LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Back in March, the Ellen Trout Zoo gave us an in-depth look into their Louisiana Pine Snake breeding program and the very rare critters it protects.
Just this month, the program is seeing this year's results with the first eggs starting to hatch.
The pine snakes first started hatching about two weeks ago, with the newest ones taking their first breaths Friday morning.
According to Mike Nance, the zoo's veterinarian, these snakes lay an average of four eggs but can lay up to nine.
The egg then incubates for two months before hatching.
Nance added that having 100 snakes in the program would allow the staff to start achieving their ultimate goal.
"These births are significant," Nance said. "And, right now, we're hoping to be able to save the species. This is going to be an insurance population at this point. So, that they will exist, and then, hopefully down the road, we're going to start looking for appropriate places to re-release them back into East Texas. That's where they came from, that's where we hope to see them again."
The only other three Louisiana Pine Snake breeding programs can be found in Memphis, New Orleans, and Fort Worth.
Lufkin's zoo is also the only place where the Texas and Southern Louisiana subspecies of the Louisiana Pine Snake are found in captivity.