Conservation status

The species is considered Endangered by the IUCN. In the late 1980s, surveys of Round Island indicated that the population of splitjaws there numbered several hundred animals and the species was apparently stable and holding its own. Between 1977 and 1984, 11 specimens were taken from Round Island to the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust in the United Kingdom. It was not until two young were hatched there in 1982 that it was realized that the snake is oviparous. From this nucleus, there is now a stable, self-sustaining captive population that is distributed among several zoos. This provides a buffer against the extinction of the species, should something go wrong on Round Island. Keel-scaled splitjaws breed well in captivity, but hatchlings have proved very difficult to raise; they rarely feed voluntarily and must be force-fed until they are large enough to feed on young mice.

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