Three animals to be removed from Missouri endangered list

JEFFERSON CITY | The conservation commission voted to remove the bald eagle, barn owl and western fox snake from Missouri's endangered species list.

All three will still have state or federal protections. The removal takes effect after a 30-day comment period.

The western fox snake lives in marshes in the northwest and northeast portions of the state. It grows to 4 1/2 feet and eats mice, chipmunks and birds. The snake has been on the endangered species list since 1999 because of habitat loss.

The barn owl has been uncommon in Missouri but is expanding because deforestation along the Mississippi River has improved its habitat.

And an estimated 150 active bald eagle nests are in Missouri. The number doubles about every five years.