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Species at Risk

Eastern Ratsnake

Elaphe obsoleta

Eastern Ratsnake basking in the sun.
Eastern Ratsnake basking in the sun.
© Parks Canada

The Eastern Ratsnake is found in Ontario and is the largest snake in Canada. It is harmless to humans. Habitat loss due to agriculture and urbanization is the main reason for the species' decline. Parks Canada is working with partners to protect this species.



Melissa NAME: Melissa
POSITION: Species at Risk Assistant
LOCATION: St. Lawrence Islands National Park of Canada

I began working for Parks Canada in 2002 and I have dedicated a majority of my time to the Eastern Ratsnake, which COSEWIC has designated as threatened. I have always had a passion for the environment and conservation, so working with Parks Canada has integrated well with my lifestyle and values. I find that a large majority of people who work for Parks Canada do so because they have a sincere concern for conservation and this reflects in the workplace.

With new projects and funding, efforts to increase and protect the Eastern Ratsnake population are strengthening. St. Lawrence National Park has recently acquired new land, which also presents the opportunity to explore further options for species protection and public education. Partnerships with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, the Queen’s University Biological Station and regional landowners have enhanced the success of Eastern Ratsnake projects within and adjacent to park boundaries.

To continually assist the Species at Risk program within Parks Canada and specifically St. Lawrence Islands National Park, I would like to see a consistent and dedicated effort made to involve regional residents and other stakeholders in park projects. Their enthusiasm, positive actions and support can dramatically alter the dire outlooks for many species at risk.