Conservation status

The 2002 IUCN Red List includes 36 colubrid species. One species, Alsophis sanctaecrucis, is categorized as Extinct. In addition, 6 species are listed as Critically Endangered; 7 as Endangered; 8 as Vulnerable; 4 as Lower Risk/Near Threatened; and 10 as Data Deficient.

Very few colubrids are legally protected at either the national or international levels, although more regional regulations protect a few more. No colubrid species appear on Appendix I of CITES, only four appear on Appendix II, and three appear on Appendix III. As with most organisms, habitat destruction is probably the leading threat to colubrid snakes throughout most of their range. In addition, however, collection for the pet trade has contributed to the decline of some species, such as the Eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon corais couperi), and some species may be at risk due to their use in the skin trade and other commerce.

Overwhelmingly, it is humans who pose an ongoing threat to many colubrid snakes. However, one species, the brown treesnake (Boiga irregularis), has itself become a severe threat to the native fauna of the Pacific island of Guam. The accidental introduction of this adaptable predator to the island following World War II, apparently as stowaways on military transports, has resulted in the decimation of the native lizards and birds of the island and has resulted in the collapse of the natural food web. Efforts are under way to control this species and to recover the populations of those birds that have not already been completely extirpated.

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