This isn't something any of us want to see but it is the cold reality that snakes face every day across the world - roads. As humans expand their footprint with new developments, energy demands, and farming, roads are built to increase the accessibility of these sites. Roads are bad for all wildlife but especially snakes. Snakes tend to slow down on roads likely to avoid detection from predators that would not normally see them in natural landscapes - this increases their risk on the road from cars, trucks, or even bikes (yes - I have seen snakes that have been run over by bikes). Depending on the level of traffic along a road or barriers along the median, the road may even become a barrier to gene flow. In addition, some species of snakes may not even attempt to cross roads.
So why are we posting a photo of a dead bullsnake? Easy - we need to face the truth that humans are having devastating effects on snake populations. Can we quantify the number of snakes killed on roads annually? Not yet, but we have started some projects locally to try and answer this question. There are lots of variables to consider including searcher efficiency, size of the dead on road snake, longevity of the carcass until it is no longer detectable.
You will be hearing a lot about our Snakes and Roads programs in the near future but we have a simple request to begin with. We want photos of all the dead snakes you find to help us begin to quantify and qualify the anthropomorphic causes of snake mortality. This includes the snakes your cat or dog kills or the snake your neighbor decided was a copperhead. How do we want your photos? Right now, we want them emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org along with the cause of death (if known). As our programs grow, we may need to change how photos are submitted but right now emailing them to us is the most efficient option.
You can also become a member of the Center for Snake Conservation. For as little as $25 annually, you can contribute to this program to start quantifying the human impact on snakes. As a member of the CSC, you will receive our weekly newsletter, SnakeTalk, that will have a monthly update about the snakes reported. You can join the CSC here: www.snakeconservation.org/memberships
Conservation Through Education