A salmon-bellied snake (Mastigodryas melanolomus) slips through the undergrowth in Costa Rica. Photo by: Rhett A. Butler, 2009.
A new study has found evidence that snake populations may be declining rapidly worldwide. Looking at 17 distinct snake populations on three continents the study found that 64 percent of the populations saw precipitous drops, while only one population rose. Declines began in 1998, the warmest year on record, pointing to climate change as a possible cause for the population drops. But herpetologists say more research is necessary.
Snakes play a vital role in agriculture by controlling pest populations, especially of rodents. Some animals also depend on them as prey.
To read more about the study: Study points to global snake decline.