What is slithery, brown, and doesn’t mind being picked up? A Saint Lucia racer! Along with all of these things, the Saint Lucia racer is also the world’s most endangered snake.
An extensive 5 month survey found only 18 specimens living on an islet off Saint Lucia.
The drop in population was due to the mongoose, an invasive species – one brought to the island by humans.
This snake was thought to be extinct for close to 40 years before their rediscovery.
In 1973, a single snake was found on Maria Mojor Island, a protected islet free of the mongooses who killed off the Saint Lucia population.
“Tens if not hundreds of West Indian animals have already been lost because humans have unwisely released harmful species from other parts of the world, and we cannot allow the gentle St. Lucia racer to be the next casualty,” says Jenny Daltry, Senior Conservation Biologist with Flora & Fauna International.
Conservationists are modeling their approach to save this rare snake off previous conservation efforts to save Antiguan racer. In 1990 there were only 50 Antiguan racers left in the wild; today there are 900!
Removing invasive predators, such as mongoose and rats, education of the local people, and introducing the snakes to different habitats saved the Antiguan racer, and these approaches will hopefully save the Saint Lucia racer from extinction.
Want to know more? Find the full story here: Meet the world’s rarest snake: only 18 left