Sunday, September 17, 2017

As the Climate Warms, Snakes Could Slither North

Add 'venomous snakes' to the list of climate change risks.

Rattlesnake (Reporting credit: Justyna Bicz/ChavoBart Digital Media.) Click to Enlarge.
Venomous snakes are among the most feared animals in the world, and they may start slithering into new places.

Yanez-Arenas:  “So as our climate changes, so too will the potential for a species to expand their ranges and come in contact with people they never will have before.”

Carlos Yanez-Arenas is a professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico.  In 2015, while a post-doc at the University of Kansas, he used climate models to predict where dozens of species of snakes will be able to live by 2050.

He found that with warmer temperatures, many snakes, such as copperheads and some species of rattlesnake, will be able to survive farther north than in the past.  How far the snakes move will depend on how much the climate warms.

For example, if carbon emissions are limited and warming is minimal, the copperhead could move into Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and parts of Illinois.

But if emissions are not reduced and warming continues unchecked, the venomous copperhead could be able to live in Michigan, New York, and parts of New England.

More snakes could mean more snake bites – that’s bad news for people who enjoy spending time outdoors.

Read more at As the Climate Warms, Snakes Could Slither North

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