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Minnesota River Reptile Project Update

The Minnesota River Reptile Project is in its third year and is a collaborative effort between Jeff LeClere and Carol Hall of the Minnesota Biological Survey and Lisa Gelvin-Innvaer and Mike Worland of the Region 4 Nongame Wildlife Program. Jeff LeClere has summarized this year's work so far!

"Our five-lined skink (Plestiodon fasciatus) study has been running smoothly. Every year we continue capture and insert passive integrated transponder (PIT) tags into more skinks. During this project we have also been searching for gophersnakes (also known as bullsnakes - Pituophis catenifer) for the radio-telemetry portion of the project. The first two years we were only able to locate one juvenile despite extensive searches in areas with previous records. It is clear that gophersnakes have declined in these areas. This year we were able to locate some on nearby private land, and I am very happy to report that we are up to five gophersnakes with transmitters! Tracking one snake helped lead us to more snakes. Through radio-telemetry, we hope to identify key habitat features, such as nesting and overwintering sites, and to provide some information to area land managers. Also, hopefully, tracking these snakes will help inform us of actions needed to conserve this and other prairie species in the Minnesota River Valley."