Rare black pinesnake wins protection in Mississippi and Alabama under critical habitat lawsuit

Black pinesnake. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

DAPHNE, Ala. (WXXV) — Federal officials say a rare snake has won protection in two states under a critical habitat lawsuit filed by the Center for Biological Diversity.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Tuesday that 325,679 acres of critical habitat in Mississippi and Alabama will be protected for the rare black pinesnake.

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The black pinesnake is a non-venomous constrictor found only in Mississippi and Alabama.

That means federal agencies must consult with the wildlife service for any federally funded or permitted projects to make sure activities do not harm the pinesnake or its habitat.

The new rule will protect critical habitat, including areas in Forrest, George, Greene, Harrison, Jones, Marion, Perry, Stone and Wayne counties in Mississippi and in Clarke County, Alabama.

“The designation of critical habitat for the black pinesnake is a science-based decision that will help move it toward recovery,” said Regional Director Leo Miranda. “I am thankful for all the partners that provided comments to make this rule a much better one for the snake and all the landowners who help protect it.”