Eastern Indigo Snake

Drymarchon corais couperi

Average size:  60-74 inches; Record 103.5 inches.  Young are 19-24 inches at birth.

Range:  Peninsular Florida, with a few isolated populations in the Florida panhandle and north Key Largo, however nowhere are they abundant.

Diet:  Snakes, including venomous snakes, frogs, salamanders, toads, small mammals, birds, and occasionally young turtles.

Status:  It has full protection as a threatened species in Florida.  This is the largest of Florida snakes and requires a relatively large area of undeveloped land.  In one study, four male snakes averaged 470 acres for their spring/summer activity ranges; one individual used a territory of 1,400 acres.  Habitat for indigos are becoming more and more fragmented by roads and development.  This is one reason for the population decline.  Some are killed by uninformed people.  Rattlesnake hunters often use the gassing method, a practice that is illegal, to flush rattlesnakes out of gopher holes.  I'm sure this has an adverse affect on not only indigos and gophers, but on any other animal that uses these holes.  Education is the key to preserving such a majestic snake.

The first two photos were taken by R. D. Bartlett.  Dick and Patricia Bartlett have written many books on Reptiles and Amphibians including my personal favorite “ Florida's Snakes, A Guide to Their Identification and Habits”.

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