Memphis Zoo Working to Save Louisiana Pine Snakes from Extinction
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Memphis Zoo Working to Save Louisiana Pine Snakes from Extinction

MEMPHIS, TENN - A program started in 1984 is answering the question all zoologists ask, “Can we save a species from extinction?” Memphis Zoo scientists now know the answer. Yes, we can.

When Louisiana pine snakes became critically endangered in the wild, our zoologists recognized a conservation program was needed and started the breeding program we have now. By 2010, Memphis Zoo had bred enough of these snakes to release some back into the wild. Since then, our team has released over 120 Louisiana pine snakes.

Coordinating with our partner zoos, releases are organized to ensure that nonbreeding pairs will not meet in the wild, which is an intricate process involving careful planning. Locations are picked carefully and monitored year-round to ensure the well-being of the snakes.

Dr. Steve Reichling, Memphis Zoo’s Director of Conservation and Research, believes we will see a stable population return to Louisiana in the coming years. Our zoologists and partnering zoos are hopeful the Louisiana Pine Snake will be saved.

Here are some fun facts about this beautiful snake.

  • They are the rarest snake in North America
  • They lay the largest eggs of any snake in North America
  • They lay the fewest eggs of any snake in North America
  • They hatch the largest babies of any snake in North America
  •  As adults, they eat only pocket gophers