Lufkin's Ellen Trout Zoo welcomed two new babies Monday.
Two rare Louisiana Pine Snakes hatched after an incubation period of 72 days.
The interesting thing about this hatching is that the baby snakes are the progeny of adult snakes captured in Angelina County. They are part of a small population of Texas specimens that consists of nine snakes - four adults and three juveniles at Ellen Trout Zoo and two adults at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans.
Louisiana Pine snakes have not been found in the wild here in Texas for several years and could possibly be extinct in the Lone Star State.
"These animals are part of a larger breeding program called a SSP (Species Survival Plan of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums), a press release from the zoo stated. "Most of the individuals in this plan are from Louisiana and are being bred at zoos across the country for release in Louisiana in protected area of long leaf pine forest where there is the best chance for their survival."
The snakes are released two ways. With the first method, the animals are released right after they hatch. Another way involves holding offspring that hatch in the summer and "headstarting" them the next April. The animals for the headstarting program are held at the Ellen Trout Zoo.
This is a cooperative effort among zoos for the conservation of the species.
"Louisiana Pine Snakes are a moderately large species of harmless snake related to the Bull and Gopher Snakes but are found only in isolated areas of west central Louisiana and East Texas," the press release stated. "They are thought to be one of the rarest snakes in the United States and are being considered for listing under the Endangered Species Act."
The Louisiana Pine Snakes are on exhibit in the Small Animal Building at the Ellen Trout Zoo.