Drymarchon corais couperi
Eastern indigo snake at Chehaw photo by Edi Arangies
The eastern indigo snake is a large non-venomous snake, well known for its iridescent blue-black scales and its status as one of the longest native snake species in the US. Their preferred habitats can vary by season, with the snakes making use of dryer habitats in the winter and wetter ones in the warmer months. Indigo snakes are quite the opportunistic hunters, and their large size allows them to take any prey they can subdue and swallow. They have even been known to eat eggs, birds, fish, frogs, lizards, small mammals, turtles, hatchling alligators, even other snakes.
Eastern indigo snakes have ranges in southern Georgia and distributed ranges in Florida, but their historical range extended across more of the southeastern US. Unfortunately, indigo snakes have been extirpated in many of these states. They are now also listed as a threatened species in Georgia and Florida, since populations are on a declining trend. The greatest threat facing eastern indigo snakes is habitat loss through logging and urbanization. Populations have declined alongside declines in gopher tortoise populations, as indigo snakes often make use of the tortoises’ burrows for winter. However, indigo snake reintroduction efforts have been made in Florida, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and Mississippi.
A pair of eastern indigo snakes, one male and one female, are among the newest additions to Chehaw’s animal collection.