More and more snakes fall prey to a mysterious disease that literally turns a deformed beast into a creepy. At the moment, experts do not fully understand what is happening, writes the Phys.org Science Portal.
According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), a disease called Snake Fungus Disease (SFD) is mainly spread in the eastern parts of the country and is a type of fungus (Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola) the reasons. Currently, the disease appears to only affect snakes, but more observations and research are needed to confirm this.
According to the USGS, the skin of snakes becomes scaly from the infection, ulcers and lumps appear on the body, the infected animal begins to wilt abnormally, and its eyes become blurred. Deformed reptiles become unable to hunt, feed and defend.
Snake numbers in the United States are already in decline due to habitat loss, and this unfavorable trend may be exacerbated by the Social Fund for Development.
Pictures of infected snakes have also been reported by the USGS. These clearly show the physical changes caused by the disease, as if the infected snakes had been transformed into living mummies, most of which had been completely blinded by the fungi.
Researchers at the US Geological Survey are now working to better understand the spread and effects of the Social Fund for Development on American snakes, as well as looking for ways to protect vulnerable populations. Authorities have yet to announce the total number of snake species that may be affected.
O. ophiodiicola was already known to science in the past, but has become especially dangerous in recent years, and its cause is hitherto unknown to those skilled in the field.
The python is not the only group of animals that has begun to wreak havoc in America in recent weeks; Ecologists are finding the carcasses of more and more dead songbirds. Some diseases in poultry carcasses also appear to be similar to those seen in snakes: the eyes of dying animals swell, crust and exhibit neurological symptoms.