The Drymarchon couperi were captive bred in Florida
The Nature Conservancy in Florida, announced it has released 22 eastern indigo snakes (Drymarchon couperi) into the Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines preserve, marking the fourth year in a row that these endangered reptiles have been released in good numbers in the 6,295-acre nature reserve.
The Nature Conservancy worked with Central Florida Zoo’s Orianne Center for Indigo Conservation, Auburn University, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Orianne Society, the Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Gulf Power, the Fish and Wildlife Foundation of Florida, the U.S. Forest Service and Florida Department of Environmental Protection to release these apex predators and have released 69 eastern indigo snakes since the conservation and release program began three years ago.
“Auburn has a long history with eastern indigos, dating back to the 1970s, including two earlier reintroductions in Alabama,” David Steen, assistant research professor at Auburn University in Alabama who is overseeing the monitoring program, said on the Nature Conservancy website.
In 2018, 20 eastern indigo snakes were reintroduced in the Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve, a location where the snake hasn’t been seen in more than 35 years. All of the snakes have been outfitted with subbcutaneous radio transmitters and a Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) tag. These communication devices will enable scientists to monitor the survival rates, reproduction, preferred habitats and the distance the snakes cover as they acclimate themselves to their new surroundings.
The plan is to release about 300 eastern indigo snakes into the preserve over the next 10 years.
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.