Surveys For Kirtland's Snakes in Illinois

Christopher A. Phillips, Andrew R. Kuhns, John A Crawford, Michael J. Dreslik, Jaclyn Adams

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Distribution and abundance are fundamental data required to assess the status of imperiled species. However, the effort required to collect such data varies depending upon the ecology and behavior of the target species. Snakes are among the most difficult taxa to assess because of their cryptic behavior and occurrence at low densities. Even among snakes, there is a gradient of difficulty; whereby fossorial species are the most difficult to sample. Kirtland’s snake is a perfect example of a cryptic fossorial snake restricted to mesic black soil habitats of the prairie peninsula. In Illinois, there are nearly 95 historical records. Because of the enormity of these records, we employed a two-tiered approach to assess the distribution and abundance of Kirtland’s Snake in Illinois. We are employing cover-boards at three known high-density sites and conducting VES at all historical sites over three years. We will present results of the first two years of this study.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMidwest Fish and Wildlife Conference 2020
StatePublished - 2020


  • INHS


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