Lawsuit Seeks to Protect Wetland-Dependent Midwestern Snake

CHICAGO— The Center for Biological Diversity and Hoosier Environmental Council sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today for denying Endangered Species Act protections to the imperiled Kirtland’s snake.

The small, nonpoisonous snakes boast red-to-pink undersides. They spend much of the year underground, frequently in crayfish burrows, and feed on earthworms, slugs and leeches. Kirtland’s snakes live in seven states — Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio and Tennessee — but have disappeared from 79 of the 139 counties where they were once found. They are gone completely from Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

“These pretty snakes are disappearing along with many other animals as wetlands are destroyed across America’s heartland, and they need federal protection,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director at the Center. “Saving the Kirtland’s snake will also benefit birds, butterflies and people by protecting areas that reduce flooding, store carbon and provide places to view the natural world teeming with life.”

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Urban Wildlands, Government Affairs: Wendy Leung, Senior Media Specialist –, (818) 625-3128

Patrick Sullivan, Media Director,, (415) 632-5316
Russ McSpadden, Creative Media Specialist – Media Photos,

Banner photo Center for Biological Diversity; photo of jaguar by Robin Silver, Center for Biological Diversity