Conservation Efforts Brings Eastern Indigo Snake Back to Georgia
February 11, 2014
An eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon corais couperi) was recently spotted in an area of Georgia that has undergone extensive conservation efforts by the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Orianne Society, and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. The large snake, which is native to Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, and South Carolina, was listed as a threatened species in 1978 due to lack of habitat, capture for the pet trade, or just killing them, the USDA said. It is a state and federally threatened species in most states which it occurs. The state of Alabama has declared the snake as possibly extirpated within its borders.
Photo by U.S. Army
The eastern indigo snake is the largest native snake in the United States, sometimes reaching more than 8 feet in length.
According to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the snake winters in upland areas that feature sandy soils, which Georgians call the sandhills. In May the snakes move to summer areas that feature shady creek bottoms. In southern Georgia, landowners have placed more than 35,000 wetland acres into a conservation easement program for farmers, ranchers, and forest owners to restore and protect. According to the Orianne Society and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, these conservation efforts are helping the nation's longest native snake, as well as other species, such as the gopher tortoise, to survive. The NRCS hopes that the restoration of these wetland areas will further bolster the numbers of the eastern indigo snake in the region.
The eastern indigo snake is the longest native snake in the United States, sometimes reaching more than 8 feet in length. The snake is a federally threatened species and certain restrictions are in place with regard to possessing them. A member of the Colubridae family, indigo snakes feed on a variety of animals, including small mammals, amphibians, birds, lizards, baby turtles, and other snakes, including every species of venomous snake found in Florida.
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