WASHINGTON (CN) – The shovel-nosed snake “swims” just beneath the surface of sands and grabs its prey of desert scorpions, beetles, spiders and crickets from below. The reptile deserves protection, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says, but it will have to dig in and wait.
Other species have priority, the wildlife service says.
The Center for Biological Diversity petitioned for the agency to list the snake under the Endangered Species Act 12 months ago, which has faced a range of threats, including urban development, agricultural practices, collecting, drought, climate change and inadequate enforcement of existing regulations.
Giant solar power facilities and the construction of their transmission lines also appear to be dislocating the snake by covering ever increasing acres of the desert floor.
The agency places species that are precluded from listing by higher listing priorities on a candidate species list which is updated every budget cycle. Each species on the candidate list is given a priority number which correlates to the immediate threat to the species, the length of time the species has been on the candidate list, the population species and other factors which put the most threatened species at the top of the list.