Snake fungal disease found in Georgia

Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014 2:09 PM
Last updated Friday, Aug 29, 2014 9:00 PM
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A mud snake found last month near Statesboro, Ga., tested positive for snake fungal disease.  SPECIAL
SPECIAL
A mud snake found last month near Statesboro, Ga., tested positive for snake fungal disease.

Georgia’s snake population could be threatened by a deadly fungal disease found in a wild snake in Bulloch County.

A mud snake tested positive last month for snake fungal disease, a skin dermatitis that causes scabs, crusty scales, nodules, abnormal molting and other changes to the snake’s skin. According to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Georgia-based nonprofit The Orianne Society, which focuses on conserving imperiled snakes,
discovered the emaciated snake at a blackwater swamp near Statesboro.

Snake fungal disease was first reported in a captive black rat snake from Sparta, Ga., in 2006. It has since turned up in the eastern and midwestern United States. At least eight species have been infected.

Georgia Department of Natural Resources says the overall impact of the disease on snake populations is not yet known, although it has decimated populations in other states. In an eastern massasauga rattlesnake population in Illinois, all of the infected snakes died. The disease led to a 50 percent decline of timber rattlesnakes in New Hampshire.Wildlife biologist Jessica McGuire, of the Georgia DNR Nongame Conservation Section, said it’s possible all of the state’s snakes are susceptible to the disease, although more research is needed. Because mud snakes are normally solitary animals, the incident could signal the disease spreads easily.

Some scientists have compared the snake disease to a fungal disease that has killed an estimated 5.7 million hibernating bats, including some in Georgia. The fungus related to white-nose syndrome, which was confirmed in Georgia in 2013, and the fungus infecting snakes both occur naturally in soil.

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Stunned 2
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Stunned 2 08/26/14 - 02:38 pm
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Good

Good

historylover
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historylover 08/26/14 - 02:40 pm
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Snakes

I sure don't like them very much, but the thought of all of them being killed off is terrible. Can you only imagine the amount of rodents and other problem animals that would be allowed to flourish if we didn't have snakes? I certainly hope this does not become an epidemic in the south!

happychimer
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happychimer 08/26/14 - 03:26 pm
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I agree with historylover.

I agree with historylover.

hoptoad
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hoptoad 08/26/14 - 04:25 pm
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I know a lot of people,

I know a lot of people, drivers being many of them, who go out of their way to kill snakes. I don't like them, but they are very important to the balance of our ecological system

This is not a good thing.

Stunned 2
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Stunned 2 08/26/14 - 04:55 pm
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Geez....Stray Cats work better for rodent control in my neck of

the woods (Suburbs). Call me a snake hater if you want to.

happychimer
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happychimer 08/26/14 - 06:06 pm
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There is plenty of room on

There is plenty of room on this planet for all of God's creatures. Maybe UGA Veterinary School will be consulted. They took care of my ball-python. He was referred there by his regular dr. They are very good.

NoCatchyName
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NoCatchyName 08/26/14 - 07:15 pm
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If we loose our snakes we

If we loose our snakes we will be up to our armpits in rats, mice, and frogs in no time at all.

itsanotherday1
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itsanotherday1 08/26/14 - 07:20 pm
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Dittos Nocatchy.

Dittos Nocatchy.

Fiat_Lux
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Fiat_Lux 08/27/14 - 01:27 pm
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Losing these and losing bats

will be devastating for us humans. There are other animals that help keep the vermin and destructive insect populations in check, but losing one of the main agents of control can sure tip the balance in favor of the baddies.

Think plague and typhus and dengue fever and malaria, not to mention what might happen to our agriculture.

corgimom
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corgimom 08/27/14 - 02:12 pm
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They need to take a sick

They need to take a sick snake down to the Everglades to get rid of the pythons.

I like snakes, except for the ones that take me by surprise.

My backyard is Snake Heaven- two ponds, lots of groundcover, watered a lot, and trees that drop leaves and form a nice damp surface.

My husband got out the ladder a couple of weeks ago- it's stored under the deck- and there was a 3' long snake skin on it.

We find them in the trees and bushes, too.

AutumnLeaves
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AutumnLeaves 08/27/14 - 02:19 pm
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I don't mind snakes as long

I don't mind snakes as long as they stay outside of my house, car, shed, especially the two-legged kind.

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