A rare fungal pathogen killing snakes elsewhere has reached Tennessee rattlesnakes, according to biologists there. Afflicted snakes often have a deformed head that impairs their vision and feeding. The reptiles play an important role in their ecosystems because they control rodent populations. Illnesses in wildlife often have broad implications, notes wildlife veterinarian Matthew Allender. "Wildlife diseases and human health are not that different, and often wildlife are our window into a weakened environment that leads to disease in both people and animals," Dr. Allender said.
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