Endangered Reptile Gets Assist from Pittsburgh Zoo

By Greenwood, Jill King | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, May 2, 2011 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Endangered Reptile Gets Assist from Pittsburgh Zoo


Greenwood, Jill King, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


For Henry Kacprzyk, there's no such thing as too many snakes.

The curator of Kids Kingdom and reptiles at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium is closely watching four Louisiana pine snake eggs, keeping them at the proper light and temperature, and waiting patiently.

He hopes that a month from now, they'll hatch and become four new members of an endangered species to be reintroduced into the wilds of Louisiana.

"They really are beautiful snakes," Kacprzyk said. "They just reproduce so slowly in the wild, and they need our help."

The snake is found in six small areas in Louisiana and Texas, said Steve Reichling, curator of reptiles at the Memphis Zoo and the Louisiana pine snake coordinator for the American Zoo and Aquarium Association.

But for several years, logging and development increasingly have destroyed its habitat, and the snake's numbers are dwindling.

Reichling said the snake, which typically grows to 5 feet to 6 feet long, is "a very good contender for the most endangered snake in the United States."

The Highland Park zoo keeps three Louisiana pine snakes and is participating in a captive breeding program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife. Now several years old, the program attracted 18 zoos across the country, said Michael Sealy, a biologist with the Fish and Wildlife Service's Louisiana Ecological Services office.

Zoos breed snakes with the hope of getting viable eggs in spring. In all, 22 adult pairs are in the program, Reichling said, and the potential exists for up to 80 eggs to hatch soon.

"That may be too optimistic, but we'll see," he said.

Biologists last year began releasing hatched snakes into fenced and monitored areas of Louisiana. They implant the snakes with computer chips so scientists can track them and their breeding patterns. The snakes begin reproducing after age 3.

Last week, Kacprzyk stood outside Kid's Kingdom as Acadia, an 11- year-old female Louisiana pine snake, wound around his left arm.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Endangered Reptile Gets Assist from Pittsburgh Zoo
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?