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UT News

The snakes among us

Dr. Travis LaDuc helps students learn about urban ecosystems by studying the snakes of Waller Creek, the watershed that runs through campus.

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Dr. Travis LaDuc, assistant curator of herpetology for the Texas Natural Science Center, studies water snakes as they slither around in Waller Creek beneath our gazes and the shadow of Darrell K Royal Texas-Memorial Stadium.

Don’t worry, the snakes are non-venomous.

Since 2006, LaDuc and others, including current and former students from the university’s Vertebrate Natural History course, have been capturing and radio-tagging the snakes in Waller Creek to better understand their biology in our urban ecosystem.

Snakes like these are good ecosystem indicators and can help The University of Texas at Austin ecologists understand how wildlife are adapting to our urban ways.