Recent Media Coverage

A barfy snake and other reasons to celebrate Endangered Species Day

Thursday May 15, 2014
By Sharon Hill
The Windsor Star

The endangered queensnake is more likely to throw up on you than try to bite you.

And snake vomit aside, the harmless queensnake is a good example of why you should care about it and the many other rare species in Windsor and Essex County during Endangered Species Day Friday.

“If you have endangered species in an area such as the queensnake, it means that there’s high quality habitat which is not only good for the species but it’s good for human health as well,” Tanya Pulfer, Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas Co-ordinator with Ontario Nature, said Thursday.

May 16 is Endangered Species Day in the United States and for the first time the conservation charity Ontario Nature is asking people to celebrate it and the diversity of plants and animals found here. And there’s lots Windsor can celebrate since the region has the most rare species in the province, Pulfer said. There are more than 200 species at risk in Ontario and the Essex region has 88 of them.

The non-venomous queensnake is only found in Canada in five areas of Ontario including a small population near the Detroit River. It needs clean water because it eats crayfish and likes shallow clear water with a rocky bottom.

It’s likely easier for most people to get excited about protecting an endangered orchid or a pretty

But snakes are often in the news here — with stories on the parkway’s protective snake fence or the endangered Butler’s gartersnake that was recently discovered near the site for a new fire hall at Northwood Street and Daytona Avenue.

Pulfer said it may take more time or planning but rare species and development can mix.

“Windsor should be proud of how much it’s done to help conserve habitat for a number of endangered species and that really can be a model of how development and endangered species can coexist with the right planning,” she said.

The Essex region has 88 species at risk including 30 plants, 17 birds and two mammals, the threatened grey fox and the eastern mole, a species of special concern.

There are a handful of turtles along with the endangered Fowler’s toad, the small-mouthed salamander and the common five-lined skink on the list. The rarities continue underwater with 12 fish and eight mussels. There are seven snakes but the only venomous one is the Massasauga rattlesnake.

Click on the map at to find a list of species at risk.

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