But wait a minute...many people said the same thing about Hellbenders in northwestern Georgia, not far from the Alabama border. And, last month, a 14-year old kid fishing for catfish found a Hellbender on his line instead. Let's not start celebrating yet, a single salamander doesn't mean that there are many more animals in the area; we don't want to get excited before we know whether this is just a single and lonely individual or, better yet, representative of a thriving Hellbender population. But, in any case, it's encouraging news.
Lots of Excuses for Few Rattlesnakes. A couple weeks ago, rattlesnake roundups in Texas were quoted as saying that there were few rattlesnakes being rounded up. So few, in fact, that they felt the need to increase the bounty they paid for them. It didn't work. Roundup organizers said they were getting fewer rattlesnakes than usual because of the dry weather. Now Opp, Alabama has had to come up with a few excuses of their own. They are blaming their low numbers of rattlesnakes on warm weather. Dry weather, warm weather, drought, rain...it seems that some will go to great lengths to explain away rattlesnake declines as just another natural cycle. Time will tell whether the habitat destruction that we are causing (not to mention the roundups themselves) is having the bigger impact on rattlesnake population trends.
Alabama Turtles Protected. A few weeks ago I wrote about how Alabama herpetologists had sounded the alarm for freshwater turtles within the State. Throughout the southeastern United States, freshwater turtles were being targeted by commercial harvesters that intended to sell the animals for meat overseas. In response, several states, like Georgia and Florida, enacted rules to protect turtles from this type of harvest. Now, Alabama joins them.
|Not a New Species|
Want to Learn More?
S. P. Graham, & et al. (2011). Conservation Status of Hellbenders (Cryptobranchus alleghaniensis) in Alabama, USA. Herpetological Conservation and Biology, 6 (2), 242-249