Snakes catch a break?

Federal officials say the Mexican garter snake should get protections

A snake species native to Arizona and Mexico is a step closer to being protected under the Endangered Species Act.

Biologists from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have placed the Mexican garter snake within a cast of species—282 in all—that the agency has deemed worthy of federal protection.

Fish and Wildlife officials say they think the numbers of the aquatic snake may have dwindled to as low as 10 percent of its former population, though they don’t have the figures nailed down, reported The Associated Press.

The species’ decline is attributed to the encroachment of humans into their habitat of rivers and streams, which have been subject to diversion. Another factor has been the introduction of the non-native American bullfrog, a species that eats the snakes and their prey.