A research team in China has artificially bred a rare snake species, elaphe perlacea, for the first time, thepaper.cn reported.
Elaphe perlacea, hailed as the most beautiful snake in the world, is a mild and non venomous snake species.
It was first spotted by the U.S. scholar Leonhard Stejneger in southwestern China’s Sichuan province 98 years ago. It remained undiscovered for the next couple of decades. Some people even doubted its existence.
The snake was later spotted in 1980, 1987, and 1988. Ding Li, the leader of the Chinese research team, who is also a researcher with the Chengdu Institute of Biology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, confirmed the snake as a unique species in 2017.
According to Ding, less than 30 elaphe perlacea have been found in the recent century. Even pictures of the mysterious snake are very precious, let alone artificial breeding, Ding added.
Ding captured the snake three years ago, and he finally made a breakthrough in the artificial breeding of the species after three years of hard work. The first batch of snake eggs was hatched recently.
Ding believes the snakes could make good pets for reptile lovers, but people should not capture them from the wild, since they might face extinction once their habitats are destroyed.
Scientists usually omit the location of such discoveries in media reports and scientific literature, because poachers can trace the rare animals through such documents. The practice has become an unwritten norm in academia.
Currently, elaphe perlacea is not a protected species.