From: Associated Press
Published September 28, 2006 12:00 AM

Mexican Garter Snake in Danger

PHOENIX — An environmental group claims the Mexican garter snake is in danger of extinction after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declined to designate it as an endangered species.

"As is the case with the Pygmy owl, the Bush administration is perfectly willing to let the Mexican garter snake go extinct in the U.S.," Noah Greenwald, conservation biologist with the Center for Biological Diversity, said after Tuesday's federal decision.

The snake is dependent on the dwindling rivers and streams of the southwest U.S. and northern Mexico. But experts say the snake's numbers have steadily declined from the Colorado, Gila and much of the Santa Cruz and San Pedro rivers due to the deteriorating habitats and the spread of non-native species such as bullfrogs, sunfish and bass.

The snakes reach a maximum length of one meter, range in color from olive to olive-brown to olive-gray, and have three yellow stripes that run the length of the body.

They feed primarily on native frogs and fish, but also occasionally eat lizards and mice.

Source: Associated Press

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