The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes listing the short-tailed snake as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Service is also proposing a 4(d) rule to provide for the conservation of the species.
The small non-venomous short-tailed snake (Lampropeltis extenuata) is found in the dry upland sandhills and sand pine scrub of Peninsular Florida. It lives underground and is mostly nocturnal. Development, urbanization, and the perils ofthreaten the snake. Historically the short-tailed snake occurred in 17 counties in Florida, but since 2000 the species has been found in only 11 of those counties.
"Over the last 50 years, the Endangered Species Act has prevented extinctions," said Mike Oetker, acting Regional Director. "Conserving the short-tailed snake is another example of our continued commitment to protecting species and the forest habitats that we all depend on for clean water, clean air, and outdoor recreation."
The Service has determined that designation of critical habitat is prudent, but not currently determinable. When critical habitat is not determinable, the ESA allows the Service an additional year to publish a critical habitat designation. A proposed 4(d) rule would prohibit the following activities regarding the short-tailed snake: importing or exporting; take; possession, and other acts with unlawfully taken specimens; delivering, receiving, carrying, transporting, or shipping in interstate or foreign commerce in the course of commercial activity; or selling or offering for sale in interstate or foreign commerce.
The proposed rule, and supporting materials are available at https://www.regulations.gov at docket number FWS–R4–ES–2023–0158.
The Service seeks comments on this proposed rule until Dec. 4, 2023. Using the Federal eRulemaking Portal, search for docket number FWS–R4–ES–2023–0158. Comments submitted electronically must be received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time. The agency must receive requests for public hearings in writing at the address shown below by Nov. 17, 2023.
The Endangered Species Act provides a critical safety net for fish, wildlife and plants and has prevented the extinction of hundreds of imperiled species, as well as promoted the recovery of many others, and conserved the habitats upon which they depend.
For more information contact Lourdes Mena, Classification and Recovery Division Manager, 352-749-2462, Florida Ecological Services Office, 7915 Baymeadows Way, Suite 200, Jacksonville, FL 32256-7517. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Relay Service at 800–877–8339.
Learn about the short-tailed snake in our Frequently Asked Questions.