Many of us would like to have a hand in protecting Florida's wildlife. Now you can. The state is asking for your help to study three types of snakes that may be in danger.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is considering placing the Florida Pine Snake, the Southern Hognose Snake and the Short Tailed Snake on the federal endangered species list.
To see how the snakes are doing and if they have dwindled in numbers significantly, the state is asking you to let them know if you spot one by reporting it on the FWC website . ( http://tbo.ly/1eNftrS )
"If anyone sees a snake like this they are to try and photograph it and get the GPS coordinates if they can," said Glenn Bartolotti, a FWC snake survey field technician.
One of the main reasons these snakes are beginning to decrease in numbers is because their habitats are slowly being destroyed by construction of new housing, strip malls and roadways.
"When these animals don't have the habitat they need, they cannot survive," Glenn said.
All these snakes are non-venomous and play important role in our backyards. They eat insects and other pests, helping to control their numbers. "A lot of times these get killed for no good reason," Glenn said.
Here's how you identify the three different species of snakes:
The Florida Pine can grow up to seven feet and is usually white, tan, or rusty ground color and dark blotches that are more distinct towards the rear of the body.
"They act very aggressive when first seen. They will hiss very loudly and they will strike," Glenn said.
The Southern Hognose is a smaller snake, usually less than two feet in size. It has a a sharply upturned snout that helps it burrow underground.
"The hognose snake will play dead and you can see it acts like it's convulsing and if you flip it over, it will flip right back over, but it's perfectly fine," Glenn said.
The Short Tailed snake is usually less than 26 inches long, thin, and a small head. Because if it's small size it spends a lot of time underground and many people may not even notice them.
The state has until 2015 to complete its research. That's when we'll find out if these snakes are endangered or just moving to less populated areas.