Eastern indigo snakes are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
The Nature Conservancy, along with the Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens’ Orianne Center for Indigo Conservation (OCIC), the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), Welaka National Fish Hatchery, The Orianne Society, Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center, Southern Company through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), and the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida, released 26 young Eastern indigo snakes (Drymarchon couperi) in the conservancy’s Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve (ABRP).
The April 26 release marks the sixth consecutive year that Eastern indigo snakes from the captive breeding program have been placed into the region. In total, 107 Eastern indigo snakes have been released at the ABRP.
“Releasing 26 Eastern indigo snakes today at The Nature Conservancy’s Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve is a great achievement for us and our partners,” Steve Coates, director of The Nature Conservancy’s Center for Conservation Initiatives said in a statement detailing the release. “It’s the spirit of collaboration at the center of this project that has made it possible for us to reach the six-year milestone. The preserve is the ideal location for reintroducing this integral snake species, and that is thanks to the decades of conservation work conducted on-site by TNC and our partners.”
The ABRP is currently the only location in the state designated for the reintroduction of the Eastern indigo snake. It is a 6,295 acre nature preserve that features longleaf pine landscape and is in the center of one of five biological hotspots in North America. The gopher tortoise is also a resident of the preserve. Theconservancy has been working for the past 30 years rehabilitate and restore the ABRP.
The snakes released are each two years old and are the progeny of snakes in the Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens’ Orianne Center for Indigo Conservation (OCIC). The OCIC is an organization that works to captive breed and reintroduce these apex predators into the wild.
Eastern Indigo Snake Information
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 venomous and non-venomous snakes.