A Comparison of the Bacteria on the Skin of Pantheropis obsoletus


  • Blaine Swieder


There is a known antifungal bacterium that can be found on the skin of rat snakes, known as Morganella morganii, which was found on the skin of wild rat snakes (Pantheropis obsoletus) according to Hill et al. (2018). In this experiment, the goal was to see if rat snakes in captivity share the same bacteria as rat snakes in the wild. I used three different rat snakes in the Tennessee Technological University Herpetology Collection to determine the bacteria. Following gel electrophoresis, successful rounds of
bacterial colony PCR were sent to obtain a DNA sequence to determine the species of bacterium found by the microbial identification library. After consulting the microbial identification library, I found the species of bacterium of the three rat snakes sampled from the Tennessee Tech Herpetology Collection. From these findings, we can deduce that rat snakes in captivity may have the possibility to carry the same bacteria as wild rat snakes. With further study, we can see if any other snakes within the
Tennessee Technological University Herpetology Collection contain Morganella morganii, and determine whether these bacteria are harmful or beneficial to captive and wild snakes.