You would think that Louisiana has all the snakes we could ever need, but apparently that is just not the case.

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On their Facebook page, the Ellen Trout Zoo in Lufkin, Texas touted the release of another twenty Louisiana Pine Snakes into the wild of the Kisatchie National Forest in the Louisiana.

Robert Jackson, collection manager-amphibians and reptiles, along with zoo director, Gordon Henley of the Ellen Trout Zoo, made the trip to Louisiana as part of a Species Survival Plan, for the release of these snakes hatched and grown in human care there at the zoo.

Ellen Trout Zoo - Facebook
Ellen Trout Zoo - Facebook

Of course, many like me, are wondering exactly why in the world we would need more snakes in Louisiana.  In my opinion, I wish we didn't have any.  I wish we could catch all we've already got and transport them to other states that feel they would enjoy their company.  But that's where we have to slow our roll.  Apparently, these snakes serve a specific purpose to the Louisiana ecosystem.

Here's Why The Pine Snake Is So Important To The Louisiana Ecosystem

The Pine Snake is one of the rarest snake species on the North American continent. So rare, they are protected in both Texas and Louisiana.  And for anyone who's ever suffered through an infestation of gophers tearing up their yard, they'll be pleased to know these snakes feed on Baird's Pocket Gophers.

Texas Tech University Natural Science Research Laboratory
Texas Tech University Natural Science Research Laboratory

In former days, these large snakes prowled the piney woods of East Texas and Western Louisiana, but in recent years, that range has been reduced to just two small areas of Louisiana, and due to their reduced presence, the gopher population has exploded.  It's the hope that the release of these zoo grown snakes will once again reduce those numbers.

This recent addition of Pine Snakes brings the total to 117 for 2023 alone, but the program began back in 2010 and has proven so successful that the offspring of released snakes have been discovered.

Numbers Of Snakes Released Into Kisatchie Each Year

  • 2010 - 11
  • 2019 - 25
  • 2020 - 54
  • 2021 - 52
  • 2022 - 61
  • 2023 - 117
Wildlife biologists for the US Forest Service monitor the release sites and have recaptured over 42 individuals and have captured 5 offspring that are progeny from the releases.
These recaptures and progeny are indicators of the success of the program.
Louisiana Pine Snakes are large, non-venomous constrictors that live on sandy soils in vast stands of Longleaf Pines.

Check out all these great pictures of these Pine Snakes being released at Kisatchie.

Louisiana Pine Snake Release

The Ellen Trout Zoo helped release over 100 of these endangered snakes into the wild.

Louisiana's 7 Venomous Snakes

Louisiana is home to 48 different species of snakes, but only 7 of those are venomous. These pictures give you a better idea what each of those 7 look like.

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