Upcoming Event: Panhandle Outdoors Live at St. Joseph Bay on June 21st!

Upcoming Event: Panhandle Outdoors Live at St. Joseph Bay on June 21st!

The University of Florida/IFAS Extension & Florida Sea Grant faculty are reintroducing their acclaimed “Panhandle Outdoors LIVE!” series on St. Joseph Bay. This ecosystem is home to some of the richest concentrations of flora and fauna on the Northern Gulf Coast. This area supports an amazing diversity of fish, aquatic invertebrates, turtles and other species of the marsh and pine flatwoods. Come learn about the important roles of ecosystem!

Registration fee is $40. You must pre-register to attend.

Registration link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/panhandle-outdoors-live-st-joseph-bay-by-land-sea-tickets-906983109897

or use the QR code:

Meals: Lunch, drinks & snacks provided (you may bring your own)

Attire: outdoor wear, water shoes, bug spray and sunscreen

*If afternoon rain is in forecast, outdoor activities may be switched to the morning schedule

Held at the St. Joseph Bay State Buffer Preserve Lodge: 3915 State Road 30-A, Port St. Joe

8:30 – 8:35 Welcome & Introduction – Ray Bodrey, Gulf County Extension (5 min)
8:35 – 9:20 Diamondback Terrapin Ecology – Rick O’Connor, Escambia County Extension
9:20 – 10:05 Exploring Snakes, Lizards & the Cuban Tree Frog – Erik Lovestrand, Franklin County Extension
10:05 – 10:15 Break
10:15 – 11:00 The Bay Scallop & Habitat – Ray Bodrey, Gulf County Extension
11:00 – 11:45 The Hard Structures: Artificial Reefs & Derelict Vessel Program – Scott Jackson, Bay County Extension
11:45 – Noon Question & Answer Session – All Agents
Noon – 1:00 Pizza & Salad!
1:00 – 1:20 Introduction to the Buffer & History – Buffer Preserve Staff
1:20 – 2:20 Tram Tour – Buffer Preserve Staff
2:20 – 2:30 Break
2:30 – 3:00 A Walk in the Mangroves – All Agents
3:00 – 3:15 Wrap up & Adjourn – All
Snake Watch 1st Quarter Report; 2024

Snake Watch 1st Quarter Report; 2024

The Snake Watch Project is one that is helping residents in the Pensacola Bay area better understand which species of snakes are most encountered, where they are encountered, and what time of year.  The project began in 2022 and over the last two years between 50-60% of the 40 species/subspecies of snakes known in the Pensacola Bay area have been encountered.  The majority of these encounters have been in the spring, with garter snakes, black racers, banded water snakes and cottonmouths being the most common.

The eastern garter snake is one of the few who are active during the cold months.
Photo: Molly O’Connor

The 1st quarter reports cover the winter months, and you would expect fewer encounters – but encounters do happen.  In 2022 there were only 6 encounters during the winter months.  There was one mid-sized snake (between 12-24” maximum length), 2 large snakes (greater than 3’ maximum length), 1 water snake and 2 cottonmouths for a total of five species.  In 2023 there was a significant increase in 1st quarter reports.  There were 57 encounters (26% of the total for the year) and 13 species logged.

  1. Two species of small snakes (less than 12” maximum length) were encountered three times.
  2. Three species of mid-sized snakes were encountered nine times, this included an encounter with the eastern hognose snake.
  3. Six species of large snakes were encountered 17 times. These include the rarely seen eastern kingsnake and Florida pine snake.
  4. Three species of water snakes were encountered, including the green water snake.
  5. The cottonmouth was encountered 10 times during the 1st quarter of 2023.

This increase in sightings may be more a result of more people interested in the project than a true increase in snake activity, but it does provide us with information on snake activity during the winter months.  Eastern garter snakes, eastern ribbon snakes, banded water snakes, and cottonmouths were the most frequently encountered.

A cottonmouth found on the trail near Ft. Pickens.
Photo: Ricky Stackhouse

Snake encounters during the 1st Quarter of 2024 are down.  This year 27 encounters occurred logging eight species.  The cottonmouth continues to be the most encountered snake in our area and the only one who was encountered in double digits (n=11).  Other species encountered included the eastern garter snake, eastern ribbon snake, gray rat snake, corn snake, southern black racer (encountered every month), eastern coachwhip, banded water snake (encountered every month), and the cottonmouth (also encountered each month this quarter).

We will continue to log encounters during the spring.  If you see a snake, please let Rick O’Connor know at roc1@ufl.edu.

2023 Pensacola Bay Snake Watch Annual Report

2023 Pensacola Bay Snake Watch Annual Report

I began this project in 2022 wanting to know which of the 40 species of snakes known to inhabit the Pensacola Bay area were encountered by people.  I also wanted to know where they were encountering them and what time of year.  This information would be used in my Living with Snakes program and provide better information than field guides and publications that covered a broader area.  The 40 local species were divided into six categories: small snakes (<12”), mid-sized snakes (12-24”), large snakes (> 24”), water snakes, venomous snakes, and non-native snakes. 

The red rat snake, or corn snake. Photo: Molly O’Connor

Which snakes did people encounter?

In 2023 there were 215 snake encounters between Jan 1 and Dec 10.  This is a 136% increase over 2022.  This is probably not because of more snakes but rather more residents participating in the project. 

Of the 40 species possible, 24 (60%) were encountered.  This is a 13% increase over 2022.  Again, I feel this is due more to increasing participation. 

The most frequently encountered species were:

  1. Cottonmouth – 49 records (23%)
  2. Southern Black Racer – 35 records (16%)
  3. Banded Water Snake – 26 records (12%)
  4. Eastern Garter Snake – 17 records (8%)
  5. Eastern Coachwhip – 11 records (5%)

The Southern Black Racer was the most frequently encountered snake in 2022 (23%), followed by the cottonmouth (16%).  As you can see, the frequency of encounters remained the same this year, but the species flipped.  The Eastern Ribbon Snake, which was third at (14%) in 2022 did not make the top five this year. 

The rarest snakes – those encountered only once or not at all – included:

Encountered once:                                     

Rough Green Snake                                                                 

Eastern Kingsnake                                      

Eastern Coral Snake

NOT Encountered at all:

Smooth Earth Snake

Marsh Brown Snake

Southern Hognose Snake

Mole Kingsnake

Scarlet Kingsnake

Eastern Indigo Snake

Black Swamp Snake

Glossy Crayfish Snake

Queen Snake

Midland Watersnake

Yellow Bellied Water Snake

Diamondback Water Snake

Western Green Water Snake

Western/Eastern Mud Snake

Rainbow Snake

Of the four species only encountered once, each is considered quite rare for encounters.  The Eastern Kingsnake was once common but has declined over the years.  The Eastern Coral Snake is quite common, but its behavior and activity make it rare to encounter.  Some snake experts have never seen one in the wild. 

Of the 16 species not encountered at all, three are small snakes whose size and habits make them difficult to detect.  Two are mid-sized but their habits also make them hard to detect.  Nine are water snakes who live in swampy environments along our rivers.  You would have to be out there to encounter them, and few people are.  Two species, the Southern Hognose and the Eastern Indigo Snake, are state and federal listed and are extremely rare.  

The gray rat snake, also known as the oak snake. Photo: Nick Baldwin

Where did people encounter these snakes?

I divided the bay area into four regions: North Escambia, South Escambia, North Santa Rosa, and South Santa Rosa. 

North Escambia – 13 species (54% of the total 24 species found this year).

South Escambia – 16 species (67% of the total).

North Santa Rosa – 17 species (71% of the total).

South Santa Rosa – 11 species (46% of the total). 

There is not much difference between these.  In Escambia County more encounters occurred in the southern portion of the county.  For Santa Rosa County it was the opposite.  Whether this is because there are more snakes in these locations, or more participants in the project cannot be said.  We will pay more attention to this next year.    

Species that were found in ALL four regions included:

Eastern Garter Snake

Gray Rat Snake

Corn Snake

Southern Black Racer



Species only found on one of the four regions included:

Eastern Kingsnake

Florida Pine Snake

Brahminy Blind Snake

Rough Earth Snake

Pinewoods Snake

Eastern Coral Snake

What time of year were these snakes encountered?

Winter – 57 encounters; 13 species

Spring – 80 encounters; 20 species

Summer – 52 encounters; 18 species

Fall – 17 encounters; 10 species

There was an obvious decline in encounters in the fall.  Many species are beginning to settle in for the winter this time of year, but many others breed, and thus should be moving (at least the males).  I know some volunteers ceased looking, but others I know who search weekly, or daily, did not encounter as many snakes. 

Only one species was encountered every month of the year.  This was the cottonmouth

The Eastern Garter Snake was seen every month except June and October; it seems to be active year-round. 

The Southern Black Racer was missing in January, November, and December – suggesting a dislike for the cold. 

NOTE: many of these hibernating snakes will emerge on warmer sunny days during winter and can be encountered. 

SPRING was the time of year with the highest encounter rate and species encountered.  This would make sense in two parts; (1) they are emerging seeking food after non-feeding during winter, (2) they are emerging looking for mates because it is breeding season for many.  Five species were only encountered in the early part of the year.  Two species were only found in winter and one species was only found in the spring. 

Eastern diamondback rattlesnake crawling near Ft. Pickens Campground. Photo: Shelley Johnson

What about the venomous snakes?

As expected, most are concerned more about the encounters with venomous snakes.  There are six venomous species listed in the state of Florida, four inhabit the Pensacola Bay area.  All four were encountered in 2023. 

  1. Cottonmouth – was encountered in all regions, each month of the year, it was the most commonly encountered snake in our area this year.
  2. Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake – was encountered seven times, only during the spring and summer, and in three of the four regions in our area.  This snake is pretty common but not commonly encountered where people most often reside and play.  Though encounters do occur in residential neighborhoods, they are rare. 
  3. Dusky Pygmy Rattlesnake – was encountered six times, during spring, summer, and fall, and two of the four regions in the bay area. 
  4. Eastern Coral Snake – was encountered once, during the spring, and in only one of the four regions in the bay area.  Again, this snake is actually quite common, but its behavior makes it difficult to encounter.  So, encounters with this species are rare. 


In 2023 60% of the known species of snakes that inhabit the Pensacola Bay area were encountered by residents at some time during the year.  Most encounters occurred in the spring and summer and encounters occurred throughout the entire region.  The cottonmouth was the most frequently encountered species this year but rare species, such as the Eastern hognose, Eastern kingsnake, and the Florida pine snake were seen – and that is pretty exciting.  The snake diversity in the Pensacola Bay area seems good.  There is concern that a non-native parasite decreasing the populations of some species in central and south Florida may make its way to the panhandle.  We are participating in a project entitled Snake Lungworm Alliance Monitoring (SLAM) that collects deceased snakes for examination by researchers.  If you find a deceased snake in good enough condition to be dissected, place it in a plastic Ziplock bag, label with the date, location (GPS preferred), and your contact information.  You can then bring it to the Escambia County Extension office or freeze it and call me – (850-475-5230) or email roc1@ufl.edu and we will arrange pick up. 

We plan to continue the Snake Watch Project in 2024 and encourage all who see snakes to contact me at the above email address.  We will also be offering the Living with Snakes presentation.  If your community group is interested in this talk, contact me. 

Snake Watch 1st Quarter Report; 2024

Cottonmouths of Our Barrier Islands

I am going to end 2023 with an article on a project I hope to conduct in 2024.  It will focus on insular cottonmouths and will focus on the western panhandle, though those in the eastern panhandle might be interested and could help.  For obvious reasons, conducting this project as a citizen science one is not the best idea.  Cottonmouths are venomous snakes and can be dangerous, but there could be opportunities where citizens could be of help (a road killed snake for example). 

The cottonmouth is one of the more commonly encountered snakes in the western panhandle. Photo: Bob Jackson

The story is quite interesting.  Most books and articles on cottonmouths indicate they inhabit freshwater habitats where water flow is slower.  Though found in the back waters of rivers, they are not as common within the rivers themselves.  Golf courses, ponds, lakes, and reservoirs are other places they frequent.  There are records of them on coastal barrier islands and in the upper Florida Keys.  Swimming across saltwater is not surprising but existing on a xeric, sandy barrier island would not fit the typical habitat of this snake.  Most of the accounts on barrier islands are in the Big Bend region and many know that there are freshwater habitats on some of these islands.  If a cottonmouth could reach the island, there could be a suitable habitat for them.  But you could argue that these habitats are not large enough to support a large population.  The carry capacity of a population is determined by the amount of space and resources available.  Cottonmouths are opportunistic feeders – so, finding food would not be a big issue – but with limited acreage of needed freshwater the carrying capacity would be lower, and populations of cottonmouths lower as well.  Then there is Seahorse Key.  

Seahorse Key Photo: Courtesy of flicker

Seahorse Key is 3 miles southwest of Cedar Key and can only be accessed by boat.  It is said that the density of cottonmouths is higher there than anywhere in the state.  Dr. Coleman Sheehy (University of Florida) stated they typically encountered 30 snakes while conducting beach walk surveys and they estimated about 600 cottonmouths on the island.  The fact that cottonmouths were there was not surprising, but the high density – in a habitat not really suitable for such – was. 

There is another story on addressing that issue you can read at  – https://nwdistrict.ifas.ufl.edu/nat/2015/08/07/the-mystery-on-seahorse-key/.    

Depending on which source you use, there are up to three subspecies of cottonmouths found in the U.S.  The Florida cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorous conanti) is the one found on Seahorse Key, the rest of peninsula Florida, and in the panhandle as far west as Gulf County.  The eastern cottonmouth (A.p. piscivorous) is found from Bay County west to Escambia County on the Florida/Alabama line, and north into the coastal plains of Alabama and Georgia.  The western cottonmouth (A.p. leucostoma) is found from the Alabama/Florida line west to Texas and north to Arkansas.  Dr. Harvey Lillywhite (University of Florida), and others, were curious as to whether the Florida cottonmouth was adapting to saltwater.  An interesting question and, again, how these snakes are surviving and thriving on Seahorse Key is a part of understanding this story.  In recent years there has been a push to declare the Florida cottonmouth its own species – Agkistrodon conanti.  The Florida Museum of Natural History’s history article1 on cottonmouths list as such.  Dr. Steve Johnson’s article2 lists the snake as Agkistrodon piscivorous and leaves it there, not dividing into subspecies.  Many current researchers agree with the identification of A. conanti for the Florida cottonmouth – the one found on the islands of the Big Bend – and the one of interest in whether it is adapting to saltwater environments.  That brings me back to the project we are planning to begin in 2024 in the western panhandle. 

Cottonmouths definitely exist on the barrier islands in Escambia County.  We have two islands – Santa Rosa Island and Perdido Key.  There are freshwater sources on both islands and suitable habitat for cottonmouths.  The swim from the mainland to reach these islands is much shorter than for those at Seahorse Key.  At Perdido Key a swim of 600 feet would allow a snake to reach the island – easy.  The swim from Perdido Key to Santa Rosa Island is less than a mile (about 4000 feet) but the currents in Pensacola Pass are strong and the likelihood of a cottonmouth accessing Santa Rosa Island this way would be low.  However, there are many locations along Santa Rosa Island where the swim would be no more than a mile from the mainland and some, in Okaloosa County, the trip could be made in about 800 feet.  Island access is easy. 

As the Escambia County Extension Agent, I handle the snake calls that come to our office – and there are a lot of them.  In recent years there has been concern from some Perdido Key residents with the number of cottonmouths they are encountering.  One of their questions was whether this was an unusually high encounter rate – Seahorse Key all over.  Conducting surveys in their neighborhood in 2019 I encountered cottonmouths 70% of the time – all of them were juveniles or subadults.  I recommended some landscape changes to deter the snakes from their yards and in 2020 the encounter rate dropped to about 40% of the surveys.  However, it did not rain as much in 2020 and this could have affected the snakes as much, if not more, than the landscaping changes.  The freshwater ponds in the neighborhood used by the snakes were small and ephemeral – they did not have water unless rainfall was present.  So, we did another survey in 2021, it rained more, and encounters increased to 50% of the surveys.  The landscaping may have helped some.  In 2021 I also conducted surveys in the nearby state park and found no significant difference in snake encounters (50%) but the time of day for encounters was different and I did find adult snakes in the state park. 

Note here… I get very few calls on cottonmouths from Santa Rosa Island.  Rather their calls are about eastern diamondback rattlesnakes, which are not encountered as much on Perdido Key.  The question we have on the table now is whether the cottonmouths found on Perdido Key are the Florida cottonmouth (A. conanti) – the one some believe may be adapting to saltwater conditions.  According to Whit Gibbons and Mike Dorcas’s Snakes of the Southeast3 Escambia County Florida is the border between the eastern and the western cottonmouth.  This same guide suggests that the Florida cottonmouth does not exist here. 

So here is the project… which species/subspecies of cottonmouths exist on our barrier islands in the western Florida panhandle? 

How do you tell them apart?

The difference between the Florida cottonmouth and the eastern/western are very minor.  This makes identification in the field hard and dangerous.  The Florida cottonmouth will have two distinct stripes running vertically across the front of its snout.  The eastern/western cottonmouth will not have these.  To determine whether these stripes exist requires getting much closer to the snake than is recommended.  THIS IS A DANGEROUS SNAKE AND CLOSE ENCOUNTERS ARE NOT RECOMMENDED.  However, a road killed snake can be examined using a stick at least 12” long.  NOTE: SNAKES, EVEN RECENTLY KILLED, HAVE BEEN KNOWN TO BITE.  DO NOT HANDLE A DEAD SNAKE UNLESS YOU ARE SURE IT IS DEAD.  You may have a camera that can get a good photo of the snout FROM A SAFE DISTANCE (cottonmouths like to rest with their head tilted upwards at a good angle for such a photo). 

You can see the light vertical bands on the snout of this snake indicating it is the Florida cottonmouth. Photo: University of Florida.
Notice the light bands across the snout of this Florida Cottonmouth. Photo: Kristen Grace.
This cottonmouth has a uniform coloration across the snout – indicating that it is an eastern cottonmouth. Photo: Ricky Stackhouse.

We are planning a program on this project in early April for Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties.  If you are in Okaloosa, Walton, or Bay counties and would like the program presented there – let me know. 

Rick O’Connor – roc1@ufl.edu


1 Florida Museum of Natural History


2 Florida Snakes. Cottonmouth or Water Moccasin.  University of Florida Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation.  UF Wildlife – Johnson Lab. https://ufwildlife.ifas.ufl.edu/snakes/cottonmouth.shtml.

3 Gibbons, W., Dorcas, M. 2005. Snakes of the Southeast.

Pensacola Snake Watch – 2023 3rd Quarter Update

Pensacola Snake Watch – 2023 3rd Quarter Update

Since last year we have been logging reports from area residents of snake encounters.  The purpose of this is education.  We are learning which species people most frequently encounter, what time of year different species are encountered, and where they are being encountered.  Here is the 2023 3rd Quarter Update. 

To date – we have encountered 24 of the 40 species (60%) known to inhabit the Pensacola Bay area. 

The most frequently encountered snake has been the cottonmouth.  This species has been encountered 45 times.  It has been seen every month this year and at the following locations – north and south Escambia County as well as north and south Santa Rosa County. 

The cottonmouth. Photo: Ricky Stackhouse.

The second most frequently encountered snake has been the southern black racer.  This species has been encountered 35 times and every month except January.  Locations reporting this snake included – north and south Santa Rosa County, as well as north and south Escambia County. 

Southern Black Racer. Photo: Ricky Stackhouse.

The third most frequently encountered snake has been the banded water snake.  This species has been encountered 26 times and 25 of those were last winter and spring – the snake was only reported once during the summer and has not been reported this fall.  It was encountered from north and south Santa Rosa County as well as north and south Escambia County. 

The banded water snake is one of the more commonly encountered water snakes. Photo: Rick O’Connor

Reports by snake groups…

Small Snakes – 4 of the 7 species (57%) have been encountered.  The most common have been the Florida red-bellied snake and the Southern ring-necked snake.  These have been reported from north Escambia County, south Escambia County, north Santa Rosa County, Pensacola, Milton, and UWF. 

Florida Red-bellied snake. Photo: James Cutler.

Mid-Sized Snakes – 5 of the 8 species (63%) have been encountered.  The most common has been the Eastern garter snake.  It has been reported from north Santa Rosa County, south Escambia County, south Santa Rosa County, and north Escambia County. 

The eastern garter snake is one of the few who are active during the cold months. Photo: Molly O’Connor

Large Snakes – 6 of the 7 species (86%) have been encountered.  The most common has been the Southern black racer followed by its close cousin the Eastern coachwhip.  The only large snake not encountered so far this year has been the Eastern indigo snake, which is a threatened species and encounters in the wild have not been documented since the late 1990s.  Coachwhip encounters have occurred from south Escambia County, north Santa Rosa County, and south Santa Rosa County.

Eastern Coachwhips are long and thin, and most adults have a dark head and upper body. The rest of the body is tan or brown and the scale pattern on the tail resembles a braided bullwhip. Photo by Nancy West.
The eastern indigo snake is the largest nonvenomous snake in the southeast. Photo: Molly O’Connor

Water Snakes – 4 of the 13 species (31%) have been encountered.  The most common has been the Banded water snake followed by the Brown water snake.  The Brown water snake has been encountered on the Choctawhatchee River, Perdido River, Blackwater River, Escambia River, and south Escambia County. 

Venomous Snakes – all 4 venomous species in our area have been encountered (100%).  The most common has been the Cottonmouth followed by the Eastern diamondback rattlesnake.  The diamondback has been encountered from south Escambia County, north Santa Rosa County, and south Santa Rosa County.  With high interest in venomous snakes, the other encounters include the Dusky pygmy rattlesnake, which has been encountered from south Escambia County, and north Santa Rosa County.  The Eastern coral snake has only been encountered once and that was from south Santa Rosa County. 

Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake. Photo: Bob Pitts.
Dusky pygmy rattlesnake. Photo: Jessica Bickell.
Eastern coral snake. Photo: Joe Burgess.

Rare Encounters – those that have only been encountered once this year…

Rough earth snake was encountered during September from south Escambia County. 

Rough green snake was encountered during August from north Santa Rosa. 

Eastern hognose was encountered during July from north Santa Rosa. 

Eastern kingsnake was encountered in February from north Escambia County.

Eastern coral snake was encountered in June from south Santa Rosa County. 

Florida pine snake was encountered during the winter and spring from north Santa Rosa County.

Seasonal Encounters

Winter – 57 encounters, 13 species.

Spring – 89 encounters, 20 species.

Summer – 52 encounters, 18 species. 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Considering Protection for Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnakes and Could Use Your Help

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Considering Protection for Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnakes and Could Use Your Help

This sounds similar to the idea that has been discussed about protecting some species of sharks.  Do we really want to do this? 

It reminds me of an interesting situation that was created when they passed the Marine Mammal Act in 1972.  The law seemed simple enough.  Citizens wanted to protect our marine mammals – such as whales, dolphins, and manatees.  But it also included the polar bear, a dangerous animal.  If you lived in a community where polar bears existed, and had one enter town that could possibly be a threat to the citizens, could you shoot it?  A colleague of mine had a brother who worked with Alaska Fish and Game.  We asked this question.  He told us that – yes, if you were threatened by one you would shoot it.  But you would have to defend yourself in court that it was defense and that you were not actively hunting the bear. 

It seems odd to some that we would even consider protecting a creature that is potentially lethal to humans.  But, as has been said so many times before, though they are potentially lethal, they rarely are.  Rattlesnakes are different from polar bears in they do not seek us out when they are near us.  They actually try to avoid us.  In the United States only 5-6 people die each year from venomous snakes bites1.  Comparing this to the number who die in car accidents, gun violence, or opioid overdose, there is no comparison.  So, though the potential is there it is a very low risk.  We can also note that many who bitten by snakes were trying to catch or kill the animal. 

On the other side of the coin, these animals do us a service by controlling disease caring rodents.  When predators select and kill prey, they tend to select one that is easy to catch and kill.  Most predators not only have teeth, but hands and claws to grab the prey.  The only thing a snake can do when it sees a rodent is grab it with its mouth and hold on.  Many snakes do this, almost 90% of those in Florida do.  But a few have venom.  This can be injected into the prey so that the snake does not have to hold on, making the process much easier.  It makes sense for snakes to have venom and is surprising that more do not.  However, this venom was meant for killing prey, not for defending against predators.  And rattlesnakes, like other venomous snakes, do not want to use it on humans if they can avoid it.  As my professor told us in college venom is “expensive”.  It is a complex cocktail of proteins they must produce, and they do not want to waste it. 

So, though it seems strange that a state or federal agency would even consider protecting dangerous animals, they do.  These creatures play a vital role in the ecology of local systems and if their numbers decline that role is not filled and the spin-off results could have larger negative impacts on us. 

The U.S. Fish Wildlife Service has been petitioned to list the eastern diamondback rattlesnake (Crotalus adamanteus).  This animal inhabits several habitats within the coastal southeastern United States.  The National Council of Air & Stream Improvement, Inc. – a scientific research organization that provides technical information on environmental issues concerning forestry and forestry products – is conducting a survey to better understand its distribution and habitat preferences.  They are asking people to report sightings of this snake.  You can do so by visiting the following link.  Please take photos. 


If you have questions about the project or survey, you can contact Angie Larsen-Gray at alarsen-gray@ncasi.org.


1 Johnson, S.A. 2020.  Frequently Asked Questions About Venomous Snake Bites. UF Wildlife – Johnson Lab.  Department of Wildlife Conservation. University of Florida.  https://ufwildlife.ifas.ufl.edu/venomous_snake_faqs.shtml#:~:text=The%20chances%20of%20dying%20from,will%20die%20from%20snakebite%20(5%2D.

The eastern diamondback rattlesnake is a classic serpent found in xeric habitats like barrier islands and deserts. They can be found in all habitats on barrier islands. Photo: Bob Pitts