Louisiana Pine Snake now listed as 'threatened' by US government
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The federal government has announced a "threatened" listing for a burrowing snake found only in Louisiana and Texas.
The Louisiana pine snake is a 5-foot-long 5 (1.5-meter-long) constrictor found in a few longleaf pine forests in four Louisiana parishes and five Texas counties.
It eats pocket gophers and lives in their burrows.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature has listed it as endangered since 2007. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced its listing Thursday, opening a 30-day comment period.
Elsie Bennett of an endangered species nonprofit called the Center for Biological Diversity calls it a great first step. The group sued to make the Interior Department decide the snake's status and that of hundreds of other species on the agency's list of candidates for protection.