Reptiles are very sensitive to climate change and many of them are endangered and therefore require urgent conservation actions.
Climate change is an increased threat to life on Earth and mainly to biodiversity. This change has affected several physiological and ecological processes thus causing the modification of the distribution and the persistence of several species in their environments. The effects of climate change on biodiversity have been widely assessed from different angles. These assessments have been exploring the ability of species to adapt to new conditions, to move, to expand, or otherwise to shrink. They are crucial in efforts to conserve biodiversity.
Particularly, reptiles are very sensitive to climate change (thermal and rainfall), which negatively affects their biological processes and especially their reproduction.
Of 60 reptile species on the IUCN list of most threatened species, up to 11 species could be lost by 2040 unless management improves. Australia alone is home to around 10% of the world’s reptile species from which good conservation management must begin.
For snakes, for example, the increase in temperature and the decrease in the rate of precipitation have negatively affected their reproduction since their nests had lost the moisture necessary for the embryonic development of the eggs.
Seawater levels rising resulting in flooding can also cause massive death of snakes during winter. Indeed, mass mortality events have increased considerably for reptiles in general since the 1970s.
For Greek Meadow Viper, a cold-adapted species inhabiting the Pindus mountains in Greece and Albania, a recent study estimated that it would lose 90% of its current habitats by 2080. So urgent actions of conservation need to be implemented to avoid the extinction of this species as it is already an endangered species with a narrow ecological niche.
Other research has suggested that the snake community may also depend on the loss of amphibians. Snakes that declined may have struggled to change regimes, as amphibians declined and prey availability changed.