Lake Erie water snake slithers off the endangered species list


A nonpoisonous Lake Erie water snake is no longer listed as a federally endangered species.

The snake’s numbers plunged as more people settled Lake Erie’s western islands, according to the Toledo Blade.

Populations rebounded after federal and state agencies protected inland and shoreline hibernation and breeding grounds.

Earning federal protection in 1999, the water snake is the 23rd species to be delisted, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

5 thoughts on “Lake Erie water snake slithers off the endangered species list

  1. I honestly have no idea what you are talking about. I know my vocabulary but sometimes I feel like people should “dumb” it down or break it down into simple words.

    Anyways yes, the snakes are located more towards the western islands of lake Erie and towards the Canadian city of Ontario.

  2. Jerry, the scientific name of the Lake Erie Watersnake (LEWS)is Nerodia sipedon insularum. I don’t know where the Irish Hills area is located but you’re not seeing a LEWS. LEWS are ONLY found on the islands in the western basin of Lake Erie (including the Canadian islands such as Pelee, Middle, etc.), not along the mainland shoreline. More likely, you’re seeing the common northern watersnake, Nerodia sipeon sipedon.

  3. I would really like to know what the real name of this snake is, so I could do more study of it. I have seen this snake on my property in the Irish Hills area. Over the years it has been always close to the water and sometimes in it. I’ve never heard of this before and would love to know more about them.

  4. Harold, the population level was estimated to be 1,500 in the mid-1990s. A 2009 estimate was 12,000, well beyond the USFWS recovery goal of 5,555 snakes. Indeed, they are still somewhat at risk because of their extremely limited range, but they will continue to be listed as state endangered. There will also be continued monitoring for another five years to ensure their population levels are at least maintained. If they do go into a decline, they could be relisted. The woman leading the recovery efforts, Kristin Stanford Thomas, has done a wonderful job of education and outreach in the community. Plenty people still do not like snakes – period – but there is now an increased awareness about this special animal. Do a search for “Respect the Snake”.

  5. I was disappointed that the link to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service flyer gave no information about population levels of the Lake Erie Watersnake. How many snakes were estimated to live on the islands when the snake was listed as endangered? What are the population levels now which justify completely removing the snake from federal protection? Given that only a few islands are inhabited by the snake in Lake Erie, it would seem that those populations would still be somewhat at risk, since that is a very limited range.

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