Snake Fungal Disease Found in California for First Time

A Milksnake with signs of fungal disease is seen in an undated photo. (Credit: Jeff Lorch/ USGS National Wildlife Health Center.)

A Milksnake with signs of fungal disease is seen in an undated photo. (Credit: Jeff Lorch/ USGS National Wildlife Health Center.)

Snake fungal disease has been confirmed in California for the first time.

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife says Wednesday testing confirmed the disease in an emaciated California kingsnake found in Amador County. The snake was euthanized.

Additionally, the department says the fungus was found this week in a Florida watersnake discovered dead in Sacramento County, suggesting the original case wasn’t isolated.

The department says snake fungal disease is an emerging disease that has been detected in 30 species in the U.S. and Europe.

In the U.S., the fungus has primarily been found in eastern states and the Midwest and was also detected in Idaho last year.

Wildlife officials say it’s unknown for now how the disease will impact the state’s snake populations, but they will be increasing surveillance and taking precautions to make sure it doesn’t spread.

Signs of the disease include scabs, skin ulcers or nodules, crusted scales, discolored scales, cloudy eyes and a swollen or disfigured face.

Those who spot a snake with skin sores and exhibiting unusual behavior should report the sighting to state wildlife officials.

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