at least not so bad, news on the reptile front. It looks like our snakes and lizards are holding their own, unlike what’s happening to frogs and salamanders. He said that the IUCN (World Conservation Union) and other scientists recently did a study of 721 species of lizards and snakes in Mexico, the United States and Canada and found that about two-thirds of them were doing okay.
About one in eight snakes or lizards are threatened with extinction. That’s still not great news, but a lot better than the one out of every three amphibians likely to become extinct globally. In Missouri, the key threat to our snakes and lizards is loss of habitat. Species like the Massassauga rattlesnake that depend on marshlands have few places left to live.