Snakes Headed the Way of the Dinosaur?
Snakes may face fate similar to that of frogs and fish
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 9, 2010 4:49 AM CDT
Updated Jun 13, 2010 2:30 PM CDT
Zoo keepers hold Reggie, a royal python, as they try to scan it during a photo-op in London Zoo,Tuesday, June 1, 2010.   (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
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(Newser) – After more than 150 million years on earth, snakes may be slithering toward extinction. A new study shows snake populations plummeting around the world, with an especially sharp and mysterious drop in 1998. Researchers who tracked 17 snake populations in Africa, Europe, and Australia were "alarmed" to find 11 had declined markedly since 1998—some by up to 90%, BBC reports.

The scientists say they "don't have a clue" what could have happened to snakes in 1998. Female snakes were more affected than males, and snakes living in preserves and parks were especially hard-hit, New Scientist reports. Researchers think climate change, declining habitat quality, and less abundant prey may be factors in the troubling decline.