Snakes are an important part of the ecosystem -- even though many people might think they'd be happier if they could go outside without having to worry about meeting one. The environment is changing in a way that makes it difficult for snakes to survive, as evidenced by declining snake populations.
Decreasing Snake Population
Substantial research has been done to document that the population of snakes is decreasing in many areas across the world.. Studies of the snake population in the United States are not as in-depth as those done in Europe and Africa, but evidence exists to show the decreases in population that have been documented in Europe and Africa are also occurring in the U.S. Studies that are performed in the U.S. are typically regional rather than covering the entire country. Snake population decline has been documented in many states.
Snakes in Decline
Not all species of snakes are equally facing population decline. Commonly found, highly adaptable snakes are less likely to face a decline than those that are relatively rare, can only eat specific, limited diets or live in a very specific environment. The southern hog-nosed snake is declining in population throughout the southern United States even as imported and highly adaptable pythons and boas have steadily increased in population. The snakes who have increased in population are well suited to the climate and changing environments in the areas they're in. These are considered to be invasive snake species.
Causes of Population Decline
Pesticides, changing climates and the transition many areas of the country are making from rural to suburban or urban are all thought to be factors affecting the snake population in the U.S. and around the globe. Snake populations that only consume a specific type of diet or that live in a very specific environment can be devastated when construction and urban spreading disrupt or destroy the environmental elements they need to survive. Pesticides can poison snakes or kill off the animals those snakes eat.
Problems with Snake Population Decline
Snakes are an important part of many ecosystems, whether or not the average person realizes it. Snakes are predators who eat mice, rats, insects, small amphibians and reptiles. Without snakes to keep these populations in check, they can get out of control. Snakes are also a food source for larger predators.
Jen Davis has been writing since 2004. She has served as a newspaper reporter and her freelance articles have appeared in magazines such as "Horses Incorporated," "The Paisley Pony" and "Alabama Living." Davis earned her Bachelor of Arts in communication with a concentration in journalism from Berry College in Rome, Ga.