Oct. 11, 2013
First case of Snake Fungal Disease verified in South Carolina
A copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix) that was found in Spartanburg County has tested positive for Snake Fungal Disease (Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola). This is the first verified case of Snake Fungal Disease in South Carolina.
Scientists from the Copperhead Institute retrieved a Copperhead from Spartanburg County that exhibited symptoms of fungal infection. The snake subsequently died and was submitted to the United States Geological Survey’s (USGS) National Wildlife Health Center, where a necropsy was performed. Results indicate the presence of Snake Fungal Disease and dehydration as the cause of death.
"The emergence of Snake Fungal Disease is of great concern. It is being detected more and more frequently in wild populations," said S.C. Department of Natural Resources herpetologist Will Dillman. "Those populations may not be well equipped to deal with a novel pathogen. Its association with significant population declines in some species is troubling."
Snake Fungal Disease has been identified as a potential threat to wild snakes and has been associated with significant population declines in some species in the Northeast. Some species of snakes seem to be more susceptible to the pathogen. The USGS reports that increased numbers of snakes from the eastern and mid-western United States are showing signs of fungal dermatitis and are being submitted to the National Wildlife Health Center.
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