Arizona Black Rattlesnake Advancing Toward Extinction

By on May 27, 2016

Michael Douglas (left) and Marlis Douglas hold a rattlesnake skin in their lab. (Credit: Matt Reynolds / University of Arkansas)


A combination of factors is pushing the Arizona black rattlesnake closer to extinction, according to scientists at the University of Arkansas. These include drought, wildfires and limits to its range.

The snake is somewhat cornered, according to a paper detailing its threats posted in the journal Royal Society Open Science. It can’t seem to get a foothold in territories past the Grand Canyon and Colorado River along the Colorado Plateau.

The impacts of human activity combined with that restriction in moving to new areas has hurt the snake’s numbers. U. of Arkansas researchers suggest that designating the snake as threatened under the Endangered Species Act could help wildlife officials develop some of the plans needed to help protect it in the future.

Top image: Michael Douglas (left) and Marlis Douglas hold a rattlesnake skin in their lab. (Credit: Matt Reynolds / University of Arkansas)

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