1,000+ Rare Snakes Found at SFO Property
Thanks to KTVU for letting us know the slithery news that a recent study counted approximately 1,300 snakes on a San Francisco Airport property just across the highway from the terminal.
But don’t worry… this is a good thing.
SFO is considered to have the largest population of the endangered San Francisco garter snakes in a 180-acre wetlands area that’s off-limits to the public. It’s the largest population of the once abundant snake population in any one setting.
Through cooperative efforts with the resource agencies and management of the West-of-Bayshore property, SFO is striving to protect and conserve the populations of San Francisco garter snake and California red-legged frog that occur there.
How did the San Francisco Garner Snake Become Endangered?
San Francisco’s own native snake, the San Francisco garter snake ( Thamnophis sirtalis tetrataenia ) is a subspecies of the common garter snake and was found historically from San Francisco to Santa Cruz. Today, with a wild population limited to coastal San Mateo County and other small pockets, the San Francisco garter snake is considered critically endangered in the wild because of the loss of habitat.
The San Francisco garter snake was listed as a federally-endangered species in 1967 and as a state-endangered species in May 1971 due to habitat loss from urbanization and agricultural conversion in areas of established garter snake populations.
The drainage of ponds and marsh sites where snakes feed, in addition to changes in water quality and/or the introduction of the bullfrog into its ecosystem, has resulted in a corresponding decline in its core foods: the threatened California red-legged frog and the Pacific tree frog.
The captive population, once thriving in the 1990s, went extinct in 2003 when the last remaining snake in captivity died at the San Francisco Zoo, where they were once considered the jewels of the collection.
Read more at Sacramento Fish & Wildlife Office