In the state of Indiana, most snakes would admit that they don’t have many worries in their day to day lives. Indiana is a balanced, mid-level predator-friendly sort of terrain, and the average legless reptilian is granted safe passage through the prairies and woodlands of this Midwest state. However, the times of idyllic existence in relative peace may be coming to an end for Indiana snakes in the wake of a particularly nasty fungal disease.
Indiana’s Department of Natural Resources has released a rather troubling statement recently, delivering sobering news to reptile enthusiasts everywhere. According to a team of researchers from the University of Illinois, 10 counties in Indiana have procured sample specimens of snakes that tested positive for fungal diseases. Among the affected species named are the milk snake, racer snake, queen snake and northern water snake. Symptoms of this fungal blight include lesions of the scales and intestines, facial swelling and outright death. In one study, 13 of 53 snakes tested positive for this fungal affliction.
Perhaps one of the only upsides to this veritable plague upon reptiles is that disease is not transferable to humans. While this disease is not an immediate threat to humans, it doesn’t bode particularly well for humanity in the long run. Snakes are an irreplaceable part of the ecosystem, as they are predators that keep possible pests such as insects and rodents in check. We need snakes, without a doubt.