rarest snake in Northeastern US?

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hunterwayward
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rarest snake in Northeastern US?

Post by hunterwayward » July 10th, 2018, 11:44 am

greetings all,

a reader of my blog (cheap plug: http://southphillyherper.blogspot.com) asked me to write a post on the rarest snake species in the Northeastern United States, but I'm not sure what species that would be. Does anyone have any information or resources? Thanks in advance!
:beer: :mrgreen:

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BillMcGighan
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Re: rarest snake in Northeastern US?

Post by BillMcGighan » July 10th, 2018, 1:18 pm

I'd vote for the South Florida Rainbow Snake (Farancia erytrogramma seminola). Last one seen in the field was 1952.
Florida State Museum says it may be extinct.


Just a note about the word "rare".
To some it means rarely found by herpers.
To some it means in need of protection because populations are small and imperiled.
To some it means, if I can call it that, I can sell it for more money.
To some it means it hasn't been put on the grill long enough. ;)

The South Florida Rainbow qualifies for the first two.

Edit
--- Guess I didn't see NORTHeast :shock: ........ Don't get old... It's not worth it...
Of course, I guess the South Florida Rainbow is even rarer in the Northeast!! :lol: :lol:


This would be a tough call since so many ranges peter out as you travel north and east, and often their habitat requirements make them scarce in one area and common in another.
I grew up in the NE appalchians. On my mountain, Black rats were non existant, yet only 15 miles from me they were common.

Jefferson
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Re: rarest snake in Northeastern US?

Post by Jefferson » July 10th, 2018, 3:12 pm

That's an interesting one for sure.

Not to get too cute about it, but this depends not only on what she considers "rare" (you can hear a million Western Chorus Frogs in Michigan in March and April, but seeing one requires the patience of a sloth waiting for an Uber, Corn snakes are pretty common in some places but use burrows and are only rarely seen on the surface, while salamanders with very small, imperiled home ranges here in Appalachia like the Weller's and Peaks of Otter are pretty easy to find if you know where to look), but also on what states/regions of states she considers "Northeast." If all of Pennsylvania is included, I vote Kirtland's Snake, which is supposed to barely reach into Western PA but hasn't been sighted in the state for some time (zero obs on the PA herp atlas). If she wants a species that has actually been observed in PA in the last decade, I'd go Eastern Massasauga on the same logic. They're not all that rare in other parts of their range, like Michigan, but seeing one in the western quarter of PA would presumably be pretty tough. Then again, extreme Western PA is not necessarily Northeastern. Many people consider that the rust belt, or the Great Lakes, or whatever they deridingly call the region centered on my old home city of Detroit. If it's PA east of the Allegheny Mountain crest and then all the states from NJ/PA north, then I vote Rough Greensnake, which barely pokes into southeast PA. This is a sort of end-run around her query, since the closely related Smooth Green is not imperiled at all in the NE, but hey, a different species is a different species. Honestly, with a question this nebulous, you have a myriad of options to play with.


Jefferson

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Josh Holbrook
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Re: rarest snake in Northeastern US?

Post by Josh Holbrook » July 10th, 2018, 4:30 pm

Coastal Plains Milk might fit the bill.

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hunterwayward
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Re: rarest snake in Northeastern US?

Post by hunterwayward » July 12th, 2018, 12:03 pm

I think she meant rarest = endangered/protected/smallest population. And her range was "northeast US" so from Maryland up through New England, I suppose.

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hunterwayward
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Re: rarest snake in Northeastern US?

Post by hunterwayward » July 12th, 2018, 12:05 pm

also, thanks for the answers so far. Definitely have some room to work with.

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hunterwayward
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Re: rarest snake in Northeastern US?

Post by hunterwayward » July 12th, 2018, 12:39 pm

here's my pick as it's located in New York/the Great Lakes region:

http://earthsendangered.com/profile.asp ... 9&sp=11722

DanW
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Re: rarest snake in Northeastern US?

Post by DanW » July 12th, 2018, 1:50 pm

Fox Snakes species are now roughly divided by the Mississippi River, so Eastern Fox Snake now has a wide range and is not rare.

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mtratcliffe
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Re: rarest snake in Northeastern US?

Post by mtratcliffe » July 12th, 2018, 6:14 pm

If we are including Maryland in the northeast, then the rarest snake in the region is definitely the Rainbowsnake (Farancia erytrogramma). There are only a few dozen records of them from a single county along the Potomac River in Maryland, which is the northernmost extent of their range. And yes, they can still be found there - friends of mine turned one up within the past week.

If Maryland is not included, then I would go with the Mountain Earthsnake (Virginia pulchra), which has a limited and disjunct range within Pennsylvania.

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