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SCB and Honors Biology participate in indigo snake project

Published: 02/15/2015

Auburn University’s chapter of the Society for Conservation Biology (SCB) continued its involvement with the Alabama Indigo Snake Reintroduction Project on Saturday, February 14, 2015. The hope was that we could find some snakes basking around the gopher tortoise burrows that they use as homes in winter. We were especially hoping to find juvenile snakes, as that would indicate the reintroduced population is starting to reproduce. SCB members were joined by some students from the Honors Organismal Biology class so that we had a good sized crowd of 10 students. Our group was met by former DBS Master’s Degree student Jimmy Stiles (currently a member of the indigo snake recovery team), Jimmy’s wife Sierra (also a former DBS Master’s Degree student and member of the team), Dr. David Steen (faculty member from the AU Museum of Natural History) and a Detection Dog (Charlie) trained to find indigo snakes by their scent. The dog’s two-member handling team set up a demonstration so we could see Charlie at work finding snake skins that they had hidden in a couple locations in the forest. Then we pitted the dog team against our group’s snake-finding skills as we searched several areas of the forest for snakes. After about 4 hours of searching, the human and dog teams both came up empty-handed as far as snakes were concerned, although the human team found a couple lizards. We plan on going back on March 7 to continue the hunt (Charlie won’t be there as he has another project he’s working on).

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