Eastern Indigo Snake: (Drymarchon couperi)
Eastern indigo snakes (drymarchon couperi); commonly known as indigo snake or racer, belongs to the colubridae family. They average in size between 60 to 74 inches long, with the record being 103 inches long. Eastern indigo snakes are protected by laws and is listed the Federal threatened species list in Florida and Georgia.
Eastern indigo snakes are large and thick bodied and have smooth scales. Their bodies are a shiny or glossy black with highlights of blue when the suns light reflects onto its body. Their chins and necks can be completely black, reddish or white that extends down it body. Their bellies are smoked to a blue gray color, sometimes with reddish – orange or white at the top. Their heads are oval shaped and their pupils are round.
Eastern indigo snakes are found throughout the peninsula of Florida, south to Key Largo. They are rarely found in the panhandle, however they are also found in southeastern Georgia. Eastern indigo snakes were at one time widely distributed throughout the state of Florida, but have started to decline in population in certain locations of Florida. Their preferred habitats include areas such as flat – woods, dry moist hammocks, hard wood forests, stream bottoms, cane fields, riparian thickets, prairies, cypress ponds and sandy soils.
Eastern indigo snakes are carnivores, primarily consuming turtles, lizards, frogs, toads, small birds and their eggs, including venomous snakes such as the eastern diamondback, cottonmouth and the copperhead.
Eastern indigo snakes are diurnal, active during the day and usually seen near homes. These snakes burrow with gopher tortoises and eastern diamondback rattlesnake and other animals. When the eastern indigo snake feels threatened, they will vertically flatten their neck, hiss and vibrate its tail. Eastern indigo snakes are not aggressive to humans and seldom bite when handled. Due to their declining habitats the eastern indigo snake is classified protected and is on the Federal threatened species list in Florida and Georgia. It is illegal to harm, harass, capture or kill them. Eastern Indigo snakes are harmless to humans. They are a benefit to have around your neighborhood, as they ward off venomous snakes and keep rodents away. The eastern indigo snake is a species of large non – venomous colubrid snake native to the Eastern United States and has been the longest native snake species in the United States.