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The return of the Eastern Racer to Vermont; successful conservation through proactive project development and interagency collaboration


During fieldwork for the Vermont Reptile and Amphibian Atlas Project, a population of Eastern Racers (Coluber constrictor) was found utilizing a parcel of state land managed by the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) in southeastern Vermont along Interstate 91. This species was thought to have been extirpated from Vermont for nearly 20 years. Until 2003, the last positively identified Racer in Vermont was a road-killed specimen in Putney in 1985. But the recent discovery along I-91, resulting in the species being listed as State Threatened in Vermont, proves that a few hardy individuals are making their way back to the northern fringes of their geographic range. To date, a minimum of eight individuals have been identified in Vermont, and researchers feel that this is a very encouraging sign that the Racer is making a comeback in Vermont.

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