Environmental experts have discovered a new threat which arose among snake populations in the US and Europe. This threat is called snake fungal disease, which is caused by a parasitic fungus which attacks snake skin. The disease has already infected 23 species, and none seems to be immune. Therefore, it can quickly turn into a global threat for all the snake species in the world.
The snake fungal disease might be a threat for all snake species on the globe
All experts are extremely worried, as the snake fungal disease seems to be an extremely serious threat. No snake species seems to be safe from it, and it might be possible that all snakes on Earth must already be infected. To know what they have to deal with, researchers developed a study on the infection.
The parasite which causes the snake fungal disease is the fungus called Ophidiomyces ophidiodiicola. Researchers took all the information they had on those species they were aware of being infected, and introduced it into a neural network. What they aimed was to group together the similarities and differences between these species, and thus find out which factors might be responsible for the disease.
Researchers couldn’t tell why the virus attacks only snakes
Unfortunately, the results weren’t really conclusive. This is how they made the frightening realization that all snake species are actually vulnerable to the disease. The database contained both water, land, and tree snakes, and were extremely distinct. It was hard to pinpoint a characteristic common to all, meaning that the disease could attack any kind of snake.
The animals can get rid of the snake fungal disease when they shed their skin. However, many of them don’t get the time to do it, as they often die before this can happen. Either the infection gets to kill them, or it leaves them vulnerable to other threats which prove fatal. This fungus remains a mystery for the researchers, as they don’t know why it only attacks snakes and not other types of reptiles.