Kirtland’s Snake

Kirtland's Watersnake
Kirtland’s Watersnake

Kirtland’s Snakes inhabit wet  prairies where they spend most of their lives underground in crayfish burrows.

The conversion of wet prairie habitat to support  urbanization and agriculture has resulted in the Kirtland’s Snake being listed as threatened in Illinois.

The USFWS also reviewed  Kirtland’s Snake for federal listing, but ultimately no listing decision was made because data were too sparse for an assessment. To close knowledge gaps, we are:

      • conducting capture-mark-recapture studies at 3 Kirtland’s Snake populations to provide information on abundance, demographics, growth, and survival
      • developing a species distribution model to identify areas with potentially suitable habitat
      • conducting surveys at historical sites to estimate detection and occupancy rates.

Our research enables us to assess the status and distribution of Kirtland’s Snake and inform future conservation decisions.

Read Tyler’s account: Unearthing a fossorial snake