Louisiana Pine Snakes hatched at Ellen Trout Zoo released into wild

Louisiana Pine Snake
Louisiana Pine Snake(Ellen Trout Zoo)
Published: May. 5, 2023 at 4:04 PM CDT
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LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - Nearly two dozen Louisiana Pine Snakes hatched at the Ellen Trout Zoo were released into the wild.

Ellen Trout Zoo Director Gordon Henley and Robert Jackson, the zoo’s collection manager for amphibians and reptiles, traveled to Louisiana to participate in the 2023 release of 20 Louisiana Pine Snakes hatched in human care.

This release is part of a Species Survival Plan and it is considered a consortium managed species. The main population of these snakes are located at the Forth Worth Zoo, Memphis Zoo, Audubon Zoo in New Orleans, and the Ellen Trout Zoo.

Releases began in 2010, when 11 individuals were released. Following the consolidation of the program, releases increased to 25 in 2019, 54 in 2020, 52 in 2021, and 61 in 2022. Upon completion of releases this year, the total for 2023 will be 117. The total number of released animals produced in zoos will be 408.

Wildlife biologists for the US Forest Service monitor the release sites and have recaptured over 42 individuals and have captured 5 offspring that are progeny from the releases. These recaptures and progeny are indicators of the success of the program.

Louisiana Pine Snakes are large, non-venomous constrictors that feed, as adults, primarily on Baird’s Pocket Gophers, and live on sandy soils in vast stands of Longleaf Pines. They are one of the rarest species of snake in North America and are consider Threatened with Extinction by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and Endangered by the IUCN. They are also protected by the states of Texas and Louisiana. Their former range included portions of East Texas, including Angelina County, and areas of western Louisiana. Their current known range is in two small areas within Louisiana.